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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a Senior Lecturer in Information & Knowledge Management at the Department of Management Science, University of Strathclyde Business School, UK. My research is focused on personal and transpersonal knowledge, learning, and Artificial Intelligence, with an emphasis on knowledge-based expert systems, intuition and creativity. In research and teaching, I synthesize my backgrounds in philosophy and engineering to make sense of human expertise and use of AI in organizational context. I have been appointed member of the British Standard Institutions Artificial Intelligence Committee (BSI ART/001).

In a recent project, I conducted in-depth open-ended interviews with 20 expert scientists, including 17 Nobel Laureates and 2 Eckert-Mauchly Award winners, in order to understand the thinking and learning of those at the highest level of expertise.

1998-2004 I was spearheading the development of an AI software called Doctus, one of the best knowledge-based expert system shells in the world. In my research on knowledge modelling, I create new algorithms, compare various AI solutions, and explore the validity of AI. This research serves as a foundation for the development of the Doctus software. In my consultancy work as a knowledge engineer for the banking, healthcare, telecommunications industries and the government sector, I use Doctus to support complex decisions through modelling expert knowledge.

My paper ‘Thinking together: What makes Communities of Practice work?’ became an instant classic, and is continuously one of the most read and most cited papers in Human Relations. Another paper ‘Understanding intuition: The case for two forms of intuition’ is one of the most read articles in Management Learning. To date, I have written 25 journal papers, two books, 12 book chapters, and about 100 conference papers and recently co-edited the Handbook of Research Methods on Creativity. I serve on the editorial board of Management Learning.

Over the last two and half years, I delivered a series of talks on Human Mind vs. AI in New York, London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Lausanne, Birmingham, and Budapest, as well as a TEDx talk. Based on my 20+ years of research, consultancy and teaching, I argue that in the areas requiring original thinking, extraordinary achievements will come from smart people being supported by smart technology.


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Research Interests

My ambitious aim is to develop a dynamic model and possibly theory of cognition.  I have developed, with my collaborators, a model of knowledge levels which serves as a conceptual framework for the empirical investigation into the highest ‘grandmaster’ level of knowledge.  To this end I conducted 20 in-depth unstructured interviews with grandmasters (17 with Nobel Laureates).

My research in knowledge modelling underlies the development of the Doctus knowledge-based expert system (KBS); resulting in new algorithms, software design, etc.  Conversely, I use Doctus as a modelling tool in various other research topics.  The process of knowledge engineering is also a research topic on its own right.

Towards a Dynamic Theory of Knowledge

Models of Personal Knowledge

  • Types of personal knowledge
  • Levels of personal knowledge
  • Intuition, creativity and cognition

Models of Personal Knowing Processes

  • Intuitive and integrated rationality
  • Learning willingness, capability, and attention
  • Processes of knowledge increase

Models of Trans-Personal Knowing Processes

  • Knowledge sharing and creation
  • Master-apprentice relationship
  • Executive coaching

Knowledge-Based Expert Systems and other Intelligent Applications

Developing Intelligent Systems

  • Reductive reasoning in Doctus KBS
  • Hybrid intelligent systems
  • Modelling with Doctus KBS

Developing Knowledge Visualisation Solutions

  • 3D concept mapping: Doctus Knowledge Galaxy
  • Knowledge-based decision support for today’s leaders
  • GUI design principles in software applications

Research Philosophy and Methods

Research Philosophy and Research Methods

  • Investigating the extraordinary
  • Structured thought experiments by knowledge-based systems
  • Against methods


Philosophy and Methods of Teaching and Learning

  • Online teaching and learning
  • Gurus, masters, and talented disciples
  • Post-experiential, post-MBA education

Expertise & Capabilities

My research, teaching and knowledge exchange activities are intertwined.  In my teaching I use my research results as well as illustrative examples from my consultancy, my consultancy is informed by my research and also provides data as well as new ideas for further research and also on how to teach particular topics, and so forth in cycles.  In this sense my expertise can be divided into two main areas:

Knowledge and Knowing

I have done a great deal of research into the personal as well as trans-personal aspects of knowledge and knowing and also worked with various organisations on making better use of what they know.  The particular topics include creativity and intuition at personal level, and my focus at the trans-personal level is on Communities of Practice (CoPs).  These topics have strong links to the following topics on supporting these knowing processes with IS/ICT.

Artificial Intelligence

My research has served as basis for developing the Doctus KBS; in harmony with the above, the focus is on creating qualitative models of expert-level knowledge.  I was leading the development of the software for many years, and as knowledge engineer I used it for supporting knowledge workers in general and decision takers in particular in a wide range of decision situations, including outsourcing, product launch, tendering (both applying for tenders as well as evaluating applications), performance evaluation for knowledge workers, medical diagnosis, R&D decisions, and credit risk evaluation.

Teaching Interests

Knowledge & Innovation Management (UG, MOOC)

I have recently developed a new knowledge and innovation management course organised around four themes: the structure of personal knowledge, the processes of personal knowing, the organisational aspects of knowledge management, and innovation in organisations.  This topic also served as the starting point for developing my first MOOC ‘Understanding Modern Business & Organisations’.

Information & Technology Management (UG, MSc, MBA, MOOC)

Teaching information systems from a managerial perspective in organisational context, my focus in Information Management is on the human-computer connection; i.e. what should be computerised and what left to humans.  The covered technologies range from databases through expert systems, corporate portals and social media and collaboration tools to smart technologies and artificial intelligence.  The most recent development of this topic is embodied in my second MOOC ‘Understanding Information & Technology Today’.

Making Strategy (MBA)

This class originally developed by Prof Colin Eden at Strathclyde, focuses on the process of strategy making using causal maps as transitional objects.  The process is formalised, governed by procedural justice and procedural rationality.  In this class ‘strategy’ is about agreeing where to focus energy, cash, effort, and emotion.  Making Strategy is rooted in the personal construct theory, the resource-based view, competence-based management, emergent strategising, and solving messy problems.

Research Philosophy (doctoral level)

This is a compulsory module for all the research students at the University of Strathclyde Business School. A 5-day intensive classroom-based course is followed by a prolonged online collaborative learning in a virtual learning environment. I encourage students to develop their philosophical stance through independent thinking rather than finding their boxes.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Strathclyde

Master of Business Administration, Technical University of Budapest

Master of Education, Technical University of Budapest

Master of Economics, Budapest University of Economic Sciences

Master of Engineering, Technical University of Budapest

External positions

Visiting Professor, University of Zagreb

2009 → …


  • personal knowledge
  • organisational learning
  • expert systems
  • knowledge sharing
  • creativity
  • communities of practice

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GaMa: Grandmaster Project 1

Dorfler, V. & Eden, C.


Project: Internally funded project

Research Output

Thinking together: what makes communities of practice work?

Pyrko, I., Dörfler, V. & Eden, C., 1 Apr 2017, In : Human Relations. 70, 4, p. 389-409 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 42 Citations (Scopus)
    83 Downloads (Pure)

    The role of intuition in the creative process of expert chefs

    Stierand, M. & Dörfler, V., 12 Sep 2016, In : The Journal of Creative Behavior. 50, 3, p. 178–185 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    45 Downloads (Pure)


    Factors influencing citizens' adoption of e-government in Saudi Arabia

    Author: Alsulaimani, M. M. A., 4 May 2018

    Supervisor: Dorfler, V. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

    Knowledge management in innovative technology companies : the case of the energy sector

    Author: Shpakova, A., 4 May 2018

    Supervisor: Dorfler, V. (Supervisor) & MacBryde, J. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Best Developmental Paper BAM2018 Research Methodology SIG

    Viktor Dörfler (Recipient), Marc Stierand (Recipient) & Robert Chia (Recipient), 5 Sep 2018

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

    Best Developmental Paper BAM2019 Research Methodology SIG

    Megane Miralles (Recipient), Marc Stierand (Recipient) & Viktor Dörfler (Recipient), 4 Sep 2019

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


    The Principle of Subsidiarity from a Transdisciplinary Perspective

    Viktor Dorfler (Keynote/plenary speaker)
    8 Nov 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesKey-note speaker and plenary lectures at conferences

    Understanding Modern Business and Organisations - 3rd run

    Viktor Dörfler (Organiser)
    22 Feb 20163 Apr 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course