Professor David J. Teece has received an honorary degree from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business in Alberta, Canada, in recognition of his work as “a great management thinker and a role model for research and leadership.”
In an acceptance speech at the June 12 commencement ceremony, Teece, the Thomas W. Tusher Professor in Global Business, urged Haskayne graduates to question the status quo, citing the accomplishments of leaders as diverse as Alexander Graham Bell to Apple’s Steve Jobs.
“The beaten path in business and in life is comfortable but is fraught with mediocrity,” said Teece, who holds the Tusher Chair in Global Business at Haas. “If you stay on the well-traveled road, you will work hard to stand still. You will earn a good living because you are a University of Calgary graduate, but it will be a hard fought career, and you won’t contribute as much to society and yourself and your family as otherwise might be the case.”
This was the sixth honorary doctorate for Teece, who is also director of the recently launched Tusher Center for the Management of Intellectual Capital at Haas, and chairman and cofounder in 2010 of the Emeryville, Ca.-based Berkeley Research Group.
The June convocation ceremony adhered to the Scottish tradition, featuring bagpipes and an orator, who read aloud dramatically while introducing dignitaries throughout the ceremony.
The orator said, “in developing single-handedly the ‘dynamic capabilities’ model in strategic management, David Teece transformed the conceptual landscape of this field of inquiry, and opened vistas of illuminating possibility in strategic management studies. His breakthrough reconceptualization of innovation and technological change, and of strategic foresight and agility in the management of organizations, have engaged impressive numbers of colleagues and followers, and accrued citations and other indices of academic merit on an extraordinary scale.”
Teece’s approach to research is unconventional and multidisciplinary — melding strategy, organizational theory, and cognitive psychology. His research spans from the theory of the firm and strategic management to the economics of technological change to knowledge management, technology transfer, and antitrust economics and innovation.
“I tend to choose the most enigmatic of subject matter,” says Teece, who has been named one of the 10 most cited scholars worldwide in economics and business. “I draw on everything that my colleagues at Haas cover and I try to make sense of it. I try to find the most challenging problems I can think of and pull the pieces together to answer fundamental questions.”
Teece holds a PhD in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, where one of his mentors was Nobel Laureate Prof. Emeritus Oliver Williamson, whom Teece was instrumental in attracting to Haas. Teece joined Haas in 1982 and teaches MBA and PhD-level courses on competitive strategy and the management of technology.