Ivey Business School, Western University
“Martha was an absolute delight to learn from. Her course (Leading People & Organizations) was extremely useful, with many real-life examples from her arsenal of experiences. Hands-on opportunities, such as hiring actors to role-play difficult scenarios with students, was also a brilliant strategy of hers to help us learn effectively. She is also a deeply caring professor who will always make time (despite an extremely busy schedule) to mentor her students. I am very fortunate to have her as my professor.” – JingJing Yang, student
Martha Maznevski, 59, is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Ivey Business School, Western University, in Canada where she’s taught since 2016. She currently teaches Organizational Behaviour, and Managing People.
She has a PhD in Organizational Behaviour and a BA in Anthropology from Western University.
Dr. Maznevski is an expert in global teams, global leadership, culture and identity, and empowering individual differences and publishes widely in these areas. Her research has been published in leading journals including Journal of International Business Studies and Strategic Management Journal. She also publishes the popular textbook International Management Behavior, now in its 7th edition, with Ivey professors emeriti H. Lane and J. DiStefano.
LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I watched my MBA professors draw out unique knowledge and perspectives from all the people in the room and bring it together to create more meaning. It was a very compelling process and I wanted to do that too.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I research complex teams – diverse teams, distributed teams, global teams – and the kind of leadership it takes to lead these teams well. The most significant discovery is that diversity provides potential for great outcomes, but diverse teams so often don’t realize the potential. Getting those great outcomes depends entirely on whether and how the leader and team engage the diversity.
If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… A race car driver or a conservation biologist.
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I try to be very centred and present in the students’ own learning journeys, helping them discover and challenging them to be at their best in their own definition of themselves.
One word that describes my first time teaching: Magical
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: How much fun it is to be exposed to such a huge variety of people, organizations, industries, and cultures. But maybe it was more fun to discover that for myself!
Professor I most admire and why: So many I can’t even start naming them. I particularly admire professors who keep innovating and reinventing themselves throughout their careers – developing new courses, learning to teach in new languages, engaging with new communities of students in new ways.
TEACHING BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Their energy and motivation for wanting to apply what they learn, to make things better.
What is most challenging? Helping them broaden their view of application to include more than the immediate or short-term.
In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Human. I really appreciate that everyone is coming from their own place and on their own journey.
In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: I was going to say non-human or alien, but I think that sounds kind of interesting too. So I will just say “N/A”.
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair and trying to provide feedback that helps them grow.
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies? Track driving, bread-baking, sewing, bird-watching, exploring cultures (when we can travel). All my hobbies connect me with the world in different ways.
How will you spend your summer? Writing a theory paper on complex teams, and hopefully finding time for my hobbies.
Favorite place(s) to vacation: Home, so I can connect with my hobbies. I travel a lot for work (when we can) and I appreciate that, so I tend not to travel for vacation.
Favorite book(s): Hard core science fiction. Classics like Asimov’s Foundation series, cyber-punk like Gibson’s Neuromancer and Stephenson’s Snow Crash and the literature that evolved from them, speculative fiction like Jemison’s Broken Earth series and Liu’s Three Body Problem series. I enjoy exploring the creativity of alternative societies within the constraints of possibilities shaped by our knowledge of science.
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Anything in the Star Wars or Star Trek universes. But I’m much more passionate about what I read than what I watch.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I’m pretty eclectic. I’m always interested in knowing what other people like listening to.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Connections with other parts of the university and with society, so students and professors are constantly reminded of how business is a catalyst for society.
In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Empowering individuals and collaboration to unlock the potential in us all and solve our greatest challenges.
I’m grateful for… Being part of a learning community that keeps striving to make things better.
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