Vern Glaser, PhD, MBA, BA

Associate Professor, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, Eric Geddes Professor of Business, Alberta School of Business - Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management

Contact

Associate Professor, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, Eric Geddes Professor of Business, Alberta School of Business - Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management
Phone
(780) 248-1788
Address
3-20J Business Building
11203 Saskatchewan Drive NW
EdmontonAB
T6G 2R6

Overview

About

Prior to entering academia, I gained experience in sales, customer service, operations management, business development, merger integration, and management consulting. In 2005, I founded Red Hill Consulting Group, Inc., a niche consulting firm which provided management consulting services for medium-sized businesses in a variety of industries. Products and services offered by Red Hill include the Red Hill Enterprise Strategic Insight System, Organizational Assessments and Restructurings, Process Improvement Initiatives, Strategic Planning, and Customized Financial Modeling. Additionally, I co-founded Red Hill Technology Solutions, a joint venture software company that utilizes dashboarding technology and mobile devices to provide real-time Business Intelligence solutions for the construction materials industry.

In addition to consulting experience, I have worked in the areas of finance, operations, sales, customer service, and maintenance. I have held positions including being the Controller for Southdown, Inc.'s concrete and aggregates group and the Production Manager for Cemex, Inc.'s Southern California ready-mixed concrete operations. Previously, I worked as a business analyst for ARCO Products Company's Los Angeles Refinery.

I am a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (BA, Economics), Duke University's Fuqua School of Business (MBA), and the University of Southern California (PhD). My wife and I currently live with our three boys in Edmonton, Alberta.


Research

I study the question, How do organizations strategically change practices and culture? Most of my research involves understanding how organizations use algorithms, arguments, and analogies to change routines and to create new capabilities.

Theoretical topics of interest include:

  • Strategic Management
  • Organization Theory
  • Culture and Social Cognition
  • Institutional Logics
  • Strategy-as-Practice
  • Family Business
  • Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Algorithms and Analytics
  • Routines and Capabilities
  • Framing, Arguments, and Analogies
  • Performativity and Rationality
  • Strategic Change

I primarily use qualitative research methods, and have conducted studies in the predictive analytics and online display advertising industries. I have also conducted ethnographic work with an entrepreneurial start-up in the analytics industry.


Teaching

I have been teaching several classes at the University of Alberta. Classes in the MBA and BCom programs include:

DATA ANALYSIS AND DECISION-MAKING

This class will help students understand how to use data and algorithms to generate organizational value. Students will not turn into a quantitative analyst or data scientist but rather learn how to be an informed consumer of analytics – more specifically to use data to frame decisions, ask effective questions about the data presented to you, understand and critique the methods by which data has been collected and organized, use data to improve organizational outcomes, and advocate for others in your organization to do the same.

AN EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE ON ANALYTICS

This course will help students understand how to use data and algorithms to generate organizational value. Students will learn about the two major perspectives on analytics: (1) a positive perspective that highlights the potential for organizations to use analytics, data, and artificial intelligence to generate extreme value, and (2) a negative perspective that highlights the ways that analytics, data, and artificial intelligence can lead to abuses of power and undermine ethics. After learning about these two perspectives, students will discover how organizations can leverage analytical tools and techniques to enhance organizational decision-making through the application of a novel conceptual framework, The Biography of an Algorithm, in a variety of empirical contexts including the security industry, the ready mix concrete industry, and the display advertising industry.

STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT

This course introduces the concepts, tools, and first principles of strategy formation and competitive analysis. It is concerned with managerial decisions and actions that materially affect the success and survival of business enterprises. The course focuses on the information, analyses, organizational processes, skills, and business judgment managers must use to design strategies, position their business and assets, and define firm boundaries. The goal: to learn how to maximize long-term profits or other strategic objectives in the face of uncertainty and competition.

STRATEGIC CONSULTING FOR FAMILY BUSINESS

This course introduces the concepts, tools, and first principles of advising family businesses. It is concerned with how professional service advisors help family businesses make managerial decisions and actions that materially affect the success and survival of their business enterprises. The course focuses on the information, analyses, organizational processes, skills, and business judgments advisors to family businesses are expected to understand and apply. 

EUROPEAN STUDY TOUR: Competitive Dynamics and Cultural Differences - Family Business and Entrepreneurship in European Governance Systems

This course stresses the important role of entrepreneurship and family business in different corporate governance systems throughout the world. The field trip focuses on Europe and examines Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. There are four objectives: (1) to become familiar with the diversity and relevance of family business and entrepreneurship in different governance systems, with focus on Europe; (2) to understand governance differences within Europe that impact family businesses and entrepreneurship; (3) to provide face-to-face interactions with key business executives and scholars regarding issues affecting entrepreneurship and family businesses in Europe; and (4) to understand European culture, the political and economic dynamics of that continent, and its role in the global economy.

Classes I teach or have taught in the PhD program include:

  • Seminar in Strategic Management,
  • Technology and Sociomateriality in Organizations,
  • Quantitative Methods II: Networks, Topic Modeling, and QCA, and
  • Foundations of Sociological Theory.

Courses

SEM 427 - Strategic Consulting for Family Businesses

In this course, students will examine some of the most salient issues facing family businesses from a consulting perspective. Case studies and recent research will be used to help students learn how consultants and other advisors can address fundamental challenges facing family businesses in practice (e.g., strategic repositioning, process improvement, business valuation, governance and succession issues, and complex family dynamics). The course is case-based and highly interactive, providing students with an opportunity to both learn consulting skills and understand the unique dynamics associated with family businesses.

Fall Term 2022

SEM 502 - Organization Strategy/Managing Organizations

The first part of this course examines the formation of business strategy. It recognizes the complexities and messiness of strategy formation and explores how organizations actually develop strategies. The second part examines the evolution, determinants, and relevance of alternative ways of organizing. Contemporary ideas (e.g. re-engineering, the learning organization, virtual organizations) are critically reviewed. Not open to students who have completed SEM 610. Prerequisite: SEM 500.

Fall Term 2022

SEM 627 - Strategic Consulting for Family Businesses

In this course students will examine some of the most salient issues facing family businesses from a consulting perspective. Case studies and recent research will be used to help students learn how consultants and other advisors can address fundamental challenges facing family businesses in practice (e.g., strategic repositioning, process improvement, business valuation, governance and succession issues, and complex family dynamics). The course is case-based and highly interactive, providing students with an opportunity to both learn consulting skills and understand the unique dynamics associated with family businesses.

Fall Term 2022

SEM 703 - Seminar in Strategic Management

This course examines the current state of knowledge in strategic management. Topics may include the sources of competitive advantage, the role of industry evolution and technology, the organization of top management, and managerial decision-making and cognition. The course introduces students to alternative theoretical perspectives and available empirical evidence related to these topics. Prerequisite: Registration in Business PhD Program or written permission of instructor. Approval of the Business PhD Program Director is also required for non-PhD students. Not to be taken by students with credit in ORG A 703.

Fall Term 2022

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