Oft-cited researchers set sights on excellence

Seven University of Alberta faculty members have been named as some of the world’s most influential researchers by the 2015 Highly Cited Researchers list—three heralding from the Alberta School of Business.


(Edmonton) Royston Greenwood, a professor of strategic management at the University of Alberta School of Business, along with colleagues Michael Lounsbury, associate dean (research), professor and Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Roy Suddaby, Eldon Foote Chair in Law and Society; and Eric Geddes Professor of Business and director of the Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (now at the University of Victoria)—are among seven U of A faculty to make the 2015 Highly Cited Researchers list, compiled by Thomson Reuters.

Highly Cited Researchers is an annual list recognizing leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world. The 2015 list focuses on contemporary research achievement: only highly cited papers in science and social sciences journals are indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection during the 11-year survey period from 2003–2013. 

“This is a significant achievement for many reasons,” says Greenwood. “This list of citations (over the last 10 years) measures other academics who are using your work (research papers), then ranks them among the top one per cent of most-cited papers by category and year.”

Developing a vibrant research culture

As the world moves more towards engagement, “universities now have to demonstrate impact in a real way,” says Greenwood—a key to which he credits the Alberta School of Business’s success. “We have quite carefully developed a vibrant research culture; from the dean on down, there is a commitment to such a culture and on building relationships with other institutions—including the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and the Imperial College of London (to name a few). This is why it is critical for both the faculty and doctoral levels to engage with experts from around the world.”

In the 2015-16 academic year, the U of A's business school is and will be home to a number of internationally recognized, award-winning faculty including professors from Austria, China and Turkey, whose knowledge and expertise contribute to a robust research environment that fosters global collaboration, cross-cultural researcher perspectives, enhanced skills and knowledge transfer.

Greenwood also cites major international conferences as opportunities for collaborative work—reinforcing a commitment to a strong research and teaching environment—while recognizing other important aspects of development including the doctoral program as “an integral part of the research culture.”

The Academy of Management’s annual meeting—to which Greenwood refers as "The Big One"—is the premier conference for more than 10,000 students, academics, scholars and professionals in scholarly management and organization. Such events “enliven programs, relationships and work from around the world,” says Greenwood.

Most recently, Lounsbury participated in the 13th Annual West Coast Research Symposium at the University of Washington—a global annual gathering of researchers passionate about technology and entrepreneurship.

Impact of research, impact on teaching

The academic recognition of the list also speaks to research outcomes that resonate with society. Greenwood, for example, is examining "wrongdoing" by professional firms, service entities, law and accounting, and, in a separate study, the challenge of introducing private investment into traditionally publicly funded and managed hospitals.

Lounsbury is doing research on the importance of culture in understanding the sources and consequences of entrepreneurship. He is examining how processes related to technology commercialization, venture capital funding and social innovation are influenced by cultural entrepreneurship in varied contexts including nanotechnology, toxic waste and video games.

A finely meshed and nurtured international community without borders “excites, motivates and challenges us,” says Greenwood. International relationships and exposure—in its various forms—subsequently flow into the classroom environment and invigorate the experience for faculty and students alike.

“We do not think of ourselves as local or even Canadian,” he notes. “We’re an international research community.”

U of A Highly Cited Researchers for 2015

In addition to Greenwood, Lounsbury and Suddaby, four other U of A faculty members made the Highly Cited Researchers list: