Academic visitors to the Department

The Department regularly hosts academic visitors. The list below highlights the academic visitors we have been pleased to welcome recently. As well as being part of the departmental life for the period of their stay, visitors usually also present a seminar. We value the intellectual stimulation and new perspectives that our visitors offer.

Professor Vathsala Wickramsinghe

Professor Vathsala Wickramsinghe visited the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology in 2012, as a Commonwealth Visiting Fellow.

Vathsala Wickramsinghe graduated from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 1996 with a First Class BSc Honours degree in Business Administration and won the Professor Linus Silva Gold Medal for the best overall performance during the four year degree programme. She earned her MA degree in Labour Studies from the Faculty of Graduate Studies of the University of Colombo in 1999. She obtained accreditation as a Teacher in Higher Education from the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA), UK in 2000.

Since gaining her PhD from the University of Manchester, she has served as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management of Technology, University of Moratuwa. She had the opportunity to undergo specialised training in the area of Technology Management at the Research Centre for Policy Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (PREST) at the University of Manchester, UK on an Asian Development Bank scholarship while serving in the Department of Management of Technology.

Vathsala's research interests include strategic Human Resource Management, technology management,and industrial relations and labour market issues, amongst others.

Professor James Krantz

Dr James Krantz visited the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology in September 2011.

James Krantz is the Managing Director of Worklab, a New York based consultancy. James has worked as a consultant with the Wharton School's Centre for Applied Research and the Tavistock Institute in London. He has held faculty appointments at Wharton and Yale, and has taught in numerous other settings including INSEAD, McKinsey's Centre Asian Leadership, and Columbia University. In addition, he served as Assistant Director of Wharton's Leadership Program. He is a past president of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations and Fellow of the A.K. Rice Institute. He has a doctorate from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and has published widely in academic journals, using a psychodynamic approach to understand organisations.

OWT seminar: Socio-technical Theory and Twenty-First Century Organizations
Thursday 22 September 2011

Abstract: This presentation explores the question of whether the tradition of scholarship and practice that is broadly considered the Tavistock tradition and includes socio-technical theory, socio-analysis, and systems psychodynamics – will remain relevant and useful into the 21st century. To explore this issue the presentation will centre on three distinct, though related areas. First, the question will be considered in an historical context, pertaining to the social, psychological and organizational conditions within which socio-technical theory evolved. Secondly, I hypothesise that there is another fundamental phase change or discontinuity in work organizations that have profound ramifications for work organisations. Finally, two concepts that are central to socio-technical thinking will be used to both illuminate aspects of emerging organisational life and highlight the question of how our concepts need to evolve as well.

Professor Franck Cochoy

Dr Franck Cochoy visited the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology in October 2011.

Since 2001 he has been Professor of sociology at the University of Toulouse II. Professor Cochoy is one of the leading researchers within the field of Action Network Theory ANT. His teaching and research includes: History and sociology of market mediations, Market and politics, Theories of action, Research methods. Franck holds an MA in French Literature from The University of Paris VII (1986) and an MA in sociology (D.E.A.) from the École des Hautes Études in Social Sciences (1989). He is a former student of the École Normale Supérieure of Fontenay Saint-Cloud. In 1990 he received his PhD in Social Sciences from the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan and a Habilitation degree in Sociology from the University of Paris X-Nanterre in 1999.

OWT seminar: Curiosity, or the art of market seduction
Tuesday 18 October 2011

Abstract: Science and technology studies (STS) has done a terrific job in exploring the sociology of technical devices, but in so doing it has somewhat tended to neglect the properties of human subjects. I would like to suggest a more symmetrical analytical approach, by focusing on some market dynamics that bring “devices” and “dispositions” together. More precisely, I would like to focus on a particular disposition – curiosity – and the technologies market professionals have developed as a means to seduce consumers. The idea is that, more than any other disposition, focusing on curiosity can help in understanding how market professionals and technologies, in playing on human subjects’ inner states, may reinvent their very identity and behavioral logic.

I will show that from Genesis to the curiosity cabinets of the 15th-18th centuries, to the modern shop windows and the “teasing” strategies of today’s advertising, seducers and merchants have constantly built “curiosity devices” that have helped ordinary people to become curious and/or to become consumers. In the process, they have freed themselves from previous action schemes – routine and tradition for example – as well as coming to behave in patterns very different from those understood according to the more familiar logics of interest and calculation. The contemporary commercial game introduces a real market of consumer drives, where “Blue Beard’s curiosity” ends up facing a real “rainbow market” of competing dispositions.

Professor Bobby Banerjee

Dr Bobby Banerjee visited the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology in October 2011

Bobby is Professor of Management and Associate Dean of Research in the College of Business, University of Western Sydney. His primary research interests are in the areas of sustainability, climate change and corporate social responsibility. Other research interests include critical management studies, Indigenous ecology, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and globalization. He has published extensively in several internationally renowned scholarly journals. He is the author of two books: Corporate Social Responsibility: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and the co-edited volume Organizations, Markets and Imperial Formations: Towards an Anthropology of Globalization. Prof. Banerjee is a Senior Editor of Organization Studies. He is currently working on an Australian Research Council funded project that investigates climate change policies and corporate strategies in Australia, Germany, USA and UK.

OWT seminar: Stakeholder Management and Sustainability Strategies in the French Nuclear Industry
Wednesday 26 October 2011

Abstract: This paper will describe how a nuclear power corporation integrates sustainability into corporate strategies and practices. The case study focuses on one of the world's largest nuclear power generators and describes the corporate capture of sustainable development in its strategic efforts to promote a growth strategy. The paper shows how corporate strategies to address sustainability concerns involve managing different stakeholders, enabling the corporation to sustain its economic growth strategy. Three types of stakeholder management strategy are identified: reinforcement strategies for supportive stakeholders, containment strategies for obstructive stakeholders and stabilization strategies for passive stakeholders. The paper argues that, despite claims of sustainable development in the nuclear industry, there is no significant shift in the 'business as usual' approach and that sustainable development is merely reframed as sustainable growth.

Professor Torkild Thanem

Dr Torkild Thanem visited the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology in November 2011.
Torkild is an organisational researcher from Stockholm University School of Business, Sweden. Here he talks about his research:
"My research focuses on power and resistance within organisations, including the ways in which organisations exercise their power to manage and control their employees and the resistance which the employees often show, in particular to organisational changes. I am also interested in the role of the human body in organisations. At the moment I am studying companies that focus specifically on improving their employees' health. In recent years, the large number of sick days taken by employees has led companies to attempt to increase productivity by using health and fitness activities, health experts and other health promotion measures. This approach is both proactive and preventative. It doesn't just emphasise what employees shouldn’t do, but also what they must do. For example, they are encouraged not only to stop smoking, but also to exercise and eat more fruit and vegetables.”

OWT seminar: For a Realist Socio-Corporeal Ontology of Organizational Life
Wednesday 2 November 2011

Abstract: Particularly at Lancaster, realism seems to have regained some of the ground that it previously lost to poststructuralist constructionism and to Actor-Network Theory (ANT). While this ground has largely been claimed by critical realism, I will argue for a somewhat different realist ontology of organizational life, which goes beyond these three established approaches. More specifically, and by drawing on DeLanda’s outline of a realist social ontology of assemblages, I propose a quasi-Deleuzian ontology of organizational life. Whereas critical realism and DeLanda’s realism acknowledge but effectively exclude pre-social reality from social and organizational inquiry, ANT’s principle of radical symmetry makes it want to include everything but without being able to actually do so. The socio-corporeal ontology I am proposing here does not claim to include everything, but it does suggest that we need to venture into the pre-social (e.g., into bodily features and visceral feelings) when such matters matter in organizational life. And, unlike ANT, it does claim to provide the criteria we need for determining what to include and what to exclude. Hence, a socio-corporeal ontology which scrambles the border between the social and the pre-social rather than a purely social ontology keeps different levels of scale neatly separated.

Professor Alex Faria

Dr Alex Faria visited the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology in November 2011.
Alex is a researcher from the Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration, Getulio Vargas Foundation (EBAPE/FGV), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Alex has several areas of interest and professional experience including corporate strategy and strategic management, decision-making processes, marketing strategy, and critical studies in organizations. Alex holds a PhD in Business Administration from Warwick University, UK, 1999, an MS Administration, COPPEAD-UFRJ (Rio de Janeiro Federal University), 1990, and a BS Metallurgical Engineering, UFRJ (Rio de Janeiro Federal University), 1986.

Experience: Adjunct Professor of Candido Mendes University (1993-1999), on the Masters Program in Administration of Pontifícia Universidade Católica of the State of Paraná (PUC-PR) (2000-2002), and the Institute of Administration and Management of Pontifícia Universidade Católica of the State of Rio de Janeiro (IAG/PUC-Rio) (2003). Researcher for CNPq (Brazilian Scientific and Technological Development Council). Member of the Organizing Committee of the 1st Strategy Studies Meeting (3Es), in 2003. Professional experience in the area of marketing and consultancy in the area of corporate strategy.

OWT seminar: International Management Otherwise: A perspective from Latin America
Wednesday 9 November 2011

Abstract: A decolonial Latin American perspective on  International Management (IM) is put forward in this paper through a dialogue with the field of International Relations (IR), which goes beyond disciplinary and epistemic borders established by the ‘center’ toward the ‘peripheries’. It is argued that the construction of a critical Latin American perspective on management through IM and IR is a way of creating better conditions for “cross-cultural encounters” not only in global terms, but also within Latin America. In the end it is pointed out that rethinking IM through a critical perspective inspired by IR has implications for teaching, research and other types of practice not only in IM and IR, but also in other ‘international’ fields of management such as international marketing, international strategy, and international development management in different parts of the world(s).