PhD (Management), [University of Technology, Sydney], 2007.
Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) - Honours [University of New South Wales]
The best way to describe my work is to try and capture it in two words "generative strategy". In other words what drives everything I do in my academic life is to answer questions about how what we do and how we do it is generative (moves us forward) in a relational (interpersonal and inter-organizational), socio-economic and political way. As such there are three key areas where I explore generative strategies: at the grand societal levels through mega-projects; meta-projects (that is, the projects of organizational life that are not recognized as formal or legitimate project but are critical to progressing organizational life); and mesa-projects (that is, personal projects of life that provide a sense of forward movement - be it fighting cancer, being a good parent, or developing and realizing a great idea, innovation or enterprise). In a separate stream of research I like to explore the debates, impact, value and relevance of organization and management theory and research.
While my work has a critical orientation I am unabashedly a Positive Organizational Scholar. I tend to ensure the above are all integrated in what I write about and what I teach. The modules I design and run are some of the most popular modules according to student surveys. Design thinking is a central part of my teaching methods and tools.
Current Visiting Appointments and External roles
2012-Current: Sydney University, Australia.
- Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and IT at U. Sydney. The Faculty is ranked in the top 50 faculties in the world (Times Higher Education)
2014-2017: University of Technology, Sydney (Honorary Professor)
- I was awarded an honorary professorship in The School of Business at UTS. The School is triple accredited, including AACSB; and UTS was recently ranked in the top 50 universities in the world under 20 years old (Times Higher Education).
2014-2017: Lancaster University, UK. (External Examiner: MSc. programmes)
Business School Research Ethics Convenor
Director of Engagement and Impact - PTC of the Academy of Management (www.aom.org)
Member of the Expert Panel of Oxford University's NHS Benefits of Health ICT Programmes project.
Founding Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Strategic Contracts and Negotiation (Sage/IACCM) - to be launched in 2015
Board Member and Academic Advisor: The International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (www.iaccm.com)
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (http://www.thersa.org/about-us)
Current PhD students (in alphabetic order)
Anjana Anandakumar - PhD/ final year - Emotional Ambivelance in Change Projects
Alexia Mellor - PhD/ 1st Year - Arts, Creativity and Participatory Practices.
Sam Mitchell-Finnigan PhD/ 1st Year - Digital tools for workplace practices to reduce energy consumption (Scholarship recipient of the Institute for Sustainability)
Charles Nnjaj - PhD/ 1st Year - The Value of Ethical Leadership in Project Performance
Emmalinde Roelofse - PhD/ 2nd Year - Ambiguity and Collaboration in Innovation Start Up Projects
Tabish Zaman - PhD/ 1st Year - Public Private Benefits Realisation in Megaprojects
Most Recent Completions
2014 - Kal Vignehsa - PhD - ARC Post Graduate Award- Stuckedness in Projects.
2014 - Chris Biesenthal - PhD - ARC Post Graduate Award - Pragmatism and Strategic Project Management Tools.
2013 - Ace Simpson - PhD - Positive Psychology and Projects of Compassion.
I am currently working with a fantastic selection of people from the RSA, Stanford's Centre for Design Research and NTNU to help Gateshead Council become a living lab of social innovation and enterprise in health care provision. Watch out for d.Gateshead…coming soon.
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia I relocated to the UK in 2011, joining Newcastle University in September. I started my academic life as a research assistant in the Centre for Corporate Change at the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW), before moving on to the Business School at UTS.
I have a strong interest in studying the intersects between strategy, projects and society. I am a passionate believer in democracy and see participation, responsibility, accountability and transparency as the cornerstone of successful society: corruption and the degradation of democracy are one of our greatest challenges as a free and prosporous society.
There is a lot to learn from sociology, psychology, anthropology and politics. Most PMs have little if no knowledge about these things. While understanding and using Prince(c) is fine, I prefer you to be better versed in The Prince.
In 2011 I was elected Chair of the Academy of Management's Practice Theme Committee (PTC), a strategic leadership committee of the Academy of Management, the largest management association in the world. More recently I was appointed Academic Advisor and ex officio-Board member of the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (www.iaccm.com).
I am a reviewer for the ESRC (international projects) as well as for several major journals and conferences. My work on mega-projects was recently recognized in an University of Oxford study by Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg as third in the top ten seminal pieces on mega-projects.
I have been recipient of a number of awards, including the Vice-Chancellor's Reader Award, The Emerald Science Citation of Excellence Award, as well as best paper awards.
In 2013 I was proud to be elected as a Fellow of the RSA (The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce). The RSA was founded in 1754, and has a wealth of notable achievements and Fellows in its 250-year history including Charles Dickens, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, William Hogarth, Nelson Mandela, Sir Frank Whittle and Stephen Hawking. Being elected an RSA Fellow depends on having achieved a contribution to society in a cultural or arts-related sphere. RSA is an organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. Through its ideas, research and Fellowship it seeks to understand and enhance human capability to close the gap between today’s reality and people’s hopes for a better world.
I work with large and SMEs globally on dealing with and understanding complex strategic problems. I have coached teams on strategy using design thinking; my teams have won the Boston Consulting Group Strategy Competition, and most recently won the "innovative idea" award at the Sustainability Challenge run by Tesco, Proctor & Gamble and Santander. Organizations I have worked with and helped to develop their future strategy include but not limited to:
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
New South Wales Department of Education
Reserve Bank of Australia
Reserve Bank of India
Royal Australian Air Force
Westpac Banking Corp.
Academy of Management
Strategic Management Society
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
1. Building a Social Enterprise City: I was awarded a HEIF project to work with Gateshead Council, Stanford University, NTNU, Norway to help create a prototype of a social enterprise city to help transform the NE economy (see more here) (Larry Leifer and Martin Steinert)
2. Strategic Turning Points: The human experience of key moments of transformation (both positive and negative) as strategic devices in change projects (with John Sillince and Ben Golant), rules and norms in strategic projects (with Frank Mueller), and ideas, innovation and creativity in projects (Arne Carlsen and Stewart Clegg).
3. The phenomenology of project based organizing (with Alfons van Marrewijk, Sierk Ybema)
4. Mega-project governance and control: East versus West (Atif Ansar and Bent Flyvbjerg)
Music I can't stop listening to at the moment
Alt-J's new album 'This is all yours'
Arun Ghosh's 'A South Asian Suite'
What I can't stop watching
QandA on ABC TV (Australia)
My favourite places (aside from Newcastle, of course)
Sydney, Australia (my Motherland)
Patras and Rhodes, Greece (my Grandmother land)
What I am reading
Being in the world by Hubert Dreyfus (who along with Alfred Schutz is one of my heroes). I learn something new each time I read their works.
If you were to think about all the projects your organisation pursues, how many are central to your strategic intentions? How central are your projects in innovating what you do and how you do it? Of those that are strategically imperative, how well do they help you achieve those imperatives? How are projects governed to enable the tensions between control, prediction and planning with the need for improvisation, adaptation and transformations? Importantly, how well does your organisation understand the power and social relations inherent and endemic in project based organising? These are just some of the questions I seek to investigate, interrogate and explore through my research.
My research focuses on two loosely connected but inter-related areas: 1) emergent strategy in mega-projects and how these projects lead to oganisational and social innovation; and 2) the governance mechanisms organisations put into place to foster hope achievement (or, what I call future perfect strategy).
If you want to do a PhD specifically in my area (see below), I would love to have a chat with you. Please be aware I will not supervise anyone outside my specific area of interest. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0191 208 1710
- strategy and foresight
- mega-projects and project governance (especially public/private collaboration)
- managerial and organizational innovation and creativity
- Pragmatic philosophy
- Phenomenological Psychology
- Alfred Schutz, Hubert Dreyfus and the work of Richard Sennett