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.

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