Adun is a strong advocate of the mutualism of research and practice, where practice is informed by research, and research is led by practice. As such, her research interests are influenced by their practical applications, and where she is advising an organisation, the strategy development, recommendations and any other advice provided is backed by research.
Her research interests in business leadership, tourism and infrastructure in Africa, are seemingly different themes but connected.
The sustainable development of Africa, to create a better quality of life for the African people, is a focus which can be achieved through various means and channels but ultimately directed through leadership. Her focus is on the private sector as an agent of development, hence the interest on business leadership development on the continent. Leadership research on the continent has focused on political leadership and rightly so, but there are other levels and strands of leadership which have not been given the attention they deserve – business leadership and community leadership through civil societies. Adun situates her research in this gap – business leadership – although as is to be expected, there are linkages with political and civil society leadership.
Business leadership occurs in various forms and in different industries. Adun enjoys travelling and discovering new places, and is interested in understanding more about how the tourism systems in Africa can be developed contribute to development on the continent – employment, rural development, cultural and heritage preservation etc. This is her compelling motivation, to contribute to the research on the African tourism system and translate this research into practical interventions for the tourism system in Africa.
The state of tourism has several challenges, one of which is the lack of adequate infrastructure for tourism: domestic, regional and international. Her focus is on domestic and regional tourism and on how infrastructure can be developed to grow these segments of the tourism industry.
Infrastructure refers to the connection between, and within structures and networks, and how to make these better connected, and have smoother flow, be it in an organisation, and extrapolating this to the wider society, for example how communication flows, how strategy is formulated and disseminated, how feedback is utilised, how systems are made to work better.
All these point to the need for visionary and effective leadership, and this is where her research journey nodes.
Adun has several research output and has worked on research projects including:
Africapitalism Research Project
Adun was the Africapitalism research fellow at the Sustainable Business Initiative where she project-managed the five-country Africapitalism research project funded by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. You can access the report here.
The Circular Economy Project at the University of Edinburgh
Adun successfully applied for funding to conduct and manage the main research of understanding Circular Economy opportunities at the University of Edinburgh.
The Circular Economy is about transitioning from a ‘take-make-dispose’ linear approach to resource use, to systems that encourage reuse and extraction of maximum value before returning resources to the biosphere.
You can read the report here.
Paper publications and refereed conference papers
- Amaeshi, K, Okupe, A & Ismail, T 2016, Sub-Saharan Africa. in W Visser (ed.), The World Guide to Sustainable Enterprise. vol. 1, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, pp. 12-23.
- “Africapitalism and Africa’s Development: Rethinking the nexus of Business Leadership and Development in Africa” at the Academy of International Business Colloquium at the University of Cambridge, 2014.
- “What is the role of business leaders in the sustainable development of Africa?” Discussant, Africapitalism Panel Presentation at the Academy of International Business Conference in Nairobi, 2014.
- “How can student feedback influence the teaching practice of new teachers?” Okupe, A. & Medland, E. (in writing, target: Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education).
- “Identifying the tacit knowledge of airline leaders” Okupe, A. (in writing, target: Leadership Quarterly).
- “Systematic review methodology in management research” Okupe, A. & Rojon, C. (in writing, target: British Journal of Management).
Other presentations and writings
- “How can student feedback influence teaching practice?” University Excellence in Teaching Symposium, University of Surrey 2015.
- “Understanding the Leadership Behaviour of Airline Leaders”, (poster presentation) University of Surrey PGR Conference, 2014.
- “Leadership: from Thought to Action”, ThisDay Newspaper, Nigeria – 3day series: 30th July – 1 August 2013).