Monique Cikaliuk

Country of origin: Canada

Research Fellow, New Zealand Leadership Institute, University of Auckland

I decided to enrol for a PhD because I felt strongly that it would engage me intellectually and allow me to pursue an academic career. Lancaster University is widely recognised for its strength in my chosen field — leadership and management — and I wanted to learn with the best in the UK. So I chose Lancaster because its model stresses a self-directed approach and features renowned faculty.

My research focused on leadership and management strategies for developing sustainable advantage through cross-sector alliances by building capabilities for inter-partner collaboration. This interest stems from working with public and private sector organizations and appreciating that creating sustainable value involves a different combination of knowledge and skills from those of everyday business. It was this interest brought me to the Department of Management Learning and Leadership (now called the Department of Leadership and Management).

I was encouraged to take ownership of my research early on and crafted my study with the benefit of academically distinguished faculty. This model matched my own self-directed learning approach. The initiative and accountability for my research resided with me and my ability to draw on invaluable guidance from faculty and peers throughout the whole experience. It required passion, persistence, and an unwavering commitment to dig deeper and explain better.

I benefitted from the intellectual diversity of the faculty and peers in shaping and refining my research through workshops organized by the University, presentations at conferences in Europe and North America, and informal exchanges with colleagues.

As a Research Fellow with the New Zealand Leadership Institute at the University of Auckland I now work with an interdisciplinary team from law and international business to generate insight into why some boards are successful while others have calamitous effect on firm performance. It is an opportunity to generate new insight by building on my research and extending it into understanding the leadership and governance exercised by boards.