Meet UBC Sauder’s new faculty – Mia Raynard
At UBC Sauder, faculty members are more than just ‘professors.’ They conduct impactful research that is changing how society views the world while also inspiring students to pursue their academic passions and become the thoughtful, values-driven leaders the business world needs. This year, UBC Sauder welcomes eight new lecturers and tenure-track faculty to the school. In the fifth of this series, we introduce you to Mia Raynard, Assistant Professor in the Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Division.
Where are you from, and what brought you to UBC Sauder?
I just moved back to Canada from the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. I was drawn to UBC Sauder for a number of reasons—one of which is its vibrant and collegial working environment. UBC Sauder is a place where diverse and innovative streams of research are fostered. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of this amazing team of internationally-renowned faculty members.
What are your areas of research and how did you get into this field?
My research is fairly broad, covering a diverse array of topics and contexts. My recent projects have examined the impacts of marketization in China, the rise of responsible investing, elitism in higher education, and the emerging field of lab-grown meat. What integrates these diverse projects is an organization theory lens, which focuses on understanding social structures, the relationships between organizations and their environments, and how individuals interact and behave in social units. I got into this field because I have always been fascinated by how different contexts can shape people’s perceptions, behaviors, and actions in very different ways.
What fuels your research – what prompted you to research this area?
My research is fueled by curiosity. I find myself drawn to studying phenomena that I can’t explain or that create tensions such as conflicting expectations about ‘appropriate’ courses of action.
What inspires you to teach?
I learn so much from teaching. Students have such diverse experiences, opinions, and perspectives, which often provide a foundation for a rich and stimulating learning environment. Teaching is energizing and helps me to expand my understanding and see things from different vantage points.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve discovered through your research?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one interesting thing that I’ve discovered through my research. For me, ‘interesting’ research tends to challenge assumptions. As I dig into different topics, content, and phenomena, I try to understand why things are not as one might expect. For example, why are practices that are widely recognized as ineffective, problematic, and socially illegitimate still prevalent? Why and how might organizations intentionally integrate practices that seem antithetical to their mission and underlying values? Why do processes of change unfold in unexpected ways?
What do you believe is the future of your industry?
I believe we, as management and organizational scholars, can help shed light on and contribute to finding solutions to pressing global challenges. This includes identifying ways to foster collaborations across disciplines and sectors, as well as ways to overcome barriers that may hinder collaborative efforts. It also includes deepening understanding of the complexity of global challenges and the processes undertaken to address them.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I enjoy travelling and trying new things. I’ve ventured into underground bat caves in the Philippines, swam with nurse sharks in Belize, gone bamboo rafting in northern Thailand, snowboarded in Kashmir, India, explored the beautiful temples in Angkor, Cambodia, and tried the “Sourtoe Cocktail” in Dawson City, Yukon.
What are you most looking forward to in Vancouver?
I’ve grown up hearing about all the amazing outdoor activities that Vancouver has to offer, so I’m excited to experience them. I am especially looking forward to camping, swimming in the ocean, and snowboarding.