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Indstillinger æresdoktorer 2014

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Gareth Morgan

Andrew Knoll

Alberto Ascherio

Herman Bruyninckx


Gareth Morgan

The dean of Humanities has set up the following committee for the assessment of Gareth Morgan as recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from University of Southern Denmark (SDU):

Associate professor Thomas Hestbæk Andersen

Professor Gitte Rasmussen

Associate professor Flemming Smedegaard (Chair)

This committee has made its assessment on the basis of the most important books and articles written, edited and/or co-authored by Gareth Morgan, out of his more than 60 books and articles written over his last 35 years as researcher; especially the following works:

  • Gibson Burrell and Gareth Morgan (1979) Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, London and Exeter: NH.Heinemann.
  • Gareth Morgan (ed.) (1983) Beyond Method: Strategies for Social Research, Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Gareth Morgan (1986/1995/2006)Images of Organization,Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Gareth Morgan. (1988) Riding the Waves of Change, San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
  • Gareth Morgan(1993)Imaginization: New Mindsets for Seeing, 01ganizing and Managing,
  • Newbury Park and San Francisco, CA: Sage Publications.


Gareth Morgan graduated from London School of Economics with a BSc in economics. He then worked as an accountant in the British public sector, becoming a Chartered Member of the Institute of Public Finance in 1968. From there he moved to the University of Texas at Austin, USA, graduating with an MA in Public Administration in 1970. This experience led to a change in his career in direction of organization science in the 1970s as a lecturer at the University of Lancaster, he published Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis with Gibson Burrell in 1979, received a Ph.D. in Organization studies in 1980, and continued his career as a writer, public speaker and management consultant.

In the 1980s Gareth Morgan first became a faculty member at the Pennsylvania State University School of Business, and moved later from there to York University in Toronto. In 1986 he published his most known book Images of Organization. In 1988 he was elected Life Fellow of the International Academy of Management in recognition of an outstanding international contribution to the management science, and in 1992 he was elected Distinguished Research Professor at York University. During the 1990s his book Images of Organization became a world-wide bestseller, translated into a lot of languages.

In the late 1990s Morgan turned his attention to reinventing the teaching of organization and management through the development and use of internet technologies. This led to the launch in 2000 of his company NewMindsets Inc and research and activities as an internet entrepreneur.

Furthermore Gareth Morgan has served on the editorial boards of several leading academic journals including Action Learning, Administration and Society, Organization, Journal of Management, Organization Studies and the Academy of Management Review.

The importance of Gareth Morgan's research

Gareth Morgan is first of all known as creator of the "organizational metaphor" concept and co­ author of the 1979 book Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, alongside Gibson Burrell, as well as the 1986 worldwide known Images of Organization.

Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis is today regarded as a classic text on organizational theory. Building on Thomas Kuhn's concept of paradigm, Morgan and Burell explores the hidden assumptions of social and organizational theory, offering a map-like representation of dozens of different schools of thought. The fundamental thesis is that different theories reflect very different implicit assumptions on the nature of social reality. The map constructed by Burrell and Morgan contrasts the assumptions of the functionalist, the interpretive", the radical humanist and the radical structuralist paradigms, showing how these assumptions influence our perceptions and the ways we understand organizations. Since its publication in 1979, it has been used by numerous scholars all over the world in a wide range of disciplines to challenge and shape fundamental theories and assumptions in their research.

In Beyond Method: Strategies for Social Research from 1983 Gareth Morgan built further on the framework offered in Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, contrasting the assumptions and approaches of fourteen different research methodologies. Morgan has in this book invited a range of collaborators who, at the time, were leading exponents of the different methodologies in order to outline their fundamental assumptions and how these different assumptions can be translated into pa1ticular methodological approaches. Morgan explores the similarities, differences and contradictory nature of the different approaches, leading him to his view of research as conversation which ought to be open to different voices. In this way he argues for an open and reflective social science capable of exploring the multiple and complex dimensions of social life.

In the 1980s, Gareth Morgan introduced 'Imaginization' and 'Metaphors' as new means of thinking about and understanding organizational life. "The use of metaphor implies a way of thinking and a way of seeing that pervade how we understand our world generally" as Morgan wrote (Morgan 2006: 4). In his magnum opus, Images of Organization -the first edition of which was published in 1986 - Morgan introduces the use of metaphors to understand and deal with organizational problems by describing the organization in eight disparate ways: as machines, as organisms, as brains, as cultures, as political systems, as psychic prisons, as flux and transformation, and as instruments of domination. Viewing an organization on the premises of each metaphor will offer specific insights and oversights, and thus Morgan acknowledges that the metaphors can be used individually or in combination to guide our understanding of organizations and organizational problem s. Images of Organization challenged and reshaped ideas about organization and management in the most fundamental way. This unique contribution to organizational theory is exemplified in the following excerpts from the 2006 edition of Images of Organization:

"When we approach metaphor in this 'way we see that our simple premise that all theory is metaphor has far-reaching consequences. We have to accept that any theory or perspective that we bring to the study of organization and management, while capable of creating valuable insights, is also incomplete, biased, and potentially misleading" (Morgan 2006: 5).

"Metaphor is inherently paradoxical. It can create powerful insights that also become distortions, as the way of seeing created through a metaphor becomes a way of not seeing" (Morgan 2006: 5).

"In recognizing theory as metaphor we quickly appreciate that no single theory will ever give us a perfect or all-purpose point of view. We realize that all challenge is to become skilled in the m1of using metaphor: to find fresh ways of seeing, understanding and shaping the situations that we want to organize and manage" (Morgan 2006: 5).

Riding the Waves of Change: Developing Managerial Competencies for a Turbulent World from 1988 is based on the findings of an action-learning project where senior executives explored the implications of key environmental trends for the future of their organizations. Core competencies discussed include reading the environment, managing proactively, sharing vision, empowering human resources, promoting creativity, learning and innovation, developing skills in remote management, harnessing the creative power of information technologies, managing complexity, and ambiguity and re-framing contexts.

Gareth Morgan's main aim in his research is to show how metaphor is central to our thinking about organization and management, as well as open new possibilities and support a way of thinking that is crncia1 for understanding, managing, and designing organizations in a changing world. He explores this further in the book Imaginization: New Mindsets for Seeing, Thinking and Managing from 1993. He introduces and describes his concept of "imaginization" and the interconnection between thinking and acting in organizational life. He argues that an understanding of the concept helps us find new ways of organizing, improves our abilities to see and understand situations in new ways, promotes the creation of shared understandings, helps personal empowerment and develops capacities for continuous self-organization. He shows how to put "out of the box" thinking into practice, and develop new ways of organizing that remain open, energized, and empowered in the face of constant change.

The special importance of Gareth Morgan for research and studies at SDU

Already in middle of the 1990s the first students at SDU made the acquaintance of Gareth Morgan and his Images of Organization, and during the last 20 years students in their thousands both at the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Business and Social Science - notably, students enrolled in the studies of International Business Communication - have studied the thoughts of Morgan and used his work to analyze and effech1ate organizational development in a wide range of different public and private organizations in Denmark. It is fair to say that in the past 20 years, no other body of theory has been used in so many projects and master theses, in the context of International Business Communication, as that of Morgan's Images of Organization.

Finally, following in Morgan's footsteps, students and researchers alike have worked rigorously with the development of new metaphors, e.g. organization as language, organization as history, organization as media, organization as literature and organization as religion. All of this underlines the timelessness and enduring relevance of Morgan's work, as well as his contribution to academic development in studies and research at SDU.


Morgan is known worldwide for his research and writings on management, social the01y and research methodology. Throughout bis career, Morgan has sought to integrate theory and practice, writing for both academic and practitioner audiences, and he has been a very strong advocate of action learning as a strategy for generating effective research. The common theme uniting his work is that of challenging assumptions - to help develop new ways of thinking in social research, organization and management theory and practice, and, by extension, in eve1yday life.

His contributions to organizational and management thinking have brought him many international awards, including election as Life Fellow of the International Academy of Management in recognition of a particularly outstanding contribution to the science of management.

Gareth Morgan's research addresses the issues of how leaders and managers have to rethink their roles and forge new ways of organizing in the new information economy, and in a world where turbulence and change is the daily reality of every organization. His research has been at the forefront of many contemporary management trends such as learning organizations, decentralized networks, flexible and team-based enterprises, unleashing creativity and innovation, and how to use theories of paradox and self organization to find new methods for the management of organizational change.
In view of Gareth Morgan's outstanding research and invaluable importance for students and researchers at SDU, the committee concludes that Gareth Morgan's work eminently merits his nomination for an honorary doctorate.

Andrew Knoll

With this letter we offer an assessment of Professor Andrew Knoll from Harvard University as an Honorary Doctor of the University of Southern Denmark.

This assessment need not be long. We completely agree with letter of motivation that Professor Knoll is a truly outstanding Earth Scientist of the absolute highest rank. His impact on understanding the interplay between biological evolution and the evolution of the Earth-surface environment has been both visionary and seminal. Along the way, Professor Knoll has amassed considerable recognition including memberships in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign fellowship in the Indian Academy of Sciences. He has received many prizes including the Charles Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society, the Raymond C. Moore Medal of the Society for Sedimentary Geology, the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London (also awarded to Charles Darwin in his day) and the Charles Doolittle Walcott and Mary Clark Thompson Medals of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.

In addition, Professor Knoll has research interests which overlap considerably with those of the NordCEE group at SDU, making an Honorary Doctorate even more meaningful.

We believe that an Honorary Doctorate to Professor Knoll would recognize a world talent in biogeosciences, and at the same time, strengthen ties between Professor Knoll and ongoing research at SDU.

In conclusion, we strongly support Professor Andrew Knoll as an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Southern Denmark.

Alberto Ascherio

Professors Kirsten Ohm Kyvik and Egon Stenager have on behalf of Institut for Regional Sundhedsforskning, Center Sygehus Sønderjylland in a letter dated April 17 2014 nominated Professor Alberto Ascherio, Harvard University, for the honorary doctorate at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark.

For the assessment of the nominee the Faculty of Health Sciences has formed a committee comprising (in alphabetical order):

Professor Kaare Christensen, MD, DrMedSci
Professor Anders Green, MD, DrMedSci,chairman of the assessment committee
Professor Tina Kold Jensen, PhD.

The committee hereby submits the assessment of the candidate for further consideration by the Faculty

Personal data

Born in Genoa, Italy, Professor Ascherio obtained an MD from the University of Milan (1972-1978), a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Tropical Medicine (1983);a Master's degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health (1989),and a DrPH in Epidemiology from the same place (1989- 1992). Postdoctoral training has been accomplished in epidemiology (1978-1980, Mario Negri Institute, Milan) and internal medicine (1978-1983, University of Milan).

Professor Ascherio is licensed as a physician. (1978) and certified in internal medicine (1983) In Italy, and he is currently appointed as Professor in Epidemiology and Nutrition (Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health) and Professor of Medicine (Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School).

Professional and teaching experience

Professor Ascherio has several honors and distinctions including Harvard Alumni Scholarship, Milton Fund Award and from Harvard Medical School. n addition, he has several major faculty grants; David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Kinetics Foundation for the investigation of Parkinson's disease. He has been and is currently a member of several expert panels, advisory boards and grant reviewer both nationally and internationally particularly on neurodegenerative diseases and infectious diseases. n addition, he has been an expert in several projects in developing countries on tropical diseases, infections, nutrition and immunization.

Professor Ascherio is a member of several academic societies and a reviewer for numerous scientific journals. He has been part of the editorial team in five international journals. He has an impressive funding record with grants from both NIH, NMSS, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Cancer Institute, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and Michael J. Fox Foundation. He has extensive teaching experience both pre- and postgraduate level especially in epidemiology, nutrition, neurodegenerative diseases and international health and has supervised several doctoral and postdoctoral students both nationally and internationally. He has been an invited guest speaker at several international conferences.

Scientific career and merits

Professor Ascherio is a leading researcher within neurodegenerative diseases including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Professor Ascherio has developed an impressive multidisciplinary collaboration on neurodegenerative diseases bridging epidemiology, genetics, molecular neuroscience and clinical trial research. Professor Ascherio has continuously been an extremely productive researcher who has published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers, reviews, chapters and books and with a still growing production. His H-index is more than 80.

The overarching theme of Professor Ascherio's research is to discover modifiable risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases which could be targeted for primary or secondary prevention. The research is based on a series of large, ongoing, prospective investigations on the determinants of risk factors and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Among Professor Ascherio's major achievements is his work on the possible etiological role of the Epstein-Barr virus and other infections in the etiology of multiple sclerosis. Professor Ascherio has also conducted studies on the adverse effects of cigarette smoking and some new,exciting findings on the protective effect of vitamin D in multiple sclerosis, as well as its interaction with Epstein-Barr virus.

In the area of Parkinson's disease, Professor Ascherio has carried out a series of studies on the role of anti­ inflammatory drugs, diet, and lifestyle in determining Parkinson's disease risk. Among recent exciting findings is the identification of urate in serum as an important predictor of Parkinson's disease risk, which is now brought into the clinical trial research arena. Similarly, there are potentials for clinical implications of other possible, protective effects of caffeine, anti-inflammatory drug and physical activity. Professor Ascherio's research also spans into toxicology including the role of pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in the etiology of Parkinson's disease.
Professor Ascherio participates in multiple international, collaborative projects including a consortium of large, longitudinal investigations of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to determine the potential, protective effect of vitamin E and other dietary anti-oxidants.


Professor Alberto Ascherio has made major academic achievements and documented impressive international research at high level with main focus on the epidemiology, aetiology and preventability on neurodegenerative diseases. The assessment committee recommends unanimously that the honorary doctorate at the University of Southern Denmark be conferred to Professor Alberto Ascherio.

Herman Bruyninckx

John Hallam (chair), Henrik Gordon Petersen, Norbert Krüger

We have taken into account the material presented in Herman Bruynickx’s on-line CV, his publication record, and historical information available through the EURON and euRobotics websites (concerning history experienced personally by some of us).

In our considered opinion, there are four good grounds for conferring an Honorary Doctorate on Herman Bruyninckx (HB):

1. Systems-based and knowledge-based robotics and “slow science.”

The key problems of modern robotics science lie in the principled design of robotic systems for specific applications and the difficulties associated with providing sup- port for designers and automating as much as possible of robot programming. HB is one of the key researchers who has adopted a systems view of these problems, considering not just the robot itself but the wider aspects of its interaction with its environment (including other agents) and its intended task. He has made significant contributions to the use of knowledge and reasoning in the design, configuration and especially the realtime behaviour of such systems by researching an systems- orientated affordance-based approach to robot system design and implementation.

HB has a commitment to “slow science”, that is, the development of well-considered and deep theoretical and practical understanding of the core research problems of robotics independently of the timescale and pressure of publication-driven academia.

HB is an exemplary modern robotics researcher: smart, well-informed, practically and industrially oriented yet with a firm grasp of the key deep problems of his domain. As such, he is an inspiration to the new generation of researchers.


HBs work has resulted in a number of significant tools. He was the initiator of the OROCOS project, an open source suite of software for robot control; a key contributor and innovator of the BRICS Component Model for design of complex robotic systems; and has been active in other influential EU-funded robotics projects such as Rosetta and RoSta.

3. EURON/euRobotics.

In the late 1990s, European Robotics was made visible on the world stage by the efforts of Henrik Christensen, who established EURON, the European Robotics Research Network. This network was the first of its kind in the world and has continued to be influential to this day.

When Henrik Christensen demitted office as coordinator in 2008, HB was elected by his peers to coordinate the network and during his period of tenure led the community via the establishment of the euRobotics Association (which superseded EURON in 2013) to participate in the new joint venture with the EC of a Public- Private Partnership in Robotics (SPARC, launched at Automatica 2014). He was elected a Director of the euRobotics Association, and was chosen by his fellow Directors to be Research Vice-President of that organisation. Since 2008, therefore, he has been the person chosen by his peers to represent European robotics research to European industry, the European Commission, and the world.

4. Education of new roboticists.

Given his concern for systems-based approaches to robotics, HB has also been heavily involved in communicating the key problems and possibilities of this viewpoint to new researchers, though an commitment to high quality education and training. He has been the Chair of the jury for the Georges Giralt (European) PhD Award since 2008, and has been the instigator of new PhD Summer Schools which take the systems-thinking focus seriously and attempt to instill critical thinking in the next generation of robotics engineers.

Given these points (especially the first three) it is clear that HB has had considerable personal impact on robotics research and is highly respected by the (European and global) robotics community. We find it very natural, therefore, to nominate him for an Honorary Doctorate from SDU.

Sidst opdateret: 07.09.2021