Professor who developed theory of collaborative advantage retires

Professor Chris Huxham, known internationally for her research on collaborative working, is taking early retirement from the Department of Management after 26 years at Strathclyde University.

Currently head of the Department of Management, she joined the university's department of management science as a lecturer in 1984 from Aston University. She progressed to senior lecturer and in 1996 took up the post of Professor of Business Administration with the then Strathclyde Graduate Business School (now Department of Management).

Over the years she has held various responsibilities including the MBA director in the Graduate School of Business and Director of Research, a post which she held for four years from 1999.

Held in high esteem and regularly sought out by practitioners in management around the world for her work on collaboration, Professor Huxham has developed the theory of collaborative advantage for over 20 years, research which she has carried out with other academics, in particular with Dr Siv Vangen, formerly of Strathclyde.

A key publication - Managing to Collaborate - was first published in 2005, aimed at students, fellow academics and managers, and combining rigorous theory with practical examples.

Professor Huxham was also co-editor of the seminal work, 'Oxford Handbook of Inter-organizational Relations' which provides a structured overview of the field of inter-organisational relations.

Her research has focussed on developing a practical understanding of how to manage collaborative ventures between organisations, such as partnerships, alliances and networks, in order to achieve collaborative advantage. She has also pursued a very committed line in developing a form of action research which is academically very rigorous but at the same time produces output with immediate practical relevance. In the course of her research - which has seen her win three separate awards from the British Academy of Management (BAM) - she has worked as a facilitator, sounding board and advisor to policy makers, managers and participants in both the private and predominantly public sector such as the Scottish government and health sectors. For example, she was a key figure in the Community Planning Task Force of the Scottish Government, and was invited to share her expertise at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government conference in 2007 as well as an invited talk at the office of the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet.

She has played a key role in developing inter-organisational relations research by initiating the MOPAN (Multi-Organisational Partnerships, Alliances and Networks) conference which has just held its 17th annual conference. She also initiated the BAM Special Interest Group in inter-organisational relations which has been operating for the past 11 years.

Professor Huxham is a Fellow of and was President of the British Academy of Management last year. She has had a long-running and involved role with BAM, and has been central to its proceeding to a fully-fledged professionalised society, with a proper infrastructure, dedicated offices and regular training programmes.

She has also been a senior fellow of the Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM) and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, the latter conferred just last year, as well as a member of the ESRC's Training and Development Board for the past three years. Here her main area was in doctoral training and the development of research disciplines, specifically business and management research, and a new scheme for doctoral training centres - Strathclyde itself is involved in a bid led by Edinburgh University for a doctoral training centre.

Professor Huxham has also been involved in leading the development of classes now known as SCIP (Strategic Consultancy in Practice) formerly known as Integrative Cases and SIE.

Asked for her thoughts on her imminent early retirement, Professor Huxham said, "As a professor of management, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities to manage that I have been given at Strathclyde, such as my head of MBA and Head of Department roles. These have given me the opportunity to work at the boundary between theory and practice with MBA students and I have really enjoyed leading the managing class from when it began in its current form.

"I've enjoyed my time and research here at Strathclyde and appreciate the base that Strathclyde has given me to do research that is both of practical value and academically rigorous."

Professor Huxham's retirement will be marked with a reception on July 29 at the Department of Management.