DSI Election Special Feature
The two candidates for the position of DSI president-elect—Maling Ebrahimpour of the University of South Florida and Soumen Ghosh of the Georgia Institute of Technology—provide their vision statements for the 2012 election of officers.
The Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) has been a long-standing and prominent establishment for academics and professionals in the decision sciences area. Over the years, the Institute has built a prestigious reputation for the quality of its products and services, such as its annual and regional conferences, faculty and students' development activities, placement services, and of course, its erudite journals of high academic repute. A long line of able presidents of the Institute have endeavored hard to provide a continued ascent towards excellence and success. However, the Institute also has to operate in a very challenging environment where the competition keeps getting stronger (e.g., INFORMS, POMS, ICIS/AIS, AOM, just to name a few), and hence the pressure to continuously improve is unrelenting. We have to recognize that our members have other choices, and if we are not able to keep improving our products and services, we have the clear and distinct danger of losing our membership to competitor organizations. Thus, we have to keep our strategic vision and priorities aligned to not only meet our competitive challenges, but at the same time to also drive continued growth, enhance global reputation, and keep improving the "delivered value" of our products and services. Therefore, my overall vision for the Decision Sciences Institute is to be the pre-eminent Institute of global repute for scholars and professionals in the multidisciplinary area of decision sciences.
I have now been a member of the Decision Science Institute for 25 years, right from my days as a doctoral student during the mid-eighties! During this time, I've missed attending DSI annual conferences only twice! I've also held several offices in the Institute, from being track and session chair, to being a member as well as chair of several standing committees (Programs and Meetings Committee, Member Services Committee, Publications Committee, Doctoral Student Affairs Committee), and coordinator of several DSI services (Professional Development Program, Doctoral Student Consortium, Doctoral Dissertation Competition). Perhaps most importantly, I've had the opportunity to serve on the DSI Board of Directors for three terms, twice as at-large vice president, and most recently as secretary. Consequently, I have been the beneficiary of considerable cumulative knowledge and understanding of the workings of the Institute, as well as its policies and procedures. It is an absolute honor and privilege to be nominated as a candidate for the position of DSI president-elect. Given my considerable history of involvement and knowledge about the Institute, I feel quite well-qualified, confident, and ready to lead the Institute on its continuing pursuit of excellence.
To keep improving in the face of challenging competition and strategic threats from competing organizations, we need to consider ways in which we can strengthen the strategic position of the Institute. In addition to leveraging our existing strengths, it also entails focusing on our multidisciplinary strength, and even discovering new ways to exploit this strength in order to solidify our competitive advantage. This requires us to make careful strategic moves that can be effective in creating a more positive and high-quality image for the Institute, enhancing our responsiveness to changing demands/requirements from our members and their universities, having a diversified portfolio of offerings to create better "delivered value," attracting the top scholars around the world in the broad area of decision sciences to be our most ardent ambassadors, and being proactive in exploiting new opportunities of interest to the Institute. However, we are not going to be able to accomplish these goals unless we embrace a collaborative mindset and work together diligently towards a common agenda for the pursuit for excellence. I see the following priorities and imperatives as being important to achieve the vision and goals I have stated above.
Reputation and Growth Priority. We have to drive continued growth and the reputation of DSI by engaging top-tier schools and eminent scholars in our Institute affairs. This can provide us with a key competitive advantage. But we cannot engage them unless we are able to attract them through the "delivered value" of our products and services. In addition, managing external perceptions, reputational rankings, and the quality of our journals and publications warrant dedicated efforts from our membership, the editorial team, along with the editorial office of the publisher. Maintaining and further building upon the stellar reputations of our journals would need to be a key priority for us. This is a particularly critical imperative because several of our closest competitors have already built their reputations based on their flagship journals, for example, INFORMS, POMS, AOM, etc. We need to redouble our efforts in this regard, which will also serve to fuel further growth in the Institute membership.
Delivered Value Priority. The Institute provides value through its product and service offerings delivered to its members. Along with maintaining and further enhancing the reputational quality of our products, that is, our journals and publications, we also need to keep building better value in our service offerings via our conferences, placement services, service to the regions, professional development service via our Doctoral Student Consortium, Doctoral Dissertation Competition, New Faculty Consortium, professional development workshops, instructional innovation activities, etc. We have a lot going for us, and already provide high quality value to our members, but we need to strive to keep improving and innovating, and keep creating, building, and delivering better value to our members via the quality of our product and service offerings.
Collaboration Priority. In order to leverage and further strengthen the "multi-disciplinary" focus of our Institute, we need to foster collaboration across disciplines, other professional organizations/societies, and universities. This issue gets to the very core of "Decision Sciences"—while there are several professional societies that are mostly focused on individual disciplines, such as POMS, AIS, AOM, etc., DSI has the unique competitive position of being able to create innovation, customer value, and competitive advantage through its multidisciplinarity. This can only be enhanced through meaningful collaborations and team building, and can continue to provide a sound way to strategically differentiate DSI from our key competitors, thus creating significant competitive advantage for the Institute.
Globalization Priority. We live in an era of globalization where the notion of domestic dominance is ephemeral. Most organizations today compete in global markets and need to develop appropriate global strategies in order to drive their global competitiveness. DSI is no exception—we cannot be a great organization simply based on our domestic activities. We need to embark on a significant globalization drive to dramatically increase our global membership base (which will also drive growth), as well as substantially enhance our global reputation. We do lag behind our key competitors in our global reputation, memberships, and conference attendance (for example, compared to INFORMS, POMS, AOM, AIS, etc.). This is another important imperative: to keep building global linkages and significantly increase our global activities, and the membership and involvement of colleagues from around the world.
In summary, based on my vision and goals for DSI mentioned above, my immediate priorities for action would be as follows.
Finally, I want to reiterate that I am absolutely privileged, honored, and humbled to be nominated for the position of DSI president-elect. I pledge my strong commitment to furthering the DSI core values, and I feel confident that I can provide effective leadership in continuing to lead DSI towards further greatness and success.