Michael B. Elmes, Ph.D.

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Michael B. Elmes, Ph.D.


Work Address
Professor of Management
Department of Management
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts 01609
Ph. (508) 831-5182
Email: mbelmes@wpi.edu

Home Address
138 Bailey Road
Holden, MA 01520
Ph. (508) 829-6004

Educational Background

  • B.S., Union College, 1975
  • M.S., Colgate University, 1979
  • Ph.D., Syracuse University, 1989

Career Focus
Research Interests: Place-based perspective on leadership and organizations; Organizational resilience; Resistance and power in organizations (in particular, to information technology implementation); Social issues related to biotechnology; Learning (in technology-intensive settings, in high-risk ventures, and in the classroom); Intergroup relations and diversity management; Narrative theory and its application to strategy and organizational behavior and change.

Teaching Competencies:
Organization Behavior and Theory; Social Issues in Management; Leadership and Leadership Ethics; Change Leadership; Group and Intergroup Dynamics.


Research Summary
Most recently, I have started to look at community gardens across cultures to better understand leadership and governance of the commons from a place-based perspective. Other scholarly work has drawn on critical, critical realist, narrative, aesthetic, and communications perspectives to investigate IT implementation as it pertains to paradox and organizational change, forms of resistance in organizations, the May ’96 Everest climbing disaster, mentoring in organizations, and the hegemony of “pragmatism” in environmental management discourse. I have also written on strategy as narrative, diversity management, resistance to management training, the historical origins of empowerment in religious and spiritual beliefs in the US, as well as the psychodynamics of group and intergroup behavior in organizations.

In 2005, I spent 6 months in New Zealand as a Fulbright Senior Scholar studying stakeholder views about biotechnology. Taking into account New Zealand’s unique natural history, I examined how competing constructions of “nature” and “place” in New Zealand informed by the attitudes, hopes, aspirations and concerns about the role of genetic engineering in New Zealand’s cultural, economic, and political future.

Research Grants

  • April 2001, National Science Foundation, Innovation and Organizational Change Program
    "The relationship of ERP implementation to organizational changes in control, task structure, and workarounds", with D. Strong and O.Volkoff, $299,987.
  • February 2000, Educational Development Center, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    "Developing a web-based course on virtual teams", $5,000.
  • 2000, Research Development Center, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    "Developing a process model of IT-driven second-order change: Three case studies of ERP implementation in a large engineering organization", with Diane Strong and Olga Volkoff, $5,860.
  • 1996, National Science Foundation
    "Innovation in Doctoral Engineering Programs" (J. O'Shaughnessy, W. Durgin, S. Johnson, R. Sisson and M. Elmes), $562,500.