Dr Viktor Dorfler

Senior Lecturer

Management Science

Personal statement

I am a Senior Lecturer in Information & Knowledge Management and I also hold a Visiting Professor position at the Business School of Zagreb University.  Prior to joining Strathclyde Business School, I worked as a lecturer in Hungarian universities and I have also worked as an independent software development consultant.

In my teaching the emphasis is on the knowledge worker at the centre of the learning organisation.  As the Director of the Management Development Programme (MDP) 2010-2013, I have conducted a full redesign of this three-year-long undergraduate course and lead the initial stage of the implementation.  Recently I have developed and delivered my second Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled 'Understanding Information & Technology Today'.  My first MOOC, titled ‘Understanding modern Business & Organisations’ is, I believe, the first business school MOOC delivered in the UK.  In the four runs so far, the course has attracted nearly 30,000 participants.

My research is focused on two interrelated areas: the first covers modelling personal knowledge, learning and cognition in organizational context; the second covers knowledge-based expert systems, in particular the Doctus KBS.  Having developed a number of conceptual models of personal knowledge, my most recent research on creativity and intuition has seen me interview 20 world-renowned experts, including 17 Nobel Laureates.  My research has been published in Human Relations, Management Learning, International Journal of Management Reviews, Knowledge Management Research, Practice, Creativity and Innovation Management, and The Journal of Creative Behavior amongst others.  I serve on the International Editorial Board of Management Learning.

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Has expertise in:

    My research, teaching and knowledge exchange activities are intertwined.  In my teaching I use my research results as well as illustrative examples from my consultancy, my consultancy is informed by my research and also provides data as well as new ideas for further research and also on how to teach particular topics, and so forth in cycles.  In this sense my expertise can be divided into two main areas:

    Knowledge and Knowing

    I have done a great deal of research into the personal as well as trans-personal aspects of knowledge and knowing and also worked with various organisations on making better use of what they know.  The particular topics include creativity and intuition at personal level, and my focus at the trans-personal level is on Communities of Practice (CoPs).  These topics have strong links to the following topics on supporting these knowing processes with IS/ICT.

    Knowledge-Based Expert Systems and Knowledge Engineering

    My research has served as basis for developing the Doctus KBS; in harmony with the above, the focus is on creating qualitative models of expert-level knowledge.  I was leading the development of the software for many years, and as knowledge engineer I used it for supporting knowledge workers in general and decision takers in particular in a wide range of decision situations, including outsourcing, product launch, tendering (both applying for tenders as well as evaluating applications), performance evaluation for knowledge workers, medical diagnosis, R&D decisions, and credit risk evaluation.

Prizes and awards

Best Reviewer BAM2017 Research Methodology SIG
Outstanding Reviewer AoM 2017 MED division
Outstanding Reviewer AoM 2017 MOC division
Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Award 2017
Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Award 2016
Best Reviewer BAM2015 Research Methodology SIG

more prizes and awards


Extraordinary : reflections on sample representativeness
Dörfler Viktor, Stierand Marc
The Palgrave Handbook of Social Creativity Research (2019) (2019)
Intellectual quietness : our struggles with researching creativity as a process
Dörfler Viktor, Stierand Marc, Chia Robert
BAM 2018: 32nd Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management (2018)
Using causal mapping in the analysis of semi-structured interviews
Pyrko Igor, Dörfler Viktor
78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (2018)
Understanding indwelling through studying intuitions of Nobel laureates and top chefs
Dörfler Viktor, Stierand Marc
78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (2018)
Gamifying knowledge sharing : networks, communities, and emotions
Shpakova Agnessa, Dörfler Viktor, Pyrko Igor
34th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium (2018)
Educating for misbehaviour in a well-behaved world : Reflective dialogue on two years' experience of the Transdisciplinary Doctoral School
Baracskai Zoltán, Dörfler Viktor
2018 ATLAS Transdisciplinary-Transnational-Transcultural (T3) International Conference (2018)

more publications


Knowledge & Innovation Management (UG, MOOC)

I have recently developed a new knowledge and innovation management course organised around four themes: the structure of personal knowledge, the processes of personal knowing, the organisational aspects of knowledge management, and innovation in organisations.  This topic also served as the starting point for developing my first MOOC ‘Understanding Modern Business & Organisations’.

Information & Technology Management (UG, MSc, MBA, MOOC)

Teaching information systems from a managerial perspective in organisational context, my focus in Information Management is on the human-computer connection; i.e. what should be computerised and what left to humans.  The covered technologies range from databases through expert systems, corporate portals and social media and collaboration tools to smart technologies and artificial intelligence.  The most recent development of this topic is embodied in my second MOOC ‘Understanding Information & Technology Today’.

Making Strategy (MBA)

This class originally developed by Prof Colin Eden at Strathclyde, focuses on the process of strategy making using causal maps as transitional objects.  The process is formalised, governed by procedural justice and procedural rationality.  In this class ‘strategy’ is about agreeing where to focus energy, cash, effort, and emotion.  Making Strategy is rooted in the personal construct theory, the resource-based view, competence-based management, emergent strategising, and solving messy problems.

Research Philosophy (doctoral level)

This is a compulsory module for all the research students at the University of Strathclyde Business School. A 5-day intensive classroom-based course is followed by a prolonged online collaborative learning in a virtual learning environment. I encourage students to develop their philosophical stance through independent thinking rather than finding their boxes.

Research interests

My ambitious aim is to develop a dynamic model and possibly theory of cognition.  I have developed, with my collaborators, a model of knowledge levels which serves as a conceptual framework for the empirical investigation into the highest ‘grandmaster’ level of knowledge.  To this end I conducted 20 in-depth unstructured interviews with grandmasters (17 with Nobel Laureates).

My research in knowledge modelling underlies the development of the Doctus knowledge-based expert system (KBS); resulting in new algorithms, software design, etc.  Conversely, I use Doctus as a modelling tool in various other research topics.  The process of knowledge engineering is also a research topic on its own right.

Towards a Dynamic Theory of Knowledge

Models of Personal Knowledge

  • Types of personal knowledge
  • Levels of personal knowledge
  • Intuition, creativity and cognition

Models of Personal Knowing Processes

  • Intuitive and integrated rationality
  • Learning willingness, capability, and attention
  • Processes of knowledge increase

Models of Trans-Personal Knowing Processes

  • Knowledge sharing and creation
  • Master-apprentice relationship
  • Executive coaching

Knowledge-Based Expert Systems and other Intelligent Applications

Developing Intelligent Systems

  • Reductive reasoning in Doctus KBS
  • Hybrid intelligent systems
  • Modelling with Doctus KBS

Developing Knowledge Visualisation Solutions

  • 3D concept mapping: Doctus Knowledge Galaxy
  • Knowledge-based decision support for today’s leaders
  • GUI design principles in software applications

Research Philosophy and Methods

Research Philosophy and Research Methods

  • Investigating the extraordinary
  • Structured thought experiments by knowledge-based systems
  • Against methods


Philosophy and Methods of Teaching and Learning

  • Online teaching and learning
  • Gurus, masters, and talented disciples
  • Post-experiential, post-MBA education

Professional activities

Academy of Management Learning and Education (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Human Relations (Journal)
Peer reviewer
European Management Review (Journal)
Peer reviewer
EURAM 2019: 19th Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management
Institute of Business Creativity at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (External organisation)
Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and the Human Intuition

more professional activities


Grandmaster Project
Dorfler, Viktor (Principal Investigator) Eden, Colin (Co-investigator)
This project explores the cognitive complexity of people at the highest level of knowledge. The background to the project is a conceptual model of knowledge levels which identifies the highest level of knowledge as 'Grandmaster' level. The underlying assumption of the project is that people who got awarded the highest prize in their respective fields, such as the Nobel Prize, achieved the highest level of knowledge in their discipline - they are grandmasters.

more projects