What could an English doctorate, standup comedian, and startup entrepreneur possibly have in common? The answer is: surprisingly a lot.
Marc-David Seidel, Dalhia Mani, Hovig Tchalian, and Lori Yue once led separate lives in separate disciplines. But they eventually converged, having served as OMT executive members, and today they are featured in OMT’s season 1 podcast.
We are all familiar with the work of organizational scholars, colleagues and co-authors who are known for studying organizational behaviors, actions, and processes. Yet, quite often, we know little about the lives of the researchers behind these organizational stories. It is therefore delightful that the pilot OMT podcast series embarks on an exploration into the hidden gems in OMT scholars’ lives that have shaped their paths, passions and patterns for research.
You are invited to join this intriguing and fun-filled journey, available here at just the click of a button: https://omt.aom.org/omtpodcast. Continue reading on for some highlights of the first season.
As already hinted, the path to academia, for Marc-David, Dalhia, Hovig and Lori was anything but clear and linear. In Hovig’s words, he discovered the world of organizational scholarship after a number of “unusual U-turns and accidents,” and in the end, things worked out for the better – a serendipitous experience that resembles Dalhia’s account of her journey. When asked about what motivates them to keep going, Hovig and Marc-David were both quick to attribute “lifelong learning” and “intellectual stimulation” as the aspects of academia that they most enjoy and are drawn to. Similarly, Dalhia points to her passion for research and teaching while Lori credits her curiosity about how things work as their driving motivations.
When invited to talk about their research, all three scholars tied their current research questions to their early career experience. For Dalhia, her experience as a startup entrepreneur over a decade ago shifted her research orientation from macro questions to more micro inquiries focusing on female entrepreneurs in her home country, India. In the case of Hovig, his background in the study of language structure allows him to take a more nuanced approach to investigating the role that communication plays in the societal acceptance of innovations. Currently preoccupying his interest is the quest to understand, through computational discourse analysis, the shifts in the “deeply held and deeply embedded” social values that allow such innovations as the shared-economy model to take place today that were unthinkable 20 years ago.
In a similar vein, Marc-David, a veteran in the tech space and founder of the first online travel company, centers his research on understanding the implications of rapidly emerging technology from the social, political, psychological and public-policy standpoints. He stressed that the insights from such multi-disciplinary research are paramount to informing the design of new technology so that “we do not end up with a dangerous outcome.” In addition to being multi-disciplinary, Lori’s research agenda spans across cultural settings in the U.S. and China. Last year, Lori took up an initiative that involves translating and introducing the papers from the ASQ Editor’s Blog to China through both academic channels (e.g. Fudan Business Review) and social media. In the interview, she noted how this initiative has facilitated exchanges of ideas and knowledge between China and the U.S. and enabled dialogue between academia and general audiences.
In closing their interviews, Marc-David, Dalhia, Lori, and Hovig talked about the excitement of being members of the OMT community. They highlighted the instrumental role that OMT plays in helping them build lasting and meaningful relationships with other organizational scholars. Dalhia acknowledged how intimidating it may feel to get involved in a division as large as OMT, especially for introverts like herself. Her advice was to “stick it out” by “being consistent,” attending AoM conferences, and “being a good citizen” of the community. Echoing Dalhia, Lori shared her belief that the atmosphere at OMT is very friendly and open. She encouraged PhD students to attend the OMT new and returning member session, where they will learn the fundamentals of academic life, such as how to work with mentors. Of the many programs available at the annual AoM conferences, the series of off-conference events is a relatively new arrival yet an immediate favorite of many, including Marc-David and Hovig. At these informal events, including café chats, morning runs, and Yoga sessions, scholars get to meet new people, catch up with old colleagues, and exchange ideas in a more relaxed setting.
We hope you enjoy listening to the inaugural season of the OMT Podcast. We look forward to bringing you more exciting episodes in Season 2, due to launch later this year. So stay Tuned! And follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.