Corruption, and the impact it has on society, is the focus of the newly established Anti-Corruption research centre at DCU. The Centre is aiming to devise solutions and strategies to address a global issue that is estimated to cost almost $4 trillion dollars annually in bribes and stolen money, not to mention the devastating social and economic consequences for communities across the world.

The Anti-Corruption Research Centre (ARC) is Ireland’s first academic research centre dedicated to research, policy and education on corruption and anti-corruption with the aim of tackling an international issue, which according to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres “is a problem that is present in all nations, rich and poor.”


Co-directed by Dr Michael Breen of DCU’s School of Law and Government and Dr Rob Gillanders of DCU Business School, ARC’s mission is to advance our understanding of the causes and consequences of corruption and support the development of new anti-corruption policies and initiatives, in Ireland and abroad. It will bring together researchers from law, political science, business, economics and accounting to examine the causes and consequences of corruption and to support the development of new anti-corruption practices in Ireland and abroad.


It will also develop executive education and CPD programmes as well as engaging with civil society, media and policymakers


Speaking at the virtual launch, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue TD said


“[It is] important  that we research and understand the effect and causes of corruption on political life and we use this to better inform policy making in this area. I look forward to it informing the work that we do here at home and abroad, in the work that Ireland can do, in combating corruption, and critically, in combating the consequences that corruption can have on public and political life.”


Prof Elizabeth David Barett , Director of the Centre for the Study of Corruption, University of Sussex, Irish Examiner journalist Mick Clifford, Chief Executive of Transparency International John Devitt, DCU’s Dr Vicky Conway and Dr Amadou Boly , Special Assistant to the Vice-President & Chief Economist with the African Development Bank also spoke at the virtual launch.


The President of DCU, Prof Brian MacCraith said, 


“Corruption is a complex problem that imposes an enormous cost on citizens and societies, right across the globe both in direct economic terms and in terms of the quality of life. The creation of this new centre is a recognition of the complexity of the challenge. By supporting new interdisciplinary collaborations, ARC will amplify the impact of the excellent research already being conducted by DCU researchers.


The centre reflects DCU’s mission to ‘transform lives and societies’ and we expect it to have a positive influence on public policy in Ireland and internationally.”


Dr Rob Gillanders, co-director of the Anti-Corruption Research Centre said, 


“Corruption undermines economic and social progress by simultaneously driving down innovation and investment and driving up poverty and inequality.


We hope that ARC will deepen our understanding of corruption and lead to the development of effective anti-corruption interventions and strategies.”

Dr Michael Breen, co-director of the Anti-Corruption Research Centre said, 


“The Covid-19 crisis has substantially raised the risk of corruption in Ireland and elsewhere. This centre will help us to address this risk, and work to strengthen Ireland’s anti-corruption regime.”


The ARC website is now live at

DCU research finds that family businesses account for 64% of all Irish businesses

First-of-its-kind research from DCU National Centre for Family Business has found that there are 160,700 family businesses in Ireland, accounting for 64% of Irish businesses.  Irish family businesses were also found to employ 938,000 people, approximately 2/3 of the working population in Ireland.  The research was endorsed by European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan.


Family Business By Numbers

Family Business By Numbers

Irish Family Business by Numbers is the first piece of research to identify the number of family businesses in Ireland, the total number of people employed in Irish family business and the sectors where family businesses are most numerous.


Defining Family Business


A family business is one where:


  • One family holds more than 50% of voting shares, and/or
  • One family supplies a significant proportion of the senior management and effectively controls the business, and/or
  • A family or a family relationship influences the enterprise and the latter is perceived to be a family business


The report is based on 2016 census data and will be updated next year when new census data becomes available.


Read the full the report NCFB Family Business By Numbers


Other findings


The report found that more than 90% of family business in Ireland are micro enterprises, employing between one and nine people.  Small and medium-sized enterprises (employing between 10 and 249 people) account for just 8% of Irish family businesses. These 12,300 SME family businesses employ 380,000 people.


The report also found 137,100 family farms in Ireland. These represent 99.7% of all operating farms in the country. Outside of agriculture, the greatest representation of family businesses in Ireland is in the service and distribution sector (112,400), and building and construction (34,000).


Report author Professor Colm O’Gorman said “good data leads to good policy. We know that family businesses behave differently to other ownership forms. It is essential that policy makers and those involved in supporting businesses have good data on these businesses – and as a starting point- data on the extent and nature of family businesses in Ireland. This report is just the beginning of our intention to develop robust data on Irish family businesses.”


DCU National Centre for Family Business Director Eric Clinton said “Family businesses are at the heart of Irish economic and social life. You need only look at the names of the sponsors on a GAA jersey in rural Ireland to see the significance of family business at a regional level. That contribution is perhaps not recognised in the same way as larger multinationals based in Ireland. This report demonstrates that family business is the dominant business form in Ireland. While family businesses are very different in their nature and size to larger organisations, their contribution at regional level cannot be underestimated, as they support local economies and communities across the country. At DCU National Centre for Family Business, we want family businesses to have continued prosperity, to become multigenerational and we need to know more about the unique challenges that they face in order to support them. This research is key to achieving that, as now have an accurate data set from which to continue to measure impact, identify their unique needs as family businesses and ensure the family business sector is recognised as the bedrock of the Irish economy.”


European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan said 


“I welcome the DCU National Centre for Family Business report as it quantifies the scale of family businesses in Ireland, creating a useful new data set and demonstrating that family business is the dominant form of business organisation in Ireland. 


Taking this through to the European context, this report compares Irish family business levels to those reported across the European Union, which can be as high as 71% in countries such as the Netherlands and Finland. It demonstrates that family businesses are highly represented across the European Union.”

About this research


To determine the number of family businesses operating in Ireland the report draws from data collected in the 2016 Census. The proportion of family enterprises in each sector of the economy was extracted from the CSO databases. The following sectors were analysed; 1) Service and Distribution, 2) Building and Construction, 3) Industry and 4) Financial and Insurance. Farming and agricultural enterprises were analysed separately in line with CSO sectoral categories.

The research was compiled by Professor of Entrepreneurship Colm O’Gorman and researcher Keeva Farrelly.


About the National Centre for Family Business (NCFB)


Dublin City University’s National Centre for Family Business is the first research, engagement and educational centre of its kind on the island of Ireland. Established in 2013, the National Centre for Family Business’ mission is to empower innovative Irish family businesses to embrace their transgenerational potential.


Economist Tony Foley authors research on Drinks Market Performance (credit Shelflife magazine)

DCU economist Tony Foley has prepared the 2017 Drinks Market Performance report on behalf of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland. The report finds that the industry witnessed an overall alcohol market decline of 0.1% in 2017 compared to 2016. In contrast, in the previous year the market grew by 5.7%. Tastes are changing, too: beer consumption declined by 2.1% in 2017, but cider (+1.5%), wine (+0.4%) and spirits (+3.6%) consumption all increased. Bar sales of alcohol increased by 2.8% in 2017 compared to the previous year. For off-licences, sales volume declined by 2%.

The average per adult consumption of alcohol declined by 1.4% in 2017.


92,000 people work in the drinks industry alone, in pubs, off-licences, manufacturers and other hospitality businesses.

In total, the combined hospitality sector— including drinks businesses, hotels, restaurants, manufacturers, retailers and distributors—employs 204,000 people across the country, making up 10 percent of all jobs. The drinks industry exports over €1.25 billion worth of produce every year It purchases over €1.1bn of Irish produce annually, exports goods worth over €1.25bn, and provides over €2.3bn worth of excise and VAT income.

The report also finds that Brexit continues to be an uncertainty for Irish businesses. While negotiations have advanced—guaranteeing a transition arrangement until 2020—the border situation remains unclear. For those operating in the drinks and hospitality industry, that raises questions with regard to trade with the UK, an essential market for Irish businesses, and the sustainability and future development of supply chains.

[button link=”” size=”medium” target=”new” color=”blue”]View the Report here[/button]


Congratulations to DCU Business School staff on successes at the 2016 Irish Academy of Management Annual Conference.

This year the conference explored the theme ‘Ireland 2016: Re-imagining business and the role of ethics‘,  examining ways in which business and the business community can make a contribution to building a sustainable and ethical economy and society. The awards were as follows:

Best Paper (Conference theme)

Brian Harney and Tony Dundon ‘Re-imagining student learning in the house of neo-liberalism: Amazon and the contemporary business school’

Teresa Brannick Memorial Award

Brian Harney and Tony Dundon

Runner Up Best Paper Award

Maura McAdam, Eric Clinton, Martina Brophy ‘An Exploration of the Entrepreneurial Learning Processes in a Transgenerational Entrepreneurial Family Firm’

About the Irish Academy of Management

The Irish Academy of Management is the leading professional association for management studies, research and education on the island of Ireland. The Academy promotes the advancement of research, knowledge and education in the field of organisation and management studies through providing opportunities for researchers to collaborate within and across the sub-area specialities of management and encouraging presentation and publication of scholarly research

DCU Business School invites applications for PhD scholarships. These scholarships will provide support for fulltime PhD study and are open to applicants who students register in Year 1 of the full time PhD programme in the Business School in DCU in September/October 2016. Our PhD programme combines scholarly theory-building with a strong applied focus. Research scholars work under the supervision of an academic expert and are an important part of DCU Business School’s vibrant research community.

The scholarships will allow to undertake research in one of the following specialist disciplines:

  • Accounting
  • Economics, Finance, Entrepreneurship
  • Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology
  • Management, Operations, Information Systems
  • Marketing

For full details, please view the guidelines for applicants.

Picture the scene.  You’re sitting opposite your boss in the end- of-year performance review meeting.  It’s been a big year for you; you’ve worked really hard and you and your team have delivered great results, in some areas even exceeding targets despite a very difficult business climate.  Your boss looks up and smiles.  “You’ve done a great job this year Brian” she says “I am going to put you down as a 4”.  “A 4!” you cry indignantly “why not a 5? .  “Now you know that nobody really gets a five here…..”.   After further pointless argument you leave the room, determined to reduce the time and effort you put in next year.

The experience described above is not atypical; for many years an end of year appraisal — in which a numeric rating or descriptive equivalent on a scale is communicated from managers to their direct reports — has been the key event in the annual performance management calendar.  The ratings were perceived as a requirement for demonstrable compliance with employment legislation, especially if a problem arose with a particular employee.  Ratings were also perceived as providing “objective” inputs on which important remuneration and promotion decisions could be based and defended.

Once ratings were accepted as necessary, a substantial consulting industry arose to help organisations design and implement their own performance rating process.  Reports advised the adoption or change from five point scales to four and back again, and from numeric scales to descriptive equivalents – e.g., a 3 becomes “meets expectations”, a  4 “exceeds expectations” etc.   Significant resources were allocated to training and retraining managers to implement these processes.   While all of this was happening, academic research focused largely on studies of what rating systems and processes worked best, while too few studies looked at the bigger question of whether ratings should be used at all.

2015 has seen some really important changes in attitudes to performance ratings, in what may become an irresistible trend.  Most recently, HBR reports that “The move away from conventional, ratings-based performance management continues to gain momentum.  By November 2015, at least 52 large companies had shifted from the practice of once-yearly performance appraisals; estimates are that hundreds of other companies are considering following suit. A wide range of industries are represented.”

Ironically, the catalysts for this rethink have been Deloitte and Accenture, two consulting firms who would have been to the fore in the provision of advice on implementing ratings in the past.   Accenture have completely abandoned annual performance reviews for their 330,000 employees with immediate effect, confirming that “We’re going to get rid of probably 90 percent of what we did in the past”.   Deloitte announced in a HBR article in April 2015 that “we realize that our current process for evaluating the work of our people—and then training them, promoting them, and paying them accordingly—is increasingly out of step with our objectives”.  Both firms say they are adopting new processes that will involve more frequent feedback –“nimbler, real-time, and more individualized—something squarely focused on fueling performance in the future rather than assessing it in the past.”

There seems little doubt that few will shed a tear if the types of meetings described in the introduction become a thing of the past.  As researchers, we can’t but be excited about finding ways to make the performance management process more relevant to today’s business needs.  Of course, there is always a danger that those who embrace these trends without due consideration may be in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  It’s worth remembering  that there is substantial research evidence to support retaining key aspects of the performance management process such as goal setting, where research clearly shows that employees who are working to achieve specific, challenging but achievable goals will be on average 16% more productive than others doing the same work, in the same conditions but without such goals.

Watch this space.

Dr John McMackin is a lecturer in our Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology group in DCU Business School. He holds an MBA from Columbia University, New York and a PhD from the University of Oregon. His area of research is around change management, leadership development and strategic innovation.

For more details about the DCU Executive MBA, currently accepting applications, please visit the DCU Executive MBA course page.

Dr Janine Bosak, Senior Lecturer in the HRM and Organisational Psychology Group at Dublin City University Business School, has been awarded the prestigious James M. Flaherty Visiting Professorship by the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF).

Dr Bosak will teach and conduct research together with Professor Denis Chênevert at HEC Montréal, one of the leading Business Schools in Canada, on the topic of reducing costs of burnout for individuals, patientcare and hospital performance using evidence from Canadian and Irish hospitals.

The ICUF aims to encourage and facilitate links between scholars in Ireland and Canada. As part of this the ICUF supports up to two Irish professors of any academic discipline travelling to Canada and up to two Canadian professors of any academic discipline travelling to Ireland.

On May, 28th 2015 DCU Business School hosted the first of three ‘Employee Engagement Roundtables’ which will be spread out over the course of a year.

The roundtable was organized and led by academic experts in the field of HR and engagement, Professor Kathy Monks, Dr Edel Conway, Dr Yseult Freeney and Dr Janine Bosak (all DCU Business School staff members). It brought 17 HR directors and managers from a range of non-competitive organizations together in order to explore the concept of employee engagement and the various definitions that are being used by practitioners, discuss best practices in assessing engagement and jointly tackle issues of employee engagement using an evidence-based approach.

The first roundtable was a great success; the second part of this exclusive event will be held on September, 17th 2015 in DCU Business School with over 20 HR directors and managers expressing interest already.

You can find out more about research in HR and Organisational Behaviour at DCU Business School here.

Details of our part-time executive Masters in Work and Organisational Psychology/Behaviour can be found here.

PhD scholars from the DCU Centre for Family Business, Catherine Faherty and Vanessa Diaz, have been awarded to attend and present at a globally recognised, highly competitive entrepreneurship conference this June.

Ms Diaz and Ms Faherty were 2 of 25 doctoral students worldwide invited to participate at the annual entrepreneurship Doctoral Consortium. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC) attracts more than 350 entrepreneurial scholars who convene annually for the three day conference, which will be held in Boston, Massachusetts this year.

Over 220 papers are presented each year and Ms Diaz and Ms Faherty will present their paper at the conference and share their research interests at the doctoral consortium, held in conjunction with the conference.

Ms Faherty and Ms Diaz submitted their doctoral consortium application and paper abstract in 2014. The consortium unites future entrepreneurship educators and scholars with established leaders and researchers in the field.

Ms Diaz had this to say upon hearing the news:

“I am truly honoured to be selected to participate in the 2015 Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference Doctoral Colloquium. I feel privileged to be given the chance to share my research at the world’s leading Entrepreneurship research conference. This is an invaluable opportunity for my academic career and I hope to promote the quality of research carried out at the DCU Centre for Family Business.”

Ms Diaz’s PhD topic focuses on long-term orientation in family businesses and Ms Faherty’s PhD topic is on innovation in family businesses. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the conference, having been founded by Babson College in 1981. The conference and consortium take place between 10th and 13th of June, 2015.

In collaboration with Great Place to Work® Ireland, a team of researchers based at Dublin City University (Link Research Institute) and Maynooth University recently conducted a major research project of the current and future challenges faced by HR Managers in Ireland. The aim of this project is to capture HR professionals’ views in order to understand the key challenges faced by HR Managers currently and in the future.

A feedback workshop held at Dublin City University on the 21st of Jan 2015 attracted about 30 HR Directors/Managers drawn from diverse sectors and organizations. The workshop was welcomed by the Dean of DCU Business School Dr. Anne Sinnott and chaired by the CEO of the Great Place to Work® Ireland Mr. John Ryan. The research team presented the survey findings and received valuable feedback from the audience. The findings cover many important HR topics including organizational effectiveness, HR networks, evidence-based management, line managers’ role in HRM, middle managers’ role in change management, work engagement, HR current and future priorities and HR challenges. Participants actively discussed their experience on these topics. The results will be published in a special supplement of the Irish Times.

Picture (right to left): Mr. John Ryan (GPTW), Dr. Claire Gubbins (DCU), Dr. Na Fu (MU), Professor Patrick Flood (DCU), Dr. Edel Conway, Director- Link; Dr. Yseult Freeney (DCU) and Mr. Jim Flynn (GPTW)