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Senior Lecturer awarded best Academy Management Article

Wednesday 1 September 2021 8:56am

maja graso image
Senior Lecturer Maja Graso.

University of Otago’s Senior Lecturer of Management Maja Graso has been awarded the best Academy of Management Perspectives article for 2021.

Along with her co-authors, Tania Reynolds and Steven Grover, their paper entitled the “Allegations of Mistreatment in an era of Harm Avoidance: Taboos, Challenges, and Implications for Management” earned the prestigious commendation.

“We try to remind practitioners and academics alike that the disagreements people might have often do not lie in their actual objectives and that, no matter where you’re from, people are usually working towards the same things; they just want their identity to be recognised and respected.”

“My colleagues and I were delighted and deeply honoured to have received this award. Given the sensitivity of the topic, we put a lot of thought, effort and time into our work and so it’s nice to see that the Academy of Management recognized our commitment to the de-escalation of sensitive issues” Graso commented.

The paper is about so-called invisible harms in our societies and workplaces. When a harm is invisible or unintentional, like a microaggression, it tends to create a division where that harm is very visible to some and invisible to others.

The desire to regulate all such harms is evident in phenomena such as cancel culture. This phenomenon emerged out of need, but if left unchecked, it limits societal discourse.

“We try to remind practitioners and academics alike that the disagreements people might have often do not lie in their actual objectives and that, no matter where you’re from, people are usually working towards the same things; they just want their identity to be recognised and respected,” states Graso.

Having lived in many culturally different countries herself like Croatia, Netherland Antilles, the USA and the United Arab Emirates, Graso has had first-hand experience in navigating taboo topics.

“When I first moved to New Zealand and started teaching business ethics, one of my biggest struggles was discussing off-limit topics without licensing mistreatment.

“I wanted to dig into this dynamic and so I started my research journey and, along the way, I was fortunate to find my wonderful and highly enthusiastic colleagues Steven and Tanya, who shared this interest.

“Together, our paper serves a reminder of the importance of de-escalating societal tensions and seeking commonalities, rather than militarizing differences,” Graso concluded.

The Academy of Management that produces this journal is the main professional association of management and business scholars in the world, with over 20,000 members. Its journals are widely read and so this award elevates the University’s already prominent international reputation.

Allegations of Mistreatment in an Era of Harm Avoidance: Taboos, Challenges, and Implications for Management