Not Graduation, but Commencements – kein Abschluss, sondern ein neuer Anfang

Last Friday my PhD (Business) graduation  took place. The PhD graduation ceremony in Trinity College is called commencements, to indicate that the completion of the studies is not the end, but a new beginning. For me it certainly is a new beginning. Beside my service operations manager role in Trinity I now teach undergraduate students in Fundamentals of Management and Organisation. I thoroughly enjoy this additional role, as I can talk  about my experience of being a manager and give examples of the relevance of academic articles and textbooks. . Even though weather-wise it probably was the worst day of the year, cold, stormy and rain from all sides, nothing could dampen the joy of the day, the beginning of  a new journey!

Am letzten Freitag fand die Abschlussfeier meines betriebswirtschaflichen Doktor- Studiums statt. Die Promotionszeremonie am Trinity College heißt „Commencements“ oder Beginn, um anzuzeigen, dass der Abschluss des Studiums nicht das Ende, sondern ein Neubeginn ist. Für mich ist es sicherlich ein Neuanfang. Neben meiner Rolle als Service Operations Manager in Trinity unterrichte ich jetzt Studenten in Grundlagen des Managements und der Organisation. Ich freue mich sehr über diese zusätzliche Rolle, da ich über meine Erfahrungen als Manager sprechen und Beispiele für die Relevanz von wissenschaftlichen Artikeln und Lehrbüchern geben kann. Auch wenn es wetterbedingt wahrscheinlich der schlimmste Tag des Jahres war, kalt, stürmisch und Regen von allen Seiten, konnte nichts die Freude des Tages dämpfen, den Beginn einer neuen Reise!





Barriers to change and overcoming them: a seven-year-long research project

20180916_052311.jpgHave you ever wondered why some change programmes – for example developing new services – are easily implemented and some are difficult to even get started or they fail?
….or why the same type of development initiative runs smoothly in one organisation and not so well in another, so that it has to be abandoned?
…or why one change agent or change team can implement changes easily but another is struggling?
….or one organisation embraces change, and another resists change?
During my 30 years of work experience in the service industry it has always intrigued me why good innovative ideas for new or improved services were not developed further i.e. implemented, even though the new service would have had social, economic or environmental benefits.
This issue drove me to start a seven-year-long PhD research journey inquiring into the question:
What are the barriers to New Service Development (NSD)?
How can these barriers be overcome?
…and more detailed questions.…
What strategies can be applied to overcome these barriers?
In what instances should these strategies be applied?
How can we as individuals and organisations learn from these development initiatives, so that we don’t make the same mistakes over and over again?
Can we perhaps build “barrier overcoming capabilities”?
As part of an extensive action research programme carried out over many years, in collaboration with many people and teams, designing and implementing a range of new services, a model for managing the development of new services was created.
I will tell the story of this journey and the evolution of the model over the coming weeks.


Katrin Dreyer-Gibney
Dr. Katrin Dreyer-Gibney, Service Operations Scholar and Manager, Passionate Powerlifter

My research and development interests are focused on improving practice and advancing theory in service operations, through participatory methodologies of collaborative action learning, action research and action oriented leadership. For over 30 years I held leadership roles in the service industry, in higher education, shared services, publishing, health services, retail and the hospitality industry. Throughout my career I combined academic engagement with practice.
To improve practice and advance theory in service operations, innovation and development I completed my PhD in business and service operations through insider action research methodology. Before that, I accomplished an MBA with the Open University, while working as a service manager in the shared services industry. I completed my undergraduate degree in Business Administration in Munich, Germany while working part-time in health services, retail and the hospitality industry.

I am employed by Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin as Service Operations Manager. My current focus is the implementation of a new workplace wellbeing policy, which I have developed in collaboration with almost 100 workplace participants over a 4-months period. In parallel,  I am continuing my scholarly engagement in the Trinity Business School, which involves publishing, student supervision, and presenting on the subjects of service operations management, development and leading change in this area.

I am a passionate powerlifter. Over the last 3 years I accomplished World, European and National records as some of my other blogs describe, for example World Powerlifting Competition in Boston, USA. 

I think there are parallels between overcoming barriers to change and being successful in a sport like powerlifting.


Achieving  Work – Life Balance: Prioritise, Plan and Link

Recently I was asked to write a piece on work-life balance, describing how I manage to do my PhD (part-time) have time to train and compete in Powerlifting,  have a family and a social life, while holding down a full time  job. There is really only one simple response:

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