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Meet the Department Chair

Penn State Smeal Management and Organization Department Chair Denny Gioia describes his research interests and activities as department head of the Management and Organization Department.

Portrait of Denny Gioia, Chair of the Management and Organization Department

Welcome to the Management and Organization Department in the Smeal College of Business.My name is Denny Gioia and I am the Chair of the Department.

I am a native of Pennsylvania, but I actually grew up in central Florida. I hold degrees in both engineering science (baccalaureate) and management (masters and doctorate) from Florida State University. In a former life, prior to my ivory tower career, I worked as an engineer for Boeing Aerospace at Cape Kennedy during the Apollo/Saturn lunar program (Apollo 11, 12, and 13) and for Ford Motor Company as corporate recall coordinator. In the years since, I have been working in the world of academia, while trying to keep a foot planted firmly in the realm of practical reality. My current research and writing interests focus on the ways in which organizational identity, image, learning, and knowledge are involved in sensemaking, sensegiving, and organizational change.

As evidence that I really have been working, rather than simply peering from the tower, my work has appeared in many of my field’s top journals, including Academy of Management Executive, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Human Relations, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Journal of Business Ethics, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Organizational Dynamics, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Strategic Management Journal, among others, as well as in numerous book chapters and proceedings. I have also edited two books of original contributions, The Thinking Organization and Creative Action in Organizations.

In addition to my research and writing, I am a longstanding member of the MBA, Executive MBA, Ph.D and Executive Programs faculties. Mainly, I teach organizational behavior and leadership courses, as well as a Ph.D seminar on cognition in organizations. I am a Fellow of the Academy of Management and also serve on four editorial review boards; in addition, I edit my own section of the Journal of Management Inquiry. Prior to my appointment as Chair, I was the Department’s Ph.D adviser. I am a self-described “pragmatic idealist,” who has been at Penn State and lived happily in Happy Valley since 1979. For many years I have been a closet artist whose medium of expression is photography. Some of my artistic work has appeared on journal
covers and at the Academy of Management. It is also plastered around the walls of the departmental office.

I have a deep-seated love of traveling, especially to Europe. I have taken two sabbaticals, each of which involved living outside the U.S. (Denmark and Italy). I have been a visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School (1993-94) and at Bocconi University in Milan (2003). My wife, Judy Albrecht, and I have two daughters, Erin Albrecht, who’s really into theater stage management and Dana Gioia, who really loves history. All of us try to live some semblance of a balanced and rewarding life.

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