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Who is that person running the Zoom classroom? Getting to know your professors is one of the joys of the UVic MBA in Sustainable Innovation, and we thought we’d get the conversation started with some quick facts about a few of them. (See other Study Break profiles here.)

Simon Pek, Assistant Professor

Bachelor of Commerce, Smith School of Business, Queen’s University
PhD in Business Administration, Simon Fraser University

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

 

Fun Facts

Coffee or tea: I unfortunately cannot report that my coffee addiction has gotten any better during the pandemic…

Last book you read: Healthy Democracy: Empowering a clear and informed voice of the people, by Ned Crosby

Most recently played song on your playlist: Under the Pressure by the War on Drugs

 

Teaching

MBA class taught: MBA 553 (Designing Innovative Organizations)

I am extremely excited to teach MBA 553. Structure, governance, ownership and stakeholder participation are key aspects of any organizational endeavour, whether it’s a new start-up designed to tackle a sustainability issue or a long-standing consumer cooperative. When designing this course, I paid particular attention to making sure students get exposure to a wide range of different perspectives on these topics, and to be able to explore them in a wide range of contexts. One of the most important things I hope students take away from the course is an appreciation for just how many options are available when (re)designing their ideal organization to help make the kind of change in the world they want to see.

A question you hope students will ask this term: Are there better ways of organizing than what is out there now?

 

Research

Topics: Sustainability, Organizational Theory, Stakeholder Engagement, Organizational Culture, Strategy Development

 

Recent publications:

1) Pek, S. (2021). Drawing out democracy: The role of sortition in preventing and overcoming organizational degeneration in worker-owned firms. Journal of Management Inquiry. 30(2), 193-206. https://doi.org/10.1177/1056492619868030

What it’s about:

In this article, an alternative approach to organizational democracy is explored, highlighting how the application of sortition, the use of random selection, can be used to select candidates to act as representatives to decision-making bodies inside worker-owned firms (WOFs). This course of action could limit the organizational deterioration that occurs in worker-owned firms as they grow larger and more complex. Pek argues that the use of sortition as an alternative to elections may also provide additional social and business benefits to worker-owned firms.

2) Howard-Grenville, J., Lahneman, B., & Pek, S. (2020). Organizational culture as a tool for change. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Summer, 2020. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/organizational_culture_as_a_tool_for_change

What it’s about:

This article examines the implications of organizational culture and how an organization’s internal forces have the opportunity to transform its existing habits or values. Employees have the tools to enact change within their organization by applying pressure to steer the direction of their company. This article highlights the many aspects that contribute to organizational culture and how they can be mobilized to create action.