Professor Victor Callan
Professor Victor Callan

UQ Business School

View Professor Callan's current and complete profile on the UQ Business School website

Archived 2002 award citation:


Victor Callan is a Professor in the UQ Business School where his research focus is on organisational behaviour and in particular on aspects of organisational change, workplace communication, performance review, and job satisfaction. Much of his work focuses on intercultural and intergroup communications and behaviour.

His students describe him as a mentor, or even a coach, rather than a supervisor he is keen, they say, for his students to become known nationally and internationally for the quality and importance of their work. A recurrent theme in his supervision is the development of the students as 'researchers'. That is, how to publish, how to think like a researcher, how to give effective conference and seminar presentations, and how to build an academic profile.

Victor has successfully supervised to completion 25 research masters or PhD students, 17 of them as Principal Supervisor. He has passed the principal supervision of some others on to other, newer members of staff when the research or the learning styles offered a better fit. The majority of his students have moved into academic positions after completion of research higher degree studies. Two of the students are now Professors, 2 are Associate Professors, and 11 are Lecturers or Senior Lecturers. Others have moved into senior management roles. Three completed students have won postdoctoral awards and a recently-submitted PhD student has also received a Postdoc with the Harvard Business School. Currently Victor is involved with the supervision of 10 PhD students: 4 as the Principal Advisor.

The benefits of Victor's commitment to postgraduate excellence are not restricted to his own students. For 6 years (1995-2001), Victor was Head of the School of Management where with the support of staff and students he developed policies and procedures that have built a very strong and supportive research culture. The application of these policies and procedures has seen the School's research higher degree enrolments blossom to over 100 and the UQ Business School being ranked in 2002 in the Top 10 in the Asia-Pacific region.

While there's a collaborative partnership about much of Victor's work with students, there are also supervisory practices gleaned from his 'home disciplines' of management and psychology. From these home disciplines, come the values of mentoring, the principles of adult learning and the centrality of reflective activities. His supervisory record reflects a focus on outcomes, with the aim being to publish soon and often and to build networks. The evidence of this is in the outstanding career outcomes of his students and the 52 publications that have emerged from research collaborations with his students.

Victor's relationships with his students transcend the mentoring role and into the coaching function. He believes mentors perform the three roles of support, challenge and envision. The coaching role is more about actual performance management issues and helping students deal with behaviours that could derail their research.

The essence of Victor's Supervision is in the principles of adult learning and reflection. Adult learning is interactive, concentrating on current objectives, and based on a supportive and challenging learning partnership. For Victor, the research process is a highly reflective one, achieved through the asking of lots of questions in the context of a supportive and challenging supervisory relationship.

Because of Victor's successful track record of supervision, he receives many approaches to supervise their research higher degree. An essential first step of the application process Victor clarifies with the student, is the matching of student and supervisor expectations about the research topic, guiding theory and methodology, and overall expectations about the nature of the working relationship.

Two qualities in particular emerge from the references that Victor's students sent to the Selection Committee: he develops research independence in his students and a productive focus on quality academic publications. His supervision is sensitive to the particular needs and styles of individuals but it is always directed towards the timely and high quality outcome for that individual. 

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