25 March 2007

Meet the Committee

One (among many) item(s) that was missed during last week's run-up to the conference was the news that my thesis proposal was officially accepted, and my committee was officially constituted. Three cheers and a tiger for me! (That from a classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, A Lad and His Lamp, voiced by the incomparable Jim Backus.) Allow me to make the introductions:

My supervisor is Marilyn Laiken, one of Canada's leading practitioners of organizational change, and current chair of the Adult Education and Counselling Psychology department. Marilyn was the person to whom I first wrote when I was contemplating applying for my master's degree. Since that first conversation over lunch, she has become a mentor, an inspiration and good friend. It is in large part thanks to Marilyn that I am doing the research that I am, as it was in her course on the history and theory of organization development - in my first semester as a master's student - that the seminal sparks of my doctoral research were kindled.

The second member of my committee is Derrick de Kerckhove, director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology. Derrick was the person who opened the door of academe to me, breaking the conventional rules (as is his wont) and providing me with the opportunity to explore new and strange ideas (as is my wont) in my five years as Chief Strategist at the McLuhan Program. He is my co-author of McLuhan for Managers: New tools for new thinking, and, like Marilyn, is a mentor and dear friend. Derrick and I have collaborated on many projects, and I am thrilled that he continues to be involved in my work about the UCaPP effects on organization.

The third member is someone whom I have only recently met - Ann Armstrong of the Rotman School of Management. In the short time that I have known Ann, we have had several delightful conversations, both in person and via email. Ann impresses me with a sensibility toward the research and dissertation process that is both compatible with that of Marilyn and Derrick, and conducive to providing the type of support and advice that will facilitate my completion.

Just the ethical protocol to complete and have passed by the university's ethical review board, and I'm off and running. I will soon be looking for organizations (and three individuals from each participating organization, at relatively higher, medium and lower hierarchical levels) that might want to participate in establishing the parameters of the Valence Theory of Organization. So if you might be interested in contributing to, and having an early glimpse at what might constitute tomorrow's management vocabulary for the proverbial "organization of the future," drop me a line.

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