Inclusive academia (1): How my career trajectory led to a focus on a inclusion

First of eight posts on my Irish Academy of Management Distinguished Scholar Interview

In October 2022 I received the happy news that I was elected as the 2022 Irish Academy of Management Distinguished International Scholar. I received a beautiful glass sculpture and was interviewed by the amazing Alma McCarthy on the topic Towards a more inclusive and proactive academia. This post explains how my career trajectory naturally lead to a focus on inclusion.

Could you briefly take us through your career history?

Well… my early career was far from planned. After a 3.5-year professional degree in Business & Languages and a 4-year master’s degree in IB, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. Being the first in my wider family to go to university, I really didn’t have any professional role models (see also: This little girl: message to my younger self). So, I kind of stumbled upon a freelance job at the Open University in the Netherlands, my home country. This is where I edited the first edition of my textbook in IHRM, really excited to be working with top scholars in the field as a young graduate.

I also discovered I really liked university life, but soon realised I needed a PhD to get a more permanent job. So, I started a PhD whilst working as a part-time Lecturer at two other Dutch universities. That was quite common in the Netherlands at the time; official PhD programmes were still rare. Just before finishing my PhD, I moved to the University of Bradford in the UK. After four years at Bradford, I moved to Melbourne in Australia to become a Senior Lecturer and was promoted internally to Associate and full Professor, though in both cases not without initial rejections.

I have been quite successful in my research and teaching, publishing in the main journals in my field such as Journal of International Business Studies, Management International Review, Journal of World Business, and International Business Review and have become one of top-50 most cited academics in Business & Management worldwide. But I have also taught extensively at all levels and have recently published the sixth edition of my textbook on IHRM. A few years ago, I was elected as Fellow of the Academy of International Business.

Leadership and service leading to real impact

However, what I think has been most important for my impact in the field have been my leadership and service roles, not just those within universities, but also in the wider world of academia. In terms of university leadership, I have been Head of the International Business group at Melbourne, Director of a big PhD programme, Assistant Dean Research Higher Degrees, and Associate Dean Research, all at the University of Melbourne.

However, I have also provided research resources on my website since the late 1990s, starting just a few years after the Internet became widespread. This includes the Journal Quality List which was launched in 2000 and the Publish or Perish software which was launched in 2006. In 2016 I started a weekly blog, and in 2020 I started a YouTube channel.

Finally, in the 2022-2023 academic year, I am self-publishing four short guides on Crafting Your Career in Academia based on my blog with as topics Writing effective promotion applications, Publishing in academic journals, Creating social media profiles and Measuring and improving research impact

Aug 2022:

More on this book
Nov 2022:

More on this book
Feb 2023:

More on this book
May 2023:

More on this book

These activities have significantly shaped my current role at Middlesex University in Staff Development and support for ECRs, but more importantly my view on the importance of inclusion and proactiveness in academia.

What do you see as inclusion in academia?

I see inclusion as the extent to which variety in academia is not just tolerated, but actively encouraged and appreciated. This means academics from different demographic backgrounds can feel they belong in the world of academia, are provided with access to the right information and resources, and are able to influence decision-making processes in their organisations.

However, academic inclusion doesn’t just apply to individuals. It can also apply to disciplines and universities. The common denominator of inclusivity is not taking the current majority group as the default against which non-majority groups are evaluated. In my own career, I have worked mainly across three areas:

What drove you to give so much of your time to this?

Well, my focus on inclusivity has been reflected in two key areas: research evaluation and supporting female academics and Early Career Researchers. My motivation in research evaluation originated directly from my own needs: the Journal Quality list and the Publish or Perish software were both a pragmatic response to seeing my own promotion prospects frustrated.

My research on bibliometrics in the Social Sciences, covering new data sources such as Google Scholar and new metrics such as the individual annual h-index (hIA) to accommodate disciplinary differences were a response to seeing the Social Sciences systematically undervalued in many countries.

My support for women and ECRs on the other hand comes mainly from a desire to ensure that the next generation of academics receives the support that I feel I have missed early on in my own career.

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