Dr Viktor Dorfler


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 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.

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 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.

Since 2017, I delivered 203 keynote and public talks on AI and the Human Mind 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

HICSS-57 Best paper award
Tudor Rickards & Susan Moger Award for the best paper published in the Creativity & Innovation Management journal in 2021
Finalist for the Most Inspirational Paper of EURAM 2022
Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Award 2022
Visting Professor

More prizes and awards

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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’.

Artificial Intelligence (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.

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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

IEEE Emerging Technology Reliability Roundtable 2023
Keynote/plenary speaker
14th IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Infocommunications, 2023
Keynote/plenary speaker
Chartered Banker Annual Banking Conference 2023
Keynote/plenary speaker
G.R.I.D. Forum 2023
Keynote/plenary speaker
11th International OFEL Conference on Governance, Management and Entrepreneurship
Keynote/plenary speaker
Demystifying AI: When the computer says no, challenge it

More professional activities


ISAIA-A: Increasing SME access to intangible asset audits
Dorfler, Viktor (Principal Investigator)
The purpose of this project is to develop an AI-enabled platform for SMEs to help conduct evaluation of their intangible assets.
01-Jan-2023 - 30-Jan-2024
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 €35,420 .

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 - 30-Jan-2024
AI with Impact: A guide for CEOs
Dorfler, Viktor (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 28-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
Management Science

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