Sharon O'Sullivan

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Sharon O'Sullivan
Associate Professor, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa

Room: DMS5125
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 4436
Work E-mail: sosullivan@telfer.uOttawa.ca

Biography

Sharon L. O'Sullivan specializes in cross-cultural communication for knowledge exchange and expatriate adjustment, power and diversity/inclusion issues in formal training and career development, and situated learning alliances for environmental change. Over the course of her career, she has collaborated with a variety of tri-sector organizations, including Canadian Feed the Children, Oxfam Canada, CARE Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, and the Government of Canada's Diversity and Inclusion Joint Union-Management task force.

Sharon has published in the Journal of International Business StudiesHuman Relations, Human Resource ManagementJournal of ManagementJournal of World BusinessInternational Business Review, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, and the European Management Journal, among other venues. Her work has received "best reviewer" and "best paper" distinctions at a number of conferences, including the Academy of Management and the European Academy of Management. She has been certified as a human resource leader (CHRL) by the Human Resource Professionals Association of Ontario, and as a Cultural Intelligence facilitator (CQ-Certified, Advanced) by the Cultural Intelligence Center of East Lansing, Michigan. She holds a cross-appointment with the School of International Development and Global Studies and is affiliated with the University of Ottawa's Institute of the Environment.

Research

Professor O’Sullivan is currently developing a program of research related to organizational and individual learning for environmental sustainability. Her methodological approach is qualitative.

Type of Student Support She Seeks

She looks for someone who is interested in taking a qualitative methodological approach to the topic of how organizational and individual learning can contribute to environmental sustainability. 

Research Question Examples a Student She Supervises Could Work On

  1. What are the differences between strategic learning alliances and Communities of Practice (CoPs) , if any? Which should private sector organization use to facilitate sustainable innovation within their organization? Which should non-profit industry associations use if they want to hasten the greening of their entire economic sector?
  2. Sustainable innovation also typically requires close collaboration with “customer” organizations via a process called “new business development”.   Given Canada’s relatively small market, much of the growth in our Cleantech sector has come from international markets. How do cultural differences complicate the new business development process, and how can those challenges be mitigated?
  3. What are the learning challenges posed by cross-sector (e.g., private sector-INGO) alliances for environmental sustainability? (e.g., What risks arise for environmental INGOs when they partner with “brown” private-sector firms, and how can they be managed to facilitate cross-organizational knowledge exchange?)
  4. Working with diverse professions toward the objective of sustainable innovation requires “adaptive expertise”, “tolerance for ambiguity”, & creativity because problems are often multidisciplinary, nonroutine, and no one can be an expert in all fields.  Are adaptive expertise and tolerance for ambiguity qualities that can be inculcated through training and development programs? If so, how?  Similarly, can creativity be taught?  And if so, then how? And finally, what role might career identity play in these processes?
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