Interview

Interview

Olen Gunnlaugson (Université Laval, Canada)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4793-0.chit1
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Interview

Olen: It's a pleasure to finally get the chance to speak with you about your work, Otto. For some time now, we have been looking forward to having our book play a role in further clarifying and advancing the academic conversation around Theory U. I would like to begin by acknowledging the importance of Theory U and presencing as a landmark development in your work with broader implications, particularly within the fields of management and leadership. Now that you have been working with Theory U for the better part of a decade across different sectors of societies, what developments are you noticing as a practitioner as you move forward and look back? To put this a bit more provocatively, how might Theory U save the business world?

Otto: First of all, I would like to say that I applaud and support the initiative of your book, which is to do something I have always aspired to do but was never able to really put my full attention on—in other words, to not only apply this new approach but also reflect on it and bring it into the critical consideration and reflection in a more academic way. The project is completing something that I started with many others: taking the beginning fruits of these efforts, many of which have been in the trenches, into a more deliberate and reflected stage of knowledge creation. I think the first time that I presented Theory U to an academic audience was at the Academy of Management meeting back in 1999. It took more than a decade to move from that beginning to a refined methodology that has been tested in a variety of systems, sectors, and cultures and currently has enough data points to draw conclusions from.

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