Professor George SaridakisFAcSS

  • Business & Management

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, University of Kent 

Professor George Saridakis was conferred to the Fellowship of the Academy in spring 2024. He holds a PhD in Economics from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex. Currently, George is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business at Kent University Business School, where he leads the Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and International Business.

George’s research covers business start-ups and the performance of small and medium-sized enterprises and explores how the internal and external environment affects firm entry, survival, growth and internationalisation. He has also investigated issues relating to employee job satisfaction and other indicators of well-being, gender and ethnic diversity issues, online businesses, cyber victimisation, social media and the economics of crime.

George has earned many individual and team awards, and recognition throughout his academic career. He has published more than 85 journal articles, as well as several edited books, book chapters, and official reports. His research has been funded by numerous organisations including the European Union’s Leonardo da Vinci programme, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the British Academy, Barclays Bank, the Legal Services Board and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Alongside his current role at the University of Kent, George is Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies’ Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies. He has also held various other honorary/visiting positions with universities across the globe. George is a Senior Editor of the journal Information Technology and People, and a member of various other editorial boards. In 2023, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and joined the Board of Trustees at the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Find out more about Professor George Saridakis.

Why do the social sciences matter?

The beauty of the social sciences, in my view, is that they focus on human behaviour in an attempt to decipher the complicated mechanisms that affect how humans receive, process, analyse and use information and establish causal links. This can help us enhance good behaviours and outcomes and deter bad ones.

However, this task is very challenging given the complexity of human behaviour and the difficulties in identifying the underlying mechanisms of a human action; there are many factors which can be considered. Social scientists have the challenging task of unravelling human behaviour and formulating policies through solid research that promotes ethical, advanced, agile and sustainable societies.

What inspires you about your work?

An inspiration is something that builds up over the years; from the first book read by your parents, your classes in school, your university years and your interaction with people, both academics and non-academics. All these have inspired my way of thinking, and my internal necessity for searching and finding things out.

I had the good fortune to be introduced to the field of entrepreneurship and small firms by a great academic, Professor David Storey (who sadly passed away last year). Professor Storey made me understand, love and appreciate the importance of this field. Working with him, and later along with other colleagues as well as research students of my own, I realised more and more the value of entrepreneurship and the small business sector in enhancing society’s happiness and cohesion. This inspires me to try to give answers to research and policy questions in my field. The pleasure of research and sharing the findings is so vast that I hope I will be able to carry out as much as I can during my lifetime.

What is the most urgent issue social scientists need to tackle today and within the next three years?

This is a difficult question to answer. There are many aspects that are important and perhaps numbering them may not be the right thing to do. However, I can try to prioritise them without devaluing their level of importance since these may differ from field to field.

In my view, issues related to inequality are important and should be researched and tackled. For example, gender, race or other forms of discrimination in the labour market (and elsewhere) should receive further research attention; especially as increasing geopolitical, technological and political events challenge our societal foundations and principles, and the way we interact with each other.

What does being a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences mean to you?

Being elected a Fellow of this prestigious Academy is an honour and at the same time a great responsibility to continue researching and sharing interesting research questions and findings on which a better future can be based. I wish to extend my gratitude to those who have provided unwavering support to me over the years. I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to further advance my contributions to the field of social science research, leveraging all the resources and capabilities at my disposal.