David Oliver

Photo of David Oliver

BA (Hons) Waterloo; MBA York; PhD Lausanne
Senior Lecturer

Rm 4232
H70 - Abercrombie Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Telephone +61 2 9114 1110
Fax +61 2 9351 4729


Dr David Oliver is Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the University of Sydney, David worked at HEC Montréal in Canada as well as the IMD Business School and Imagination Lab in Switzerland.

David’s research interests include organizational identity, contemporary strategy practices and tools, stakeholder engagement and trust, and the sharing economy. He has published 14 peer-reviewed journal articles, four book chapters, 14 teaching case studies, and has received eight research grants, including a current Insight Grant on “Strategy and Identity Work” from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council on which he is co-investigator. His publications have appeared in journals such as Organization Studies, British Journal of Management, Human Relations, Journal of Business Ethics and Scandinavian Journal of Management. David has a Google Scholar H-index of 12, and is a regular presenter, panellist, mentor, and convenor at international conferences. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Strategizing Activities and Practices Interest Group of the international Academy of Management.

David also has extensive teaching experience in undergraduate, postgraduate, MBA, EMBA and Executive Education programs in 13 countries on four continents. He focuses on improving students’ ability to reflexively re-evaluate their management and strategy abilities, and has been awarded a Dean’s Citation for Teaching from the University of Sydney Business School. He has introduced a number of experiential innovations into his Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Commerce, MBA and Executive Education teaching, while authoring a recent publication on experiential learning in the Journal of Management Education. He currently supervises two doctoral students focusing on strategising practices in multi-stakeholder partnerships and success factors for Indigenous business organisations.

Research Interests

David’s research centres on “identity” as a frame of reference (particularly at the organisational level) and its importance for strategising. His research program focuses on how identity is negotiated, influenced, transmitted, and employed in organisations. The cross-level nature of his research has led him to study how organisational identities are influenced by participation in multi-firm innovation networks, how team vs. organisation-level identity tensions are handled by innovation teams, and how start-up founders transition from personal identities to constructing organisational identity. He also studies how organisational “identity work” acts as a strategic practice, how “identity anxiety” can generate inertia and inhibit strategic change, how individual emotions influence strategy team decision-making, and how identity inform strategising in sharing economy “platform” companies. David also studies trust development in multi-stakeholder strategic partnerships involving Indigenous communities, recently initiating a Canada-Australia study of reflexivity in combined Indigenous-non-Indigenous organisations.

David is an active member of the “Sharing Economy of Australia” and the “Organisational Discourse, Strategy and Change” research groups at the University of Sydney, as well as the Strategy as Practice Study Group (GéPS) at HEC Montréal. He sits on the Editorial Board of the journal m@n@gement.

Selected publications


Book Chapter

Heracleous L, and Oliver D (2018) Playfulness and Agile Strategizing Agility.X: How Organizations Thrive in Unpredictable Times; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 99-113.


Journal Articles

Fortin I, and Oliver D (2016) To imitate or differentiate: Cross-level identity work in an innovation network Scandinavian Journal of Management, 32 (4), 197-208. [More Information]

Statler M, and Oliver D (2016) The Moral of the Story: Re-framing Ethical Codes of Conduct as Narrative Processes Journal of Business Ethics, 136 (1), 89-100. [More Information]


Journal Articles

Kisfalvi V, and Oliver D (2015) Creating and Maintaining a Safe Space in Experiential Learning Journal of Management Education, 39 (6), 713-740. [More Information]

Kouamé S, Oliver D, and Poisson-de-Haro S (2015) Can emotional differences be a strength? Affective diversity and managerial decision performance Management Decision, 53 (8), 1662-1676. [More Information]

Book Chapter

Oliver D (2015) Identity work as a strategic practice Cambridge Handbook of Strategy as Practice; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 331-344. [More Information]


Book Chapter

Oliver D, Heracleous L, and Jacobs C (2014) Balancing divergence and convergence: Stimulating creativity through hybrid thinking Handbook of Management and Creativity; Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, 325-345. [More Information]


Journal Articles

Jacobs C, Oliver D, and Heracleous L (2013) Diagnosing Organizational Identity Beliefs by Eliciting Complex, Multimodal Metaphors The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 49 (4), 485-507. [More Information]

Sloan P, and Oliver D (2013) Building Trust in Multi-stakeholder Partnerships: Critical Emotional Incidents and Practices of Engagement Organization Studies, 34 (12), 1835-1868. [More Information]


Conference Proceeding

Oliver D, and Vough H (2012) Practising identity: The emergence of organizational identity in start up firms Academy of Management Annual Meeting; Academy of Management, Boston, MA, USA.


Conference Proceedings

Jacobs C, Oliver D, and Heracleous L (2011) The role of embodiment in organization focused identity work European Group on Organizational Studies 2011, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Oliver D, and Cole B (2011) Identity construction and the paradox of innovation: Product level successes and organizational level dysfunction 71st Academy of Management Annual Meeting AOM2011, San Antonio.

Statler M, and Oliver D (2011) The Moral of the Story: Re-Framing Ethical Codes of Conduct as Narrative Processes 71st Academy of Management Annual Meeting AOM2011, San Antonio.


Journal Article

Oliver D, Statler M, and Roos J (2010) A meta-ethical perspective on organizational identity Journal of Business Ethics, 94 (3), 427-440. [More Information]


Journal Article

Sloan P, and Oliver D (2009) Michelin's Strategic Partnership with Indigenous Peoples (A) The Basis for Partnership International Journal of Case Studies in Management, 7 (2), 1-12.

Conference Proceeding

Sloan P, and Oliver D (2009) Stakeholders are people, too:Building effective stakeholder engagement practices 25th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium EGOS 2009: Passion for creativity and innovation: energizing the study of organizations and organizing; European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), Germany.


Conference Proceedings

Jacobs C, Oliver D, and Heracleous L (2008) Constructing organizational identity through embodied metaphors 2008 Academy of Management Annual Meeting; Academy of Management, United States.

Oliver D (2008) Strong team identity in a self-managed work team: Key to success or Pandora’s box? First International Conference of the Language, Organization and Governance Research Group.

Book Chapter

Statler M, and Oliver D (2008) Facilitating serious play Oxford Handbook of Organizational Decision Making; Oxford University Press, Oxford UK, 475-516.

Selected grants




Recent Units Taught

  • WORK2201 Foundations of Management

  • WORK6002 Strategic Management

  • WORK6120 Research Essay

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