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

Mina Askovic

Corporate volunteering: The karmic paycheck?

Corporate volunteering is a topic of growing importance in workplaces around the world, with increasing numbers of workplaces supporting employee volunteering programs as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives. Activities that increase a company’s CSR objectives are those that take into account multiple stakeholders, maximizing performance in not only a company’s financial, but social goals. Yet, most of the evidence about the benefits of corporate volunteer programs is anecdotal. This research will add to our understanding of corporate volunteering and its role in creating shared value for organizations, not-for-profits (NFPs) and the communities they serve. It is being undertaken with the Credit Union Foundation of Australia, a NFP working with communities in the Asia-Pacific region to lift them out of poverty by developing and supporting financial cooperatives.

Maegan Baker

Entrepreneurial capacity building in indigenous communities: an engaged critical realist approach to collaborative social empowerment

The complex environment of Australian social policy development and implementation has contributed to the historical and ongoing marginalisation of Indigenous Australian populations. The proliferation of identity constructs have further reinforced this marginalisation, and a relatively undeveloped social discourse has created false dichotomies between the idealised positions of being Indigenous and being Australian. When generalised statistics concerning Indigenous Australians are considered comparative to national data, vast gaps in education, employment, health and welfare all point to a need to re-examine these dichotomies from multiple perspectives as a precursor to meaningful social change. The initial objective of this research is to examine whether entrepreneurship can provide a space to collaboratively engage in this re-examination. The subsequent objective is to actively use entrepreneurial education as a mechanism by which to co-develop and co-facilitate the achievement of business objectives that concurrently reorient understandings of identities and how they interact with values, beliefs and behaviours at a broader socio-political level. The final objective is to determine whether and how this approach may translate to different contexts in the instance it is agreed by participants to have been successful.

Fannie Couture

Tackling Grand Challenges Through Multi-Sectoral Collaborations

Fannie’s thesis is focusing on understanding how organizations respond to complex strategic issues transcending organizational boundaries. Managing the implications of such ‘wicked problems’ are increasingly critical for firms and their leaders. Examples of such challenges include food, water and energy security; climate change (LĂȘ, 2013); political instability and terrorism; disaster and environmental resilience; poverty and inequality; etc. The sheer magnitude and scope of these issues mean that organizations often form meta-organisational collaborative arrangements to address these problems innovatively. Fannie’s research focuses on one such arrangement: a cross-industry partnership involving NGOs, mining firms, an agriculture consortium, government regulatory bodies, universities and a consultancy firm, that is seeking to monitor and report the cumulative impact of the human footprint on an Australian water system. This Basin is of critical strategic importance to the region, including the organizations involved. Fannie focuses particularly on how members of this cross-industry collaboration delimit, manage and strategize around meta-problems while simultaneously attempting to build trust, facilitate collaboration between partners and learn from both successes and failures. This research project is designed to produce clear and inspiring insight into the practices and processes through which cross-industry groups learn about and attempt to tackle wicked problems.

Jarryd Daymond

The multimodality of strategy work: How practices of materiality and discourse combine in the strategy process

This research adopts a multimodal lens to explore how materiality and discourse combine in the strategy process. Multimodality recognises and embraces the semiocity of strategy work and therefore can provide insight into the strategy-materiality nexus by demonstrating how different modes of materiality combine in strategy work. This research continues the tradition of integrating discursive scholarship with the theoretical domain of sociomateriality. The approach addresses the underlying problem of how actors discursively use and react to strategy materials such that they facilitate group sensemaking and discourse-crafting organisational activities.

Stephanie Dunk

Towards an ethic of economic relations

Using the food industry as an entry into economic relationships more broadly, Stephanie’s thesis suggests that purchasing is always an ethical act, and that the ethics are constantly negotiated. The thesis represents a gesture towards an ethic of economic relationships based on the mutual obligations of citizenship rather than the individual utility-maximising of a company/consumer relationship. Finding both the Corporate Social Responsibility literature and the consumer behaviour literature narrowly focused in the responsibilities of the company and consumer respectively, it turns to the work of philosopher Martin Buber to explain the construction of the self in relationship with nature. This will frame the empirical work which is to come.

Gaia Grant

How top management teams experience paradoxical demands in strategising for sustainable innovation

Rapid change and complex contemporary environments have led to inherent ambiguities and related tensions in organisations. This can be particularly challenging where there are conflicting goals or needs, which can lead to the need to simultaneously deal with multiple paradoxical tensions. The push towards the need for innovative new ideas and products (eg through breakthrough innovation) can, for example, conflict with the need to manage and improve on current systems and practices (eg through incremental innovation). This is known in the literature as an exploration / exploitation innovation paradox. Simultaneously, the need for sustainability over the long term can conflict with the need to drive through profitability for stakeholders. There is a clear need for top management teams to identify and address these tensions for sustainable innovation and growth. This study identifies specific tensions relating to sustainable innovation paradoxes that emerge over time and explores how top management teams make sense of the competing demands.

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Former PhD students - University of Melbourne and University of Sydney