Interview with Bob Galliers 3/3

9351871Marco: I think that is it, yes.
Galliers: I hope you can get something out of that conversation.
Marco: Yes, I’m sure. Thank you for your time.
Galliers: Not at all. Good luck back in Italy. I’ll see you in June. Enjoy the spring there. I hope Milan is a little less snowy than in Boston.
Marco: Unfortunately, not this year, but in March, we generally switch to warmer temperatures.
Galliers: One other thing that might be worth saying, and I don’t know if you want to include this or not, but you said to me before we started the interview that I’m “quite an international person,” and I think that’s important. I was lucky enough to teach and head a department in Australia. I then came back to the UK. I did my first degree at Harvard here in the States. When I stepped down as dean at Warwick, I did a year as a visiting professor at INSEAD in France, and now I’m back in the States.
I think it’s really important to take opportunities where one can to be exposed to different systems like you’ve done coming from Italy to spend a year here. That, in itself, just makes you think about the lens through which you look at the world; the lens through which you do your work; the approaches you adopt; the assumptions you make about the phenomenon that you’re studying.
Marco: There are different perspectives.
Galliers: Those different perspectives are so important. In the field of information systems or organization studies or strategy, we’re involved now in the world of business, whether it’s a full-profit organization or an NGO. That business tends to be done in a world which is international. If you’re studying an offshoreing phenomenon or something, if you don’t understand what it’s like at the other end of the wire or wireless, you just don’t get it.
So any opportunity that PHD students can take to be involved with work, with colleagues, in a network, which is international, or to take a semester or a year at another institution somewhere else in the world, I would say take that opportunity, not just from a professional perspective, but just from being a human being – a citizen of planet earth. That is such a wonderful experience.
One of our PHD students here just spent a semester at the Institute of Empresa in Madrid. Another student is currently at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. And we welcome students from around the world, like yourself, from Denmark, India. We’ve got a couple from Latin America here at the moment. That adds so much to their own experiences and understanding of the world. But it also helps our students if we’ve got visitors coming here because they begin to learn from their colleagues from different parts of the world, as well as those colleagues learning from us. It’s really reciprocal. I would really recommend that.
Sometimes, some programs really tie you in, especially if there’s a lot of coursework to be done. But that seems to be a missed opportunity to some extent because all you’re doing is learning. It’s almost like a closed system. There’s one outcome of closed systems, it’s called the concept of entropy. You need the oxygen from outside the system boundary to be able to really grow and develop. So I’d recommend that. Just a postscript to the interview.
Marco: I will include it in the interview, definitely.
Galliers: Okay. Good.
Marco: Thank you very much.
Galliers: I’d better go. I’ve got a lot of things I’ve got to do. Have a great trip back. It was a pleasure. I’m really glad that you’ve enjoyed it here. It was a pleasure having you here and say hi to my colleagues in Milan. I’m still interested in hearing all your work on ambidexterity and so on.


2009 Doctoral Consortium Deadline is Approaching!

Written by OCIS Chief Technology Officer
Thursday, 26 February 2009

The OCIS division of the Academy of Management is pleased to announce the 2009 Doctoral Consortium, to be held in Chicago, IL August 7-8, 2008.  The consortium will provide an opportunity for doctoral students to network, receive feedback on their research, and discuss career issues. PhD students working on research in the areas of Organizational Communication and Information Systems are invited to apply.  The deadline for applications is May 15th, 2009.  Applicants will be notified of outcome by May 22, 2009.

Doctoral Consortium Dates and Times

  • Friday, August 7, 2009, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
  • Saturday, August 8, 2009, 9:30am – 5:30pm

Confirmed Faculty Advisors for the Doctoral Consortium

  • Manju Ahuja, University of Louisville
  • Catherine Cramton, George Mason University
  • Arun Rai, Georgia State University
  • V. Sambamurthy, Michigan State University
  • Carol Saunders, Central Florida University
  • Christina Soh, Nanyang Technology University


Submit the following materials via email to Manju Ahuja by May 15, 2009:

  • Completed application form (below)
  • 5-page, double-spaced summary of proposed dissertation research
  • Letter of recommendation from dissertation chair/advisor
  • Curriculum vita

Any questions about the consortium should be directed to Manju Ahuja ( Manju.Ahuja@louisville.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).


OCIS 2009 Doctoral Consortium Application Form
DEADLINE: MAY 15th, 2009

Phone number:

1.         What year are you in your PhD program?
__1st   __2nd   __3rd   __4th   __5th or more

2.         Will you have completed your dissertation proposal by August 8, 2009?
__yes  __no

3.         Have you participated in an OCIS Doctoral Consortium in the past?
__yes  __no

4.         Name and Contact Information for dissertation chair/advisor:

5.         To consider your application we must receive a recommendation from your chair/advisor. It should be emailed to Manju Ahuja ( Manju.Ahuja@louisville.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) no later than May 15, 2009.  Have you asked your chair to submit a letter?
__yes  __no

6.         Briefly describe your research interests. (1 Paragraph)

7.         Briefly describe your dissertation research, including its current status (1 paragraph).

Future Stars – Yeliz Eseryel

yelizYeliz Eseryel, Ph.D. Candidate in Information Science and Technology, Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool)

Year of the PhD program:

Fifth and the last year.

Explain your background which has led you to the PhD program.

Well, I have always been interested in research. I conducted my first research in high school. I went to a “School of Science” in Turkey, a high school with a heavy curriculum, founded to train scientists and engineers. I conducted a year-long study at a hospital on comparing three diagnosis methods for Acute Leukemia and won several awards with that study.

Despite my background in hard sciences, I got a college degree in Business Administration in Turkey (Middle East Technical University), Master’s in Information Management and an MBA in the US (Syracuse University). During and after my master’s degrees, I worked as an IT consultant and then as an IT project manager. Implementing enterprise-wide systems such as SAP, I truly felt the need for systems and approaches where the technology design, and business processes were aligned with each other and with the organizational structures (such as organizational culture, norms, and leadership). Roughly 80% of these implementations fail and there is tons of research on it, yet we still need to learn more. That was a strong motivation for me to go back to school to get my Ph.D. degree. It was a tough decision for me, because I really loved the challenges of IT project management, and identified with the role. But I am also very passionate about teaching and research, and I truly enjoy the academic environment.

What research areas are you interested in?

My dissertation research is on leadership dynamics in self-managing virtual teams. I specifically study Open Source Software development teams. I am conducting a longitudinal study and am hoping to continue following a number of teams for a few more years. At Syracuse University, I’ve been part of the Open Source Software Research Group, which is headed by Dr. Kevin Crowston. My advisor Associate Dean Dr. Bob Heckman and Dean Dr. Elizabeth Liddy are also part of the research group. We conducted a number of studies on task coordination, decision-making, leadership and group maintenance in Open Source Software teams.

Having said that, my overall research agenda focuses on the alignment of information technologies, business processes and organizational structures. Thus, I also expect to explore these connections in other contexts than open source teams as well.

What do you like to do for fun?

Well, there are many things I enjoy in life. I am a USTA 4.0 tennis player, and a decent volleyball player. I love to travel internationally, meet new people, learn their language, culture, and cuisine. I enjoy many forms of art. I try to catch the local art exhibitions, and go to museums when I travel. In fact, last year, I started to paint after many years. I really enjoy it. I regularly go to the concerts of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. There are other things I have tried, that I am not so good at for now; I learned a few languages, got my motorcycle rider’s license, started ballroom dancing, did parachuting and gliding, rock climbing, and hiking. Once I have time to get a bit of life, I would like to get better at ballroom dancing, languages and outdoor sports.

How do you do all that while doing your Ph.D?

Oh, I don’t. Did I tell you I love to eat? Ph.D. is an excellent time to practice that skill, I am an expert eater now… and I am only half-kidding there.

Joke aside, I can do only one or two things at a time. These last two semesters, I’ve been painting. In fact on April 20, some of my paintings will appear in an exhibition. Couple of years ago, I received an international grant extension from National Science Foundation (NSF), which allowed me to spend two months in Italy for research. So I figured, I am going to Italy, I might as well learn some Italian for a semester or two before I go. It turns out people don’t speak much English in the southern part of Italy. My broken Italian came pretty handy and allowed me to also make a good number of friends there.

Just curious – how often do you blog?

Pretty often. I have a blog ( that I use for teaching my Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) class. I teach in France, USA, Turkey and Denmark. I don’t use the blog every time, but many times it’s part of my course, and my students write their daily reflections after class on the blog. I also have my personal blog, but I use it less often since I started twittering. Twits are short (140 character-long) messages that you share with other twitters. My twits get automatically posted on my blog as well as updating my Facebook status. Lastly, I participate in an anonymous blog with a few colleagues.

Mention some things that you are currently doing which is helping to make your PhD career successful.

Well, I think a successful Ph.D. career is one where one (1) gets the skills one needs as an Assistant Professor, (2) conduct a solid dissertation study, and (3) graduate in a reasonable amount of time. I have strived for a successful PhD career by being active in all facets of academic life in the first four years of the program. I am pretty lucky in that the iSchool at Syracuse is an exceptional place. Being part of the Open Source Research group has been a hands-on way to learn about conducting research, grant-writing, and collaboration. At the iSchool, PhD students get treated like junior faculty. So I represented the PhD students in a number of committees such as the PhD committee, promotion committee and search committee, and even got a vote! I developed courses on Enterprise Systems and ERP at both graduate and undergraduate level, both of which got approved by the university senate and became regularized offerings. I taught at our executive program in DC, at our executive master’s program for EPA Lausanne. I also co-taught and am co-developing courses on information technologies, virtual teams and data centers. All of these experiences create a well-rounded profile and makes for a real academic experience.

To accomplish #2 on the success definition, I started thinking about my study early in the program. Being part of the open source research team helped me really understand my context. I also did an exploratory study in 2006. So far, the feedback I get from the doctoral consortia suggests that the reviewers find the topic interesting and they find the research design rigorous. To accomplish #3 on my definition, I have stopped everything else and focused on my dissertation in the fifth year of my program. So, hopefully it will work out and the result will be a good one. J

Discuss some challenges that you’ve encountered in your PhD career and how are you working to overcome them.

What I am trying to do now, is to keep a consistent, rigorous and efficient work habit. I’ve had that for my work in the industry, or as a student. Yet, when your primary goal is to write a dissertation, this is very challenging. For example for the last few months, I have been so excited to finish my data analysis and make sense of it, I had been waking up at 3am or 5am, energized to get started even after a long week. Then, once I solved the puzzle, writing it up is not as exciting for me and requires self-discipline. Having said that, it should be just as exciting to write it up, since, as Weick puts it, “How can I know what I think, until I see what I say?”

What are some issues that you would like to discuss/ask fellow OCIS members (i.e. some opinions on particular research areas, the PhD program, the job search, etc.)?

How do we, as researchers, make an impact on practice? And how do we make this impact NOW? This is what I would like to discuss. When I asked this question to some of the prominent researchers, they said “Well, you don’t, until after you become a full-professor.” Because of the requirements to get tenure, at the beginning of one’s academic career, trying to make an impact on practitioners becomes a career-suicide. Because of the length of time journal publication takes, sometimes what we say becomes old news by the time we say it. So the question is, how do we change the system to make a difference in the world with our research? It sounds like a tall order, but isn’t it why we do research in the first place?

Future Stars – Alessia Santuccio

Year of the PhD program: I am now pretty close to the end of my PhD. I will defend my thesis in Economics of Communication next month.

Explain your background which has led you to the PhD program. I graduated in 2004 in Business and Administration at Cattolica University of Milan. It seemed to me that time did just fly away so quickly. I thought not to be ready to leave the university context: I still wanted to spend my time studying, exploring new things, still wondering the reasons why of some phenomena. So I decided to begin a PhD.

What research areas are you interested in? Since I started my PhD, I have explored many issues that mainly refer to knowledge management, collaboration and communication dynamics also in emergency scenarios, analysis of individual and collective behavior of project teams interacting on-distance. More in detail, next month I will defend my dissertation on communication and collaboration dynamics in long-distance teams, which explores the mentioned topics in EU funded project teams. I am also managing a EU funded project exploring the ethical governance of ambient intelligence in society, so I am happy to approach also this new area of study!

What do you like to do for fun? I love cooking, people say I exteriorize creativity when I spend time in the kitchen…but for quality, please ask them! I also love reading and watching movies, relaxing on a big sofa! Swimming is my favorite sport, I used to participate in competitions but now the time left to train is not enough anymore L .

Just curious – how often do you blog? I have never posted on a blog.

Mention some things that you are currently doing which is helping to make your PhD career successful. When I began my PhD, I had the opportunity to start working at CeTIF, a research center of my University which explores organizational dynamics and technological innovation in the financial industry. I think that CeTIF, pushing me into the world of business, gave me the possibility to approach the “so what” issue: I started to understand and “concretely touch” the reasons why of what I was studying and getting closer to a company view, its needs and requirements, without leaving behind the theoretical background. Also, I have been working for three years on projects financed by the European Commission. I really love working and being in touch with the international environment: you can share issues and topics that are of interest at the moment and meet always new and interesting people.

Discuss some challenges that you’ve encountered in your PhD career and how are you working to overcome them. I think the most difficult issue to manage when you decide to start a PhD is the need for time optimization. It happened to me to be involved on many and – why not – different projects or issues. On the one hand this is good as the more you do the more you learn, but on the other hand it can also be dangerous if not properly managed. Sometimes you need to stop and think: “Am I going on the right direction? How can this be useful for my PhD career?”. I think it is really important to have well defined objectives that you can reach and also a good helmsman that can support you if necessary.

Please make additional comments here: I really appreciate the possibility you gave me to post an interview and I hope this is just the beginning of a multicultural and global OCIS phd students’ community!

Interview with Bob Galliers 2/3

9351871Marco: That’s a very hard job.
Galliers: It’s a hard job and it does take a little bit of handling in terms of time management. I’m fortunate in that I have quite a lot of energy. While I might be tired from an overseas trip, I don’t really get jetlag. I suppose I’m so used to travelling that somehow I can recover from a long journey. I was in the UK last week. I flew out in the morning and got here in the afternoon. I was in the office by the afternoon, having spent some time on the plane writing a report of an accreditation of another business institution.
On Thursday, I fly out back to the UK and will be visiting Queen Mary College University of London to talk about the role of the arts and sciences in business education; a kind of experiment that we’ve been working on here at Bentley because Queen Mary have a transdisciplinary ethos, which is somewhat similar to ours. And then on Monday, we’ll be at Warwick talking about a new handbook in the Oxford University Press series. It will be called The Oxford Handbook on Management Information Systems that I will be editing with Wendy Curry who’s a professor at Warwick. Then on Tuesday, we’ll be giving a talk to MBA students at Brunel Business School in London about doing applied research projects as part of their MBA qualification. I’m a visiting professor at Brunel and at the London School of Economics and at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Again, one interacting with colleagues in different parts of the world, and students who are taking masters or doctoral programs is interesting and fascinating. It adds another dimension to your life, but on the other hand, it gives you the ability to test out ideas and to see whether those ideas actually work.
Marco: I think you know pretty well the PHD programs in Europe and the United States. Many PHD students don’t know exactly if they need to get a PHD in the U.S. if they want to work in a U.S. university, because, for example, in Europe PHD programs are sometimes 3-year programs, while here they are usually 4 or 5-year programs. So do you think that there is a huge difference in terms of what I can offer to a university? Whether they will hire me if I don’t get a PHD in the United States? Are there other requirements that are more important such as annual publications? What do you think about this?
Galliers: Well, I think there are a number of issues than that for the individual PHD student. I think the most important thing is to get their PHD. But in so doing, they can be publishing as well. Then I think that puts them on a really firm footing to get a better chance of getting a position at any university in the world. In my field of information systems, if they have published in one or more of the major journals, if they’ve been able to represent at one of the major international conferences in the world, then they’re demonstrating that they’re able to publish, on the one hand, that their work has been assessed by international referees. But, two, they are building up an opportunity of making something of a network. They are becoming known in the Academy.
When I did my PHD, I was fortunate enough to have, I think, something like 13 publications as a result of doing my PHD studies. Now, I did my PHD later in life. I’d previously not been an academic, so it was very important for me to be able to publish and to get my PHD almost at the same time. But the technique that I adopted was, in a sense, to work out what the research was all about, what my dissertation would look like, and then write articles which could then be edited into a dissertation.
Marco: And then put them together.
Galliers: Rather than writing a dissertation and then trying to get a journal article out of it. And my argument there was in the British system; I did my PHD at LSE. So in the British system, almost the litmus test is: Is this material publishable? Are there two or more articles that could emerge from this PHD? Well, I had demonstrated that because I already had 13 articles published as part of my PHD. SO, therefore, I was challenging my examiners to dare to fail me. How can you fail me when others have already identified that this work is good enough to be published?
But, more seriously, if you already have articles published, then, one, you’re visible in the Academy, and, two, you’re making yourself known as a serious player and someone that any university around the world should be interested in. And if you’ve published in some of the American journals, even if you’ve got a doctorate from another country, then in a sense, it doesn’t matter what system you came through as much.
Now, at Bentley, what we’ve tried to do is to combine the best of the European tradition or perhaps the best of the non-North American tradition with the best of the North American tradition. When you mentioned 5 years as being common in North America, that’s true, but it’s true that in many institutions in North America, there will be 2 years of course work followed by a comprehensive exam, then two or so years of research. But in the European system, you may be doing 3 or 4 years of research. So which is better? It’s different.
I would say that the strength of the North American system is the training that you get in research methods and so on as part of your course work. But I’d say that the strength of non-North American traditions is the training that you get in actually doing research. So if you combine those two strengths, then you have a really program, and that’s what we try to do here, so that not only are our students taking coursework, but they have a supervisor and the beginnings of a doctoral committee, as it’s called in the U.S., from the very beginning.
We’re encouraging them and requiring them to publish as they go along, so that when they have gone through their comprehensive exams, they’re not suddenly stopping and thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve finished my coursework, now I’ve got to think about doing some research.’ But they’ve already thought about that and applied their knowledge from the coursework into their planning for a program of research.
One of the weaknesses of the North American system, particularly in business, is the syndrome of ABD (all but dissertation). Well, we don’t want our students all but dissertation. As a European, I find it remarkable for anyone to talk about being a PHD all but dissertation because that is the PHD in the European system. So we’re trying to avoid that and also give our students the best opportunity we can to ensure that they really are the kind of PHD graduates that any institution the world over would be interested in.
So I think the answer really is to demonstrate that one is able to publish. One of the other problems though with many PHD programs is that sometimes PHD students are simply used as teaching assistants. Now, it’s important that PHD students get opportunities to teach. I can remember the first time I taught in a classroom, I was like a deer in the headlights. It’s pretty scary. I had no training whatsoever. And even though I had, prior to taking a PHD and getting into academia, as a consultant, I’d make presentations, and I’d even supervised some master’s projects. So I had some background, but that first time I was in a classroom, teaching my course, it was scary. I felt very unprepared for it. I think most PHD students feel that way.
What we’re trying to do here at Bentley is to have a series of workshops during the coursework period so that our PHD students begin to get some techniques in teaching and get some help in becoming a professor. And in their third and fourth years, they actually have an opportunity to teach a class. Rather than be at someone else’s beck and call to do some marking or prepare some materials or whatever it is, they’re actually being trained to teach and gain some experience of teaching as part of their doctoral program. I think that’s a little bit different from many institutions.
One of our PHD students here said something along the lines of, “I’m not just a slave.” I don’t think that was quite the terminology that she used, but a professor’s slave or something like that. That’s not what we’re about. What else can I say? Is that it?