Business research at Gustavson

Graham Brown
Dr. Graham Brown, Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship, Tim Price Entrepreneurship Fellow

Producing outstanding business research

One of the key strengths of the Gustavson School of Business is the research ability of faculty members. This capability demonstrates itself in research that not only informs the practices of business and management, but also creates a better learning environment for our students and stakeholders. For a listing of our researchers, visit our faculty directory page.

Mine! No, Mine! Territoriality at work

We humans are a bunch of animals. Yes, we have opposable thumbs and an awareness of our own death (these traits help make us human) but we’re territorial, just like creation’s other creatures.

Dr. Graham Brown’s current research examines territoriality and psychological ownership of objects, ideas, even a physical workspace. He’s looking into how the consequences of territoriality’s possessiveness affect an individual and others operating in the same environment – and how strong is the urge to “mark” a space.  Read more.

Integrating cultures can benefit business

Gustavson Research Director Dr. Mary Yoko Brannen describes her route of inquiry as, in part, “me-search,” adding she thinks people research things to which they’re drawn, based on their own life experiences. Her current research seeks to understand how people who grow up and are socialized in more than one culture navigate their lives and develop skillsets that are invaluable to today’s global organizations.

“I am bicultural having been born and raised in Japan [and] … I’m interested in how conceptualizations of work coming from one cultural socialization are negotiated in real life, in real working situations,” she says.

Dr. Brannen is interested in understanding the integration of complex cultural systems: “By culture I mean … our habits, expectations, language and perceptions; the way we expect life to run.” Read more.

Marginals as Global Leaders: Why they might just excel!

Dr. Mary Yoko Brannen is currently directing a global research project focusing on biculturals and people of mixed cultural origins as the new workplace demographic—identifying types of biculturals, personal case histories, and designing and conducting a larger quantitative study to determine key attributes of people with mixed cultural identities as cultural boundary spanners in multinational companies. Here in this article together with her co-authors, Stacey Fitzsimmons and Yih-teen Lee, Professor Brannen discusses the hidden traits of one type of bicultural called marginals”—people who are neither from here or there—and shows why they can be quite valuable to today’s globally dispersed organizations. Read more.

Exploring the careers of expatriates and Millennials

Dr. Yan Shen’s research ranges over two broad topics: The first is the experience of expatriates when they are overseas. What kinds of people help and support them? Whom do they regard as important in their career and personal development?

The other broad area is a cross-cultural analysis of individual careers: How do individuals perceive career success? How do they manage career transitions in different cultures?

Dr. Shen prefers interviews in gathering information for her research, as there’s more opportunity to discover something you don’t even know you’re looking for. “[When] I talk to expatriates in China, my role is more like that of a facilitator. I ask certain questions, but then they share with me their stories, their experiences, and if there’s something interesting … I will ask follow-up questions.” Read more.

Indigenous rights meet corporate growth

“Supporting the right of indigenous people to control their own destiny … is something that’s owed to them,” says Dr. Matt Murphy.

Dr. Murphy’s research marries his two great interests: business and anthropology. He’d taken an anthropology course in the final year of his undergrad and was enthralled to the point where he thought: “Oh my goodness, I took the wrong major.” He continued in business and managed to maintain and enrich his interest in anthropology until his research and his personal interest dovetailed: “It just kind of came to me and met up with an interest I’ve had for a long time.” Read more.

Interview with Dr. Matt Murphy about Value Added in Africa - Developing sustainable channels into international markets.

Sustainable social enterprise

Sarah Easter was astonished to discover the struggles involved with an organization that had multiple goals and identities when she found herself in in Vietnam not too long ago, working with a social enterprise.

The organization, Hope Centre, functioned as a vocational training and employment centre for people with disabilities. Clothing and handicrafts produced were sold, and profit reinvested in the organization. Sarah’s job was to help the centre become financially self-sustaining with better marketing and business plans — and it was a struggle because of the tensions inherent in having both a social mission and a financial goal. She found the research into “institutional logics” one lens through which she could better understand the situation. Sarah found the existing literature did not adequately capture the complexity and dynamism after she’d spent a year there and saw the significance of context as well as the many factors that influenced how institutional logics played out within the organization. Read more.

Coaching moves from athletes to employees

Dr. Mark Colgate’s research offers him myriad chances to use what he learned playing as a boy: His research is about bringing the athletic approach to coaching into the business context.

“If you walked up to an athlete and said ‘I want you to be a faster athlete or better at tennis, but you’re not allowed to practise, and I’m not going to give you any coaching …’ ”that athlete would say that was crazy.

“But that’s what we do in business,” says Dr. Colgate. “We hire people, we don’t coach them, we expect them to perform … [yet] we don’t put the time and energy into developing people.” Read more.

Buying into workplace wellness

Health and cost management are the focal points of Dr. Angela Downey’s research.

Worksite Health Promotion (WHP) is one research interest. She tries to understand why, even though many companies think workplace wellness programs are a great idea, some organizations manage to implement solid WHP programs and build a culture of health promotion in their organization, while others seem to have a collection of WHP activities but never manage to develop a culture of wellness. Read more.

An ongoing video series showcasing the passion and commitment of Peter B. Gustavson School of Business researchers.

Dr. Mary Yoko Brannen received the 2013 Emerald Best International Symposium Award 

Gustavson has won another award at the Academy of Management meeting in Orlando, Florida. The symposium titled “The Upside of Cultural Distance: A Positive Organizational Scholarship Perspective” won the 2013 Emerald Best International Symposium Award! Dr. Mary Yoko Brannen (who spoke on “The Upside of Foreignness”) was one of five presenters at the event, which she says was very well-attended. Read more

Gustavson Marketing Researchers Score No. 1 Ranking

UVic Gustavson School of Business scholars can add another mark of excellence to their research record. In June 2012, a bibliometric study released from the Canadian research group Higher Education Strategy Associates ranked Gustavson #1 for research productivity in the field of marketing. The Higher Education Strategy Associates measures the number of publications produced by a researcher against the number of times the papers are cited in other scholarly journals. Click here to see the report results.

Gustavson faculty members researching in the field of marketing include: Drs. David Boag (marketing strategy), Mark Colgate (service excellence), Saul Klein (global business and international marketing), Linda Shi (global account management), Brock Smith (new venture marketing, marketing strategy, and relationship marketing), and Steve Tax (service failure and recovery, service design, customer performance and service networks).