Doctoral Scholars

A listing of ICRODSC's current and recent doctoral scholars.

University of Melbourne

Paul Finn

Entrepreneurship as Organisational and Social Creativity

The aim of the research is to extend the boundaries of entrepreneurship theory and practice by reframing ‘entrepreneurship as managerial economic activity’ to ‘entrepreneurship as organisational and social creativity’.

In doing so, the research seeks to distance entrepreneurship from how it has become represented in enterprise discourse, namely as a rationalised form of profit-making and a particular form of self-governance.

Instead, entrepreneurship becomes a more critical and reflective process that creates a space for play or invention within an established order of things. This space allows for the actualisation of new practices that creatively (re)organise ideas, materials and actions.

These practices stimulate new forms of thinking and behaving through the creative destruction and reconstruction of previously unquestioned norms and activities. Entrepreneurship within this context becomes ‘entrepreneuring’: a form of social and organisational creativity, linking different actants in different ways.

Valerie Cotronei-Baird

An Examination of the Extent that Academics Intergrate Employability Skills in the Business Curriculum

The current economy and labour market is defined by constant change and an increasing emphasis on hiring graduates who possess more than discipline specific knowledge and skills. In this economic climate, universities are now expected to play a role in the development of student’s employability skills.

Yet, despite this expectation, there continues to be a divergence between promotion and practice. Consequently, a graduate skill gap appears to continue as a result of a mismatch between industry skill requirements and the curriculum.

While universities have put in place a range of policies and initiatives that seek to foster a commitment from academics to integrate employability skills within the curriculum, there is less understanding of academic’s actual experiences of integrating employability skills within the curriculum.

The proposed study aims to develop an understanding of what actually happens in practice for an academic asked to integrate graduate employability skills into their curriculum. The methodology proposed is a qualitative research approach which aims to utilise three complementary methods: semi-structured interviews, content analysis and direct observation in order to make sense of academics teaching experiences and practice in the design, delivery and assessment of employability skills of business graduates.

Graham Dwyer

Public Inquiry Sense-making in Victorian Emergency Management Organisations

The organisation studies literature has recently encouraged scholars to research how sense-making can be understood from a prospective rather than a retrospective standpoint, especially when significant and damaging disasters are triggered by turbulent environments.

This study therefore examines sense-making by emergency organisations that deal with bushfires in Victoria and, specifically, how they made sense of the Royal Commission on the Black Saturday bushfires with a view to preventing such emergencies in the future.

Using an interpretive and qualitative methodology, the study will examine three gaps in the literature. Firstly, how do emergency management professionals implement recommendations from natural disasters emanating from public inquiries, and what role does sense-making play in this? Secondly, how do cognitive loading and associated emotions influence the sensemaking process associated with implementing recommendations in such organisations? Thirdly, does hierarchy influence the sense-making process in these organisations?

Kanti Pertiwi

Business Relationships with Goverment in Indonesia: What does Corruption Mean?

Corruption is commonly seen as the root cause to social problems around the world. The mainstream literature discusses corruption by focusing on the individual (bad apples), the organisation (bad barrels), and the society (bad larder) as contributing factors to corruption.

Moreover, it treats corruption as having an inherent ‘dysfunctional’ characteristic and that it results from the inability of individuals to ‘reason’ and subsequently act otherwise. Unlike mainstream research, this study acknowledges the importance of individuals’ construction of corruption and the complex way in which context influences individuals to engage in corruption.

The research focuses on the variety of meanings of corruption ascribed by business actors while being embedded in their cultural settings. The study adopts an interpretivist perspective, which will allow the study of intersubjective meanings of corruption to actors situated in context, and will contribute to the organisational corruption literature by furthering the understanding of the nature of corruption and how actors arrive at a behaviour many label as corrupt.

Nicholas B de Weydenthal

Doing Risk Like a State

Emergencies such as bushfires, floods and heatwaves occur frequently in the state of Victoria and their impacts are devastating for people, property, infrastructures and environments. In this context, Nicholas de Weydenthal will explore how risk is used as a device with which governmental departments and agencies organise, in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disastrous events.

Interrogating risk practices empirically and philosophically opens up a range of conduits through which it is possible to analyse how people and places, natures and cultures are ordered and valued in particular ways.

This investigation develops a set of interconnected concepts of (social) science that make up part of the conceptual scaffolding for the concept of risk which, when opened up from the inside, shows how the state is 'done' in new ways.

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University of Sydney

Maurizio Floris

Discourse Analysis: A Third Dimension in Strategy Development

Mainstream strategy development methodologies appear to focus on the exploration of time and context (space), for example these methodologies analyse either longer timeframes, broader (or richer) contexts, or both.

Discourse analysis brings a very different and complementary approach through its analysis of the constructed nature of core concepts of strategy, for example market segments, needs and capabilities. In mainstream strategy theory these concepts are often either taken for granted or the full impact of their constructed nature is not understood.

Maurizio Floris, a member of the Melbourne Business School but who is conducting his PhD under the auspices of the University of Sydney, will explore whether both the theory and practice of strategy development can be meaningfully understood against these three different dimensions of strategy development.

Barbara Foweraker

Mature-age Employment: Organisational Responses to the Challenges and Opportunities of an Aging Workforce

The employment of older workers has recently come under increased focus due to the challenges posed by the aging population. Governments face fiscal and economic challenges in terms of funding pensions, health and aged-care services from a shrinking tax base and skills shortages are already being felt in some industry sectors. Yet people today have longer life expectancies and enjoy better health in old-age than previous generations. One solution to these challenges is to keep people in the workforce past traditional retirement age. However, this group of workers typically faces barriers to employment due to age discrimination based on ageist stereotypes and is often targeted for redundancy in times of downsizing or overlooked as a pool for potential new recruits. This project aims to gain an in-depth understanding of the perspectives and policies of an employer with a stated commitment to employing and retaining older workers.

Jacqueline Mees-Buss

Multinationals in Transition: Responsibly Managing Global Brands

The adverse side effects of rapid industrialisation and globalisation challenge the role and responsibility of large multinational corporations (MNCs) in the 21st century. Although change is still deemed limited, sustainability and social impact appear on top of the agenda wherever top managers of the largest MNCs gather around the world.

Jacqueline Mee-Buss’s thesis is an in-depth case study which aims to develop our understanding of the causal powers that shape change in an MNC that has publicly expressed its intention to contribute to a better society.

The focus of analysis is on the sequence of events that shape the emergence of a global brand with a social mission as an outcome of the interplay between structures and agents. The structures that constrain and enable agents, and the agents that act within and upon these structures over a 10-year period - from the time the top of the organisation formally committed to sustainability and positive social impact.

Using narrative and critical discourse analysis (CDA), the research’s objective is to shed new light on the inner workings of the MNC and the underlying forces that enable, as well as restrict, its transition towards greater social responsibility.

Jarrod Ormiston

Assessing Impact and Performance in Social Investment: Navigating Diverse Logics in Cross-Sector Collaboration

Cooperatives, charities, churches and mutual societies have a long history of directing capital towards social 'good'. Similarly, there is a long tradition of 'ethical' or other forms of screened investments avoiding alcohol, gambling and weapons or other negative externalities.

However, over the past 20 years, a new form of investment activity is emerging on a global scale that focuses explicitly on creating value for society - social, economic, cultural and/or environmental - as well as delivering financial returns for investors.

Social investment involves unlikely cross-sector collaborations between stakeholders who had previously kept their distance, such as between government agencies, NGOs, philanthropic foundations, commercial enterprises and investment banks.

These collaborations occur at both inter-organisational and intra-organisational levels, and are potentially complicated by the different modes of practice, traditions and backgrounds, implicit assumptions, values and beliefs held by individuals, organisations and sector.

Sarah Runcie

Complicity – Crossing Moral Boundaries

In the world of work, complicity in wrongdoing can be seen as the negation of personal moral agency. In other words, complicity results from a person losing their willingness to act in line with their own morals.

The central concern of this study is to examine how complicity arises in organisations. It aims to identify the micro-dynamics that affect, influence and inhibit moral agency at work. While much research has been dedicated to extreme instances of such behaviour, such as corruption or other illegal activity, almost no research has examined the more common blurring of boundaries that occurs in everyday work.

This topic is examined with an interview study of executive assistants (EA), who commonly face complex situations that may give rise to complicity. Results from this study will further our understanding of complicity and, hence, provide the micro-foundations for how unethical decisions and actions arise in modern organisations.

Abz Sharma

Legacy: The Routinisation of Charismatic Leadership

Abz Sharma's thesis aims to investigate the 'routinisation' of charismatic leadership - a process by which charismatic authority is succeeded by traditional and/or bureaucratic authority. In particular, the project will bring into focus the ways in which the values, attitudes and behaviours of charismatic leaders and their followers sustain the 'charismatic mission' after the leader's departure from the organisation.

The project will utilise a discourse analytic methodology and case study approach in order to provide a fine grained, qualitative account of the routinisation of charisma by empirically testing, evaluating and building on extant theory.

Sharna Wiblen

Capable Capabilities: The Appropriation of Electronic Human Resources for the Management of Talent

The argument that an organisation needs to manage its human capital assets, has a long history. However, changes in demographic patterns, the 'war of talent', talent shortages and several other factors have today combined in a manner which further encourages organisations to identify, recruit, maintain and develop individuals who are deemed 'talent'.

The  changes have provided compelling reasons for organisations to attend to their human assets through talent management. So much so that the increasing importance of 'talent' has promoted many senior executives of organisations to not only state that 'our people are our greatest asset' but to undertake tangible strategic actions that embody these claims.

The ability to effectively identify and manage talent within an organisation can benefit from the introduction of technology and the number of organisations that are adopting information technology to support and enhance policies, processes and activities associated with talent management are increasing.

Seeking to examine arguments that assert that talent management can, and should be conducted in partnership with technology, referred to in this project as Electronic Human Resources (E-HR), this project, by adopting a discourse analytic approach, will empirically explore the way in which a Professional Services Firm conceptualises talent, as well as the appropriation of technology in talent management.

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Former PhD students - University of Melbourne and University of Sydney