The Operations and Technology Management (OTM) group has a leading reputation in 4 areas, in which we recruit, train and place our PhD students:
- innovation management and new product development
- healthcare operations
- sustainable operations
- managing risk, uncertainty and complexity
We cover a broad range of methodological expertise which we apply in our research and in which we train our PhD students, including mathematical modelling, data analytics and econometrics, and behavioural laboratory and field experiments.
Professor Stelios Kavadias talks about the Operations and Technology Management pathway.
Hi, I’m Stelios Kavadias. I’m the Margaret Thatcher Professor of Enterprise Studies in Innovation and Growth here at Cambridge Judge Business School, and I’d like to share a few thoughts with you about our operations focus of the PhD programme here at Cambridge Judge Business School. A key question that many people have when they start contemplating going into a PhD programme is what’s really in it for them? What’s the idea behind the subject like operations?
Personally, obviously, I would say that the operations is one of the most exciting topics and subjects one could get involved in, simply because it captures the fact that you study how things are made, how things are happening within organisations, especially given the fact that you have to take into account processes, people, strategy, and make sure that all work in sync in order to get stuff done to make things happen, as we would say. We have chosen to make this a central theme within the Operations group here at Cambridge Judge Business School and primarily the work that our PhD students are working on these days with the faculty is focusing on getting relevant problems from actual organisations and trying, then, to obstruct them away into the true, fundamental, theoretical questions that we can source based on those problems.
Eventually, through a rigorous– extremely rigorous– analysis, we’re trying then to turn the answers that we get out of those problems, out of those research projects into insights– fundamental insights– for the organisations, which should be completing the cycle of knowledge creation. With respect to the subjects that we carry some, I would say, special expertise, or if you wish, a competitive advantage just to use a business language. With respect to other business schools, competing PhD programmes out there in the globe, we feel that the Operations group here at Cambridge Judge Business School has tremendous expertise on three key topics.
The first one is strategic management of projects, and this goes beyond the, let’s say, simple perspectives that have been developed over the years, the traditional perspectives that have been supported over the years in terms of project management and focusing a bit more on how risky complex innovation projects should be managed. That’s an open-ended question are there in the corporate business world, and we feel terribly excited by being able to work on certain projects related to that. The second topic relates to services.
One way or another, most of the economies are turning into primarily service economies, especially in the Western world, and services being slightly more complex than the traditional production processes make it extremely hard to deliver and eventually create value for the organisation. So how can we actually take this complex phenomenon that’s called services, which implies corporate using results together with customers, with stakeholders, and so on and so forth and manage it effectively by increasing the bottom line. That’s an open-ended question, and again, one of our perspectives is being deeply involved with certain organisations– service organisations– be it in the financial sector, be it in the health care sector, and trying to drive as much new insights and knowledge creation as possible.
Another topic which is extremely interesting and very important for many of the organisations that we interact with in the globe, I would say, is the issue of decision making and senior management decision making. So how are decisions happening in groups? How are the processes that governed those decisions? How much are those decisions akin to the traditional, let’s say, rational optimisation perspective that the economics tradition have created, and how much do they happen to be influenced by behavioural aspects by psychological effects and conditions that the decision makers are subject to? That’s an open-ended question as well, and this is yet another topic and a domain, where we see quite some tremendous growth in terms of the potential for knowledge creation and there resides enough expertise within the Operations group here at Cambridge Judge Business School in terms of actual research outcomes.
If I would have to summarise the key strengths, I would say, of the PhD programme, I would put it in terms of three Rs just to make it as corporate as possible. It’s relevance, because we want to be working and deeply engaging with organisations; it’s rigour, because we want to be making statements that are supported in hard facts and they have gone through the scrutiny of theoretical analysis; and it’s results. Creating eventually the impact that the organisations can take back and improve their operations or push their understanding and thinking of what they do even more profoundly, which will lead to additional research eventually, but with this, at least it’s happening in a way that is systematic, and it helps them increase their bottom line.