Dr Viktor Dorfler

Senior Lecturer

Management Science


Personal statement

I am a scholar, consultant, teacher, and speaker; my book What Every CEO Should Know About AI has been published by the Cambridge University Press in 2022.  My scholarly research focuses on talent, creativity, intuition, and the grandmaster-apprentice relationship.  I conducted in-depth open-ended interviews with 20 top scientists, including 17 Nobel Laureates and two Eckert-Mauchly Award winners, in order to understand the thinking of scientists at the highest level of mastery.  As a practitioner, 1999-2004 I spearheaded the development of AI software, a knowledge-based expert system shell, compared various AI solutions, and explored the validity of AI.  In my consultancy work, I advise companies on AI implementation to support complex decisions through modelling expert knowledge and on fostering grandmaster-apprentice relationships to improve organizational learning.  I have been appointed member of the British Standard Institution's Artificial Intelligence Committee (BSI ART/001).

I am Associate Professor of AI Strategy at the Department of Management Science, University of Strathclyde Business School, UK.  I hold two Visiting Professor appointments; one at the Management Department, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia since 2009, and at the Doctoral School of Regional and Business Administration Sciences, Széchenyi University, Győr, Hungary since 2021.

My paper ‘Thinking together: What makes Communities of Practice work?’ became an instant classic, and is continuously one of the most read papers in Human Relations.  Another paper ‘Understanding intuition: The case for two forms of intuition’ is one of the most read articles in Management Learning.  To date, I have written 30+ journal papers, three authored books, 15 book chapters, and 100+ conference papers, and recently co-edited the Handbook of Research Methods on Creativity.  I serve on the editorial boards of Management Learning and of Academy of Management Learning & Education.

Over the two and half years before the pandemic, I delivered 20 keynote and public talks on Human Mind and AI in New York, London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Lausanne, Birmingham, and Budapest, as well as a TEDx talk.  My talk at the BSI Conference in London in 2020 is available from my YouTube channel.  Based on my 20+ years of research, consultancy and teaching, I argue that in the areas requiring original thinking, extraordinary achievements will come from smart people being supported by smart technology.



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Area of Expertise

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 transpersonal aspects of knowledge and knowing and also worked with various organisations on making better use of what they know.  I can primarily help organisations in fostering their talents, including grandmaster-apprentice relationships.  Related further topics include creativity and intuition at a personal level and Communities of Practice (CoPs) at the transpersonal level.  These topics have strong links to the following topics on supporting these knowing processes with AI.

Artificial Intelligence

My research has served as a basis for developing AI software, a knowledge-based expert system (KBS); in harmony with the above, the focus is on creating qualitative models of expert-level knowledge.  I was leading the development of AI software 1999-2004, and as knowledge engineer I used it to support knowledge workers in general and C-level decision makers 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.

Prize And Awards

Strathclyde Medal
Finalist for the Most Inspirational Paper of EURAM 2022
Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Award 2022
Tudor Rickards & Susan Moger Award for the best paper published in the Creativity & Innovation Management journal in 2021
Visting Professor

More prizes and awards

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Thinking together : what makes communities of practice work?
Pyrko Igor, Dörfler Viktor, Eden Colin
Human Relations Vol 70, pp. 389-409 (2017)
The role of intuition in the creative process of expert chefs
Stierand Marc, Dörfler Viktor
The Journal of Creative Behavior Vol 50, pp. 178–185 (2016)
Mashup content for passionate learners : bridge between formal and informal learning
Dörfler Viktor, Baracskai Zoltán, Velencei Jolán
Economics of Communication ICT DrivenDriven Sustainability (2015) (2015)
Creativity and innovation in haute cuisine : towards a systemic model
Stierand Marc, Dörfler Viktor, MacBryde Jillian
Creativity and Innovation Management Vol 23, pp. 15-28 (2014)
Understanding intuition : the case for two forms of intuition
Dörfler Viktor, Ackermann Fran
Management Learning Vol 43, pp. 545–564 (2012)
Performance measurement : challenges for tomorrow
Bititci Umit, Garengo Patrizia, Dörfler Viktor, Nudurupati Sai
International Journal of Management Reviews Vol 14, pp. 305–327 (2012)

More publications

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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 AI software, a knowledge-based expert system (KBS); resulting in new algorithms, software design, etc.  Conversely, I use AI 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
  • Personal intuition

Models of Personal Knowing Processes

  • Intuitive and integrated rationality
  • Personal learning
  • Personal creativity

Models of Trans-Personal Knowing Processes

  • Knowledge sharing
  • Master-apprentice relationship
  • Executive coaching

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Philosophy of AI

  • The future of AI
  • Validation in expert systems
  • Reductive reasoning in expert systems

Developing AI

  • Hybrid AI
  • Human + AI
  • 3D concept mapping: Doctus Knowledge Galaxy

Using AI

  • Coaching and kb-DSS
  • Knowledge engineering and facilitating
  • Modelling with Doctus KBS

Knowledge-based Strategizing

Managing innovation and knowledge

  • Knowledge management
  • Innovation management
  • Gamification

Knowledge-based decision making

  • Personal decisions
  • Communities and practice
  • Performance and quality

Research Philosophy and Methods

Philosophical approaches and frameworks

  • Process philosophy
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Investigating the extraordinary

Methodological approaches and frameworks

  • Reflection and reflexivity
  • Against methods
  • Generalizability through iterative learning

Applied Research Methods

  • Insider Explanatory Phenomenology
  • Intuitive Cyclic Phenomenology
  • Cognitive and causal mapping


Philosophy and Methods of Teaching and Learning

  • Online teaching and learning
  • Grandmaster-apprentice relationship
  • Post-experiential education


Professional Activities

The Principle of Subsidiarity from a Transdisciplinary Perspective
Keynote/plenary speaker
Understanding Modern Business and Organisations - 3rd run
Academy of Management (External organisation)
Janders Dean Legal Knowledge Management & Innovation Forum
Keynote/plenary speaker
ECEL 2013: 12th European Conference on E-Learning
Keynote/plenary speaker
14th IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Infocommunications, 2023
Keynote/plenary speaker

More professional activities


Grandmaster Project 1
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.
01-Jan-2009 - 30-Jan-2015
Strategizing creativity in the age of AI: A qualitative exploration
Dorfler, Viktor (Principal Investigator)
This project is part of a sabbatical work undertaken in Hungary with the support of the Senior Fellowship Grant awarded by the Corvinus University of Budapest, Corvinus Institute for Advanced Studies, Hungary, The amount of the funding is €20,540.

Project 1: AI Strategy and Strategic AI. Conceptual work about bringing AI into the mainstream strategy, adopting a process view.

Project 2: Exploring experiences of AI implementation.

Project 3: The Michelin-drive – participant ethnography. An exploratory study of restaurants that have been recently awarded a new Michelin star; trying to understand the strategizing of creativity in these haute cuisine restaurants.
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2023
ISAIA-A: Increasing SME access to intangible asset audits
Dorfler, Viktor (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2024
Hydrogen Accelerator
Coffele, Federico (Principal Investigator) Burt, Graeme (Co-investigator) Dorfler, Viktor (Co-investigator) Harrington, Susan (Co-investigator)
SE Grant Administered by St Andrews University - Match funding provided through RKES 211195
04-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2023
Questionnaire Processing with Artificial Intelligence
Dorfler, Viktor (Principal Investigator)
07-Jan-2020 - 09-Jan-2020
Threshold Concepts across Knowledge Levels – Insights from How These Occur within Autistic People
Dorfler, Viktor (Principal Investigator) Harrington, Susan (Post Grad Student) Akartunali, Kerem (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2022

More projects

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Dr Viktor Dorfler
Senior Lecturer
Management Science

Email: viktor.dorfler@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 4540