Five minutes with Professor Rob Morgan
Professor Morgan’s passion is ideas—developing, sharing, challenging, improving, and critically examining them. He has been a Full Professor for over twenty years and specialises at the nexus between strategic management and marketing with research expertise in product and process innovation.
Rob holds the Sir Julian Hodge Chair and serves as Professor of Marketing and Strategy in the Marketing and Strategy Section at the School where he co-direct the Research, Innovation, and Engagement portfolio.
How did you end up at Cardiff Business School?
It’s my alma mater and so I left-returned, left-returned and left-returned. Having delivered classes, lectures and research insights on five continents, Cardiff is home. Colleagues, faculty and the partners we work with here sustain my curiosity, share my passion for challenging existing ideas and generating new ones, and are eager to develop themselves and their organisations. All this with a sense of groundedness, purpose and public value.
Why go to a university for executive training?
There is a marketplace for ideas but there is a lifecycle of ideas. Executive training is often about distributing standardized tools and techniques to the one-size fits all client. University-based executive training typically recognises that client challenges are unique and we bring to the discussion many tools, techniques, processes and frameworks but also deep insights from our research and constant learning.
In business schools we create knowledge through research but we also disseminate knowledge through our education and training programs. Our training therefore is resilient and is able often to precisely indicate what management inventions, strategies, decisions and actions work best in which settings. In our ExecEd work, we train managers to become good thinkers, so that in turn they become even better managers.
What are you working on currently?
I’m managing ten projects on the deck right now. I specialize in marketing and strategic management with particular expertise in business development and innovation. One of our projects addresses the question of why do some firms succeed in recessions and then excel in expansion periods by doing the strategic opposite to that of their competitors. It is run with colleagues here and at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. This counterfactual research is fascinating and is based on tracking nearly 2,000 U.S. corporations across a 20-year period.
Another project looks at how do successful businesses create their capabilities. We know a great deal about how to develop, switch and integrate capabilities of businesses but very little of how to seed and then propagate capabilities from inception. To build from scratch. We know that capabilities are more than just business strengths - they’re assets of the business that are novel, rare and valuable. Capabilities are known to be one of the most important drivers of strategic success so let’s find the solutions to how we can build them effectively. This project is with colleagues at the Kelley School of Business, University of Indiana.
What secret skills do you have?
I turned down becoming a pro golfer to stay on at school. Ohhh, am I glad now…!