Dr Viktor Dorfler

Senior Lecturer

Management Science

Personal statement

I am a Senior Lecturer in Information & Knowledge Management at the Department of Management Science, University of Strathclyde Business School, UK. My research is focused on personal and transpersonal knowledge, learning, and Artificial Intelligence, with an emphasis on knowledge-based expert systems, intuition and creativity. In research and teaching, I synthesize my backgrounds in philosophy and engineering to make sense of human expertise and use of AI in organizational context. I have been appointed member of the British Standard Institutions Artificial Intelligence Committee (BSI ART/001).

In a recent project, I conducted in-depth open-ended interviews with 20 expert scientists, including 17 Nobel Laureates and 2 Eckert-Mauchly Award winners, in order to understand the thinking and learning of those at the highest level of expertise.

1998-2004 I was spearheading the development of an AI software called Doctus, one of the best knowledge-based expert system shells in the world. In my research on knowledge modelling, I create new algorithms, compare various AI solutions, and explore the validity of AI. This research serves as a foundation for the development of the Doctus software. In my consultancy work as a knowledge engineer for the banking, healthcare, telecommunications industries and the government sector, I use Doctus to support complex decisions through modelling expert knowledge.

My paper ‘Thinking together: What makes Communities of Practice work?’ became an instant classic, and is continuously one of the most read and most cited 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 20+ journal papers, two books, 9 book chapters, and about 100 conference papers and serve on the editorial board of Management Learning.

Over the last year I delivered a series of talks on Human Mind vs. AI in New York, London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Lausanne, and Birmingham, culminating in a TEDx talk. This year, I started a second series of talks titled Can AI Be Taught to Think? 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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Expertise

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.

    Artificial Intelligence

    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
Recipient
6/9/2017
Outstanding Reviewer AoM 2017 MED division
Recipient
7/8/2017
Outstanding Reviewer AoM 2017 MOC division
Recipient
6/8/2017
Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Award 2017
Recipient
17/5/2017
Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Award 2016
Recipient
18/5/2016
Best Reviewer BAM2015 Research Methodology SIG
Recipient
8/9/2015

more prizes and awards

Publications

Gamifying innovation and innovating through gamification
Shpakova Agnessa, Dörfler Viktor, MacBryde Jillian
Subsistence Entrepreneurship (2019) (2019)
Extraordinary : reflections on sample representativeness
Dörfler Viktor, Stierand Marc
The Palgrave Handbook of Social Creativity Research (2019) (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95498-1_36
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)
Understanding indwelling through studying intuitions of Nobel laureates and top chefs
Dörfler Viktor, Stierand Marc
78th Annual Meeting of the 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)
https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.14348abstract
Gamifying knowledge sharing : networks, communities, and emotions
Shpakova Agnessa, Dörfler Viktor, Pyrko Igor
34th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium (2018)

more publications

Teaching

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

Teaching-Learning-Education

Philosophy and Methods of Teaching and Learning

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

Professional activities

British Standards Institute (External organisation)
Member
2019
EURAM 2019: 19th Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management
Chair
6/2018
Institute of Business Creativity at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (External organisation)
Member
1/4/2018
Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind
Speaker
17/2/2018
Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and the Human Intuition
Speaker
5/2/2018
Understanding Modern Business and Organisations - 5th run
Organiser
22/1/2018

more professional activities

Projects

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.
01-Jan-2009

more projects