- Position: Associate Professor in Info Management
- Areas of expertise: Software firms, social and human interactions, collaboration & knowledge sharing, software platforms, user participation, agile development, innovation, online activism
- Email: S.Ghobadi@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 5349
- Location: 1.13 Charles Thackrah, Leeds University Business School
- Website: Medium | The Conversation | LinkedIn | Googlescholar | Researchgate | ORCID
I am an Associate Professor of Information Management & Business School Academic Lead for Inclusive Education Practices (SALIP) at the University of Leeds. I serve as an Associate Editor at the Information Systems Journal and on the review panel of leading journals in management and information systems. I completed Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of New South Wales, with a background in IT Management and Industrial Engineering.
My research passion is to advance understanding of how “software” that eases and enriches lives is developed and used. In doing so, I conduct in-depth studies examining software products, software companies, and the social aspects of their development. My research usually employs qualitative and longitudinal studies to reveal novel, hidden, and nuanced meaning in empirical data. Through those studies, I have developed theoretical frameworks that explain (1) the collaborative, socio-cognitive processes of developing software and (2) the use of digital platforms for online activism and socio-political change. The article in JMIS (2020), for example, creates a theoretical perspective explaining the evolving nature of technology-driven generations and their contributions to building new technology. The article also develops a systematic method (adaptive comparative causal mapping) with rigorous steps, data collection, and analytical procedures to investigate experience-based similarities and differences across different groups. Although deeply qualitative, the method combines a flavour of qualitative and quantitative approaches to analysing and visualising data. I use a similar cognitive approach to studying software teams in the following articles in ISJ (2015/2017) on agile development and risk management. The other article in IO (2015) offers one of the earliest process models explaining the longitudinal dynamics of online activism using a critical mass approach. The model elaborates on the dynamics of inhibiting and encouraging intervantions in determing the long-term outcomes of online activism. This article, especially in reference to the Conversation piece (2018), has been featured in various media and community discussions.
I have published in leading journals such as Journal of Management Information Systems, Information Systems Journal, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Information and Organization, Information & Management, Information Systems Frontiers, Behaviour & Information Technology, Information Processing & Management, and Journal of Systems and Software. For my research, I have received competitive awards from recognised bodies such as the British Academy (2017), Australian Government (2014), and Australian School of Business (2008-2011).
My research can be accessed at Google Scholar and Researchgate. I also write for The Conversation, Medium, and lead podcasts on topics at the intersection of business, technology, and society. I have given research talks at various research institutions (e.g., London School of Economics, Washington State University, St Gallen University), software companies (e.g., Atlassian, Cafe Bazar), and community outlets (e.g., Centennial College, Toronto; The Photographers’ Gallery, University of Art London; St. Mary High School, Leeds).
I serve as the external Research Excellence Framework’s examiner for academic institutions in the UK. Since 2015, I have supervised several MSc/MBA/MEng dissertations & I currently have 3 funded Ph.D. students working on interesting projects exploring the effective development and use of technology.
In 2022, I was highly commended in Leeds University Business School (LUBS) Faculty Partnership Award, the Equality and Inclusion category. Before coming to Leeds, I was an Assistant Professor of Information Systems at the University of Manchester (2015-2019), where I received the Social Responsibility Award in Curriculum at the Faculty of Humanities, followed by a Making a Difference Commended award. Before that, I was a Visiting Scholar at J.Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, in 2014.
Before joining academia, I worked for 7 years in the automobile, eScience, and software industries in Asia and Australia as a consultant and project manager. I have also engaged with executives and scientists across various industries and advised startups about mobile apps and online services. The industry has inspired and significantly enriched my research on collaboration in software development firms and social change. In 2006, I wrote a book on System Dynamics in Farsi. Published by a premier local management publisher, the book has helped a wide range of professionals and students to apply system thinking and modelling in research and profession.
- PhD, Information Systems
- MSc, IT Management
- BEng, Industrial Engineering
From social media to productivity tools to smart home apps to digital games, software has eased and enriched lives. My research studies software from two perspectives:
1. How do software companies manage the social aspects of development? I ask questions that advance the literature in three key areas: (1) Who builds software (digital natives), (2) How people collaborate to build software (knowledge sharing, agile development, risk management, coopetition, crowdfunding), and (3) How software companies operate at a business level (business model change, financing).
2. How do users leverage software to achieve societal impacts? I have focused on software for socio-political activism, it's opportunities, challenges, and strategic implications. For example, I have explored how social movement organisations leverage social networking software to put persistent pressure on target organisations and elicit their concessions and commitment to change. My earlier research also examined and theorised around the long-term processes of online activism and the prevalence of digital divide in the society. As part of my research in this area, I am on the board of the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies.
I have also pursued a research stream that conceptualises how strategic signalling by professional organisations in academia influences the evolution of academic fields.
I welcome working with PhD students as well as postdocs passionate about academic research and writing. I am open to research proposals targeting the following areas and I have experience with multi-method approaches (social media analysis, surverys, in-depth field studies, ethnography):
- Digital products: development issues, agile development, innovation processes, crowds & platforms, digital transformation, development ethics
- Digital activism: sustainability, human rights, Internet & socio-political activism
If you think of working with me, please send me (1) a CV, and a (2) 3-page research proposal (excluding references). Your proposal should elaborate the ‘research question’ you are asking. The research question should describe (1) how it will advance the larger body of knowledge, as well as (2) its connection to your academic ambitions and personal goals. Don’t be overly technical—aim for clarity and explain the phenomenon of your interest with relevant examples.
- Business School Academic Lead for Inclusive Practices (SALIP)
- Association for Information Systems
- Academy of Management
At Leeds, I am the course leader for the module Managing Digital Information Projects. Since 2008, I have designed, implemented, and taught courses at the intersection of organisations and new technology at undergraduate, postgraduate and executive levels. My course development and delivery are informed by research and draw upon several years of experience working in different industries across Asia, Australia, and the U.K. to cultivate students' critical thinking, creativity, ability to translate research into practice, and practicality in tackling business and social issues.
Research groups and institutes
- Adaptation Information Management and Technology