Research impacting rural communities


In 2019, several faculty members at the Faculty of Business Administration published research exploring potential solutions for some of the issues faced by those living in rural areas of the province.

Dr. Thomas Cooper, Prof. Pauline Downer and Dr. Alex Faseruk published Assessing risk management in small rural municipalities in Canada in the Journal of Accounting and Finance with a focus on municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador. They outline numerous risks surrounding municipal infrastructure in the province and determine that many municipalities are lacking plans to identify, assess or manage opportunity and uncertainty-based risk.

Their work provides multiple risk management models to help support large and small municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador. These models emphasize the importance of moving from the traditional, informal approach to a more structured, formal approach for managing municipal risks and achieving success with operational goals.

In a separate initiative, Dr. Gordon Cooke and Dr. Bui Petersen, a 2018 graduate of Memorial’s PhD in management program, identify key issues faced by young individuals living in rural island settings when deciding whether they want to stay and work in their communities or relocate to improve their skills and find employment. Their paper, A typology of the employment-education-location challenges facing rural island youth, was published in the Island Studies Journal.

The research duo determined the major challenge is to create conditions that enable a greater proportion of citizens to stay or in-migrate such as providing appealing local employment and lifestyle options. They emphasize this issue is more complicated than the idea of motivated people leave and unambitious stay. Rather, it’s important to understand what people value and why, and specifically what will address their needs and wants in addition to financial rewards.

Dr. Cooper, Dr. Faseruk and Prof. Downer plan to continue their research exploring the role of risk management in municipal infrastructure and asset management. With a significant infrastructure deficit, especially in rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador, understanding and articulating the risks around identifying, designing, managing and funding municipal assets is an important area of study.

Dr. Cooke and Dr. Petersen plan to continue their research on the issues facing rural island youth in Newfoundland and Labrador, Faroe Islands and Norway.

Photo credit: Rich Blenkinsopp


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