What's an area you have always wanted to be involved in but have not yet had the opportunity to explore?
Gender issues and, specifically, equal opportunities, are something I feel very close to, but have not yet addressed in my research. However, by reading the latest international literature, I have become convinced of the need to contribute to the discussion, which is still too little informed by scientific data and research. In the specific case of my research, focused on inter-organisational networks and cooperation, it might be interesting to explore how gender issues influence the evolution of relations, and how the lack of equal opportunities (at different levels, in different industries and contexts) affects their performance.
What are you most passionate about in your research?
In my research, I generally deal with collective processes of value creation, i.e. how different firms, by working together, manage (or fail) to achieve their goals. Cooperation between companies is a very complex matter: economic aspects are often of secondary importance in determining the success or failure of cooperative processes. Instead, trust, knowing each other and working together are what will ensure that the partners can achieve the desired results. Despite the fact that companies today can no longer think about their competitiveness without considering the tight network of relationships with the world outside, failure rates of inter-organisational relationships are still very high. My reading of this is that there is still much to be understood about which mechanisms can support interaction patterns between partners, and that just as much progress is needed on developing a cooperation culture.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
I found out that research was my great passion during my early years at university, when I started working in consultancy to pay for my studies. Thanks to some lucky opportunities, my professional experiences at that time led me to work on some national and European academic research projects, and there I realised what I wanted to do.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
I think that researching management means helping reduce the complexity and uncertainty of micro and macro variables that have an impact on the evolution of businesses, and therefore on the economy and society in general. It then means using these tools to try and imagine the near future. These same methods, knowledge and tools are at the heart of university teaching. Teaching, as I see it, means passing on to students not only what we know today - the most advanced knowledge - but also a method and tools that will give them the ability to read the evolutionary patterns of tomorrow on their own.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
To young men and women approaching academic research today, I say that it is wonderful and fundamental work for society, which deserves our utmost dedication and rigour to look to the future. The road can be difficult and hard, especially for female researchers for whom we have not yet been able to make the necessary progress on equal opportunities - but we hope to improve every day. However, if you have the motivation and passion for research, it will certainly be worth it.