UTS site search

Dr Natalia Nikolova

Biography

Natalia Nikolova has a PhD in economic and political sciences (Dr. rer. pol.) from the University of Cologne, Germany. Before joining University of Technology Sydney Business School, she was a visiting researcher at the Australian Graduate School of Management.

Natalia's research interests are quite diverse including organisational practices, strategy and innovation in a range of contexts, such as project-based organisations, management consulting, professional service firms and creative industries. Natalia adopts a multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary approach in her research and teaching. She has published in academic journals and books and her work has been presented and recognised at a number of international conferences. Currently, Natalia is undertaking research projects focusing on distributed/shared leadership, innovation, capability ecosystems, strategy, professional service firms and experiential teaching and learning.

Natalia has worked on a number of projects with industry partners including Second Road, Spencer Stuart, Mercer and the Australian Government Creative Industries Innovation Centre.

Natalia has received awards in research and teaching including a Best Paper Award from the Academy of Management, an Australian Government Learning & Teaching Citation, a UTS Learning & Teaching Award and a UTS Learning & Teaching Citation.

Currently, Natalia is undertaking research projects on distributed/balanced leadership, innovation, capability ecosystems, temporary organisations, strategy and experiential and transdisciplinary teaching and learning. In 2017, Natalia has been seconded to the UTS innovative Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, to contribute to the new Bachelor of Technology and Innovation degree.

Professional

Natalia is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Professions and Organization (Oxford University Press) and regularly reviews for a number of international journals, including Organization Studies, Human Relations, Long Range Planning, Construction Management and Economics, Scandinavian Journal of Management.

Image of Natalia Nikolova
Senior Lecturer, Management Discipline Group
Core Member, CMOS - Centre for Management and Organisational Studies
MBA (Cologne), Dr
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 3645

Research Interests

Organisation studies, Project-based organisations, Temporary organisations, Group dynamics, Process perspectives on strategy and organisations, Distributed leadership, Management consulting, Professional services, Creative industries
Can supervise: Yes
Managing, Leading & Stewardship; Management Consulting; Professional Services; Strategy; Complex problems and systems

Books

Jakovich, J., Schweitzer, J., Brookes, W.C., Edwards, M., Jupp, J.R., Kirchner, N.G. & Nikolova, N. 2011, U.lab - It's about you: An Emerging Interdisciplinary Framework for Innovation Projects, 1, DAB Documents Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Design thinking aims to capture designers' creativity-driven approach to innovation that can be applied to anything from physical products and intangible services, to formulating and solving complex social problems. Design thinking promotes a particular mind-set that takes the user experience, or a human-centred perspective, as point of departure. While research into the application of design thinking to business problems is well documented, the utilisation of design thinking in university innovation is limited to few cases, and requires better understanding of how to establish design thinking capacity in an academic collaboration context. This research establishes an interdisciplinary design thinking framework at the University of Technology, Sydney, that forms the basis for three experimental projects. New design thinking tools, such as '5X5' and 'faceboard', are developed and a novel public and university innovation program is tested over ten repeated scenarios. The design thinking framework can be adopted for practice and further research. This volume documents the first-steps taken by a cross-faculty university group towards developing an interdisciplinary innovation capacity. It demonstrates how through trialling the practices and methods of design thinking, a deep appreciation of designing, thinking, and practicing creativity emerges across non-design participants. Diverse disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives are illustrated as a source of opportunity to address complex teaching and research challenges. 'U.Lab - It's About You' is published by DAB Docs, University of Technology, Sydney.
Nikolova, N. 2007, The Client-Consultant Relationship in Professional Business Service Firms, 1, Koelner Wissenschaftsverlag, Germany.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Nikolova, N. & Pratt, J. 2006, 21591 International Management, 2nd, Pearson Education Australia, Frenches Forest.
Custom textbook compiled to meet the needs of students in the named subject in the absence of other suitable textbooks
Nikolova, N. & Pratt, J. 2006, 21591 International Management, 1st, Pearson Education Australia, Frenches Forest.
Custom textbook compiled for students in 21591 International Management
Pratt, J. & Nikolova, N. 2006, 21717 International Management, 2nd, Pearson Education Australia, Frenches Forest.
A custom textbook compiled for students in 21717 International Management in the absence of other suitable textbooks.
Pratt, J. & Nikolova, N. 2006, 21717 International Management, 1st, Pearson Education Australia, Frenches Forest.
New custom textbook compiled for the subject 21717 International Management in the absence of other suitable textbooks.

Chapters

Nikolova, N. & Devinney, T.M. 2012, 'The nature of client-consultant interaction: A critical review' in Clark, T. & Kipping, M. (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Management Consulting, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, pp. 389-409.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
NA
Schweitzer, J., Edwards, M. & Nikolova, N. 2012, 'Designing Entrepreneurial Work Environments: Exploring Emergent Design Practices' in Schweitzer, J. & Jakovich, J. (eds), Crowd-Share Innovation: Intensive Creative Collaborations, Freerange Press, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 260-269.
In this paper we aim to outline an approach for fostering entrepreneurial creativity by utilizing design-thinking methodology. We explore designing as a practice driven approach to entrepreneurship that involves iteration and play during problem solving, team divergence, a stimulating and porous space, and entrepreneurial creativity that emerges from interpersonal relations within and between teams of entrepreneurs embedded in open networks.
Nikolova, N. 2012, 'Innovating through clients' in Reihlen, M. & Werr, A. (eds), Handbook of Research On Entrepreneurship In Professional Services, Edward Elgar Publishing, Incor, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 86-103.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
NA
Nikolova, N. & Devinney, T.M. 2008, 'Building community' in Barry, D. & Hansen, H. (eds), The SAGE Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization, Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 503-513.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Nikolova, N. 2007, 'Moral hazard' in Clegg, S. & Balley, J. (eds), International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies, Sage publications, UK, pp. 917-919.
Nikolova, N. 2007, 'Outsourcing' in Clegg, S. & Balley, J. (eds), International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies, Sage publications, UK, pp. 1208-1211.
Nikolova, N. 2007, 'Actor network theory' in Clegg, S. & Balley, J. (eds), International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies, Sage publications, UK, pp. 27-31.
Nikolova, N., Reihlen, M. & Schlapfner, J. 2006, 'Modelle der klienten-berater-interaktion und ihre empirische bedeutung in der beratungspraxis' in Reihlen, M. & Rohde, A. (eds), Internationalisierung professioneller Dienstleistungsunternehmen, Kölner Wissenschaftsverlag, Köln, Germany, pp. 299-339.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS

Conferences

Agarwal, U.A., Dixit, V., Jain, K., Sankaran, S., Nikolova, N., Müller, R. & Drouin, N. 2017, 'Exploring vertical and horizontal leadership in projects: A comparison of Indian and Australian', Accelerating Development: Harnessing the Power of Project Management, PMI India Research & Academic Conference, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, pp. 165-177.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Project-based organisational forms are becoming more and more prevalent in many industries, and leadership influences projects' success ultimately impacting the organisational performance. Two types of leadership styles have been explored: vertical and horizontal. This study aims to identify the nature and balance of vertical and horizontal leadership in projects to allow project managers to consciously poly these approaches in different situations. A case study-based approach is adopted wherein, two case studies from India and three case studies from Australia are included . A comparative study of leadership styles is performed to find the best contextual fit for leadership styles. The findings reveal that that national cultural is not a major factor in influencing project leadership. Rather, organisational culture and a shared understanding on leadership practices is what influences whether vertical or horizontal leadership will be more prevalent. Senior leaders' initiatives to create and support a culture of sharing ideasand decisions, backed by project manager's approach enable effective balance between horizontal and vertical leadership. Horizontal leadership is further by regular meetings and social interactions. Prevalence of horizontal leaderships is demonstrated in technical decisions, as team members have the best expertise to address technical issues. In contrast, strategic decisions are normally discussed with the project manager and often escalated to senior leaders for decisions.
Muller, R., Nikolova, N., Sankaran, S., Hase, S., Zhu, F., Xu, X., Vaagaasar, A.L. & Drouin, N. 2016, 'Leading projects by balancing vertical and horizontal leadership – International case studies', Manageable Cooperation?, EURAM, Paris.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Leadership has become a central theme in the project management literature. Two major streams of research have emerged in studies on project leadership: the person-centered or vertical leadership stream, which focuses on the leadership role and skills of project managers; and the team-centered or horizontal leadership stream, which recognizes the distributed form of leadership in projects. Previous research in project leadership has focused mostly on vertical leadership while in recent studies horizontal leadership has begun to emerge as an important area. While some view these two forms of leadership as separate, in reality, projects have to include both forms of leadership simultaneously. Studies on new product development teams have shown that horizontal leadership supplements, but does not replace, vertical leadership. We investigate the interrelationship between vertical and horizontal leadership in projects and argue that projects are characterized by vertical leadership which provides a socio-cognitive space in form of structures, processes and shared frameworks that enable the team to engage in horizontal leadership. Based on a study of projects in different organizational contexts in Australia and China, we provide insights about the characteristics of these socio-cognitive spaces and how they contribute to a balance between vertical and horizontal leadership in project management.
Gibson, A., Knight, S., Aitken, A., Buckingham Shum, S., Ryan, P., Jarvis, W., Nikolova, N., Tsingos-Lucas, C., Parr, A., White, A. & Sutton, N. 2016, 'Using Writing Analytics For Formative Feedback', UTS Teaching and Learning Forum, University of Technology, Sydney.
Schweitzer, J., Nikolova, N., Edwards, M. & Jakovich, J. 2015, 'Spaces for entrepreneurship: From education to incubation', Asia Pacific Research in Organization Studies (APROS) Conference, Sydney.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Muller, R., Sankaran, S., Drouin, N., Nikolova, N. & Vaagasaar, A.L. 2015, 'The socio-cognitive space for linking horizontal and vertical leadership', APROS EGOS 2015, Sydney.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Naar, L.V., Nikolova, N. & Reihlen, M. 2015, 'A change of space: the influence of an innovative building on organizational strategy', European Group for Organisational Studies, Athens.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Logue, D.M., Nikolova, N. & Patrick, H. 2014, 'Politics of Field Emergence: The Creative Industries in Australia. European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS), Rotterdam, The Netherlands', European Group for Organization Studies, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Schweitzer, J., Edwards, M., Nikolova, N. & Nicolai, C. 2012, 'Designing Entrepreneurial Work Environments: Exploring emergent design processes', European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) Conference, Helsinki, Finland.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Nikolova, N. 2010, 'Trust as a leap of faith: Strategies for establishing positive expectations and safe dependency in client-consultant relationships', 26th EGOS Colloquium, Lisbon 2010, EGOS, Lisbon, Portugal, pp. 1-21.
Reihlen, M. & Nikolova, N. 2009, 'A self-organizing theory of professional service production: The case of management consulting', Passion for creativity and innovation, European Group for Organizational Studies, Barcelona.
Nikolova, N., Reihlen, M. & Schlapfner, J. 2008, 'Client and consultant interaction: Capturing social practices of professional service production', 2008 Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Academy of Management, Anaheim, California, pp. 1-6.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The interaction between clients and consultants during consulting projects is essential for their success and is, consequently, of critical importance for the long-term survival of con-sulting companies. Since the exchange of clients and consultants is embedded in ongoing social practices, it is essential to identify and analyse these practices in order to explain and design the client-consultant relationship. We integrate three main theoretical perspectives or models on the client-consultant interaction the expert model, the critical model and the social learning model to develop an empirically grounded theory on this issue. Based on the investigation of seven consultancy projects within an international technical consulting firm, we identify three major practices that characterize the client-consultant interaction shaping impressions, problem-solving, and negotiating expectations - and discuss their char-acteristics, activities, and contingencies.
Nikolova, N. & Devinney, T.M. 2008, 'The nature and role of power in client-consultant teams: An empirical study', EGOS, EGOS, EGOS, Holland.
Chelliah, J., Nikolova, N. & Davis, D. 2008, 'Gaining the competitive edge: The key to successful client consultant relationships', Managing in the Pacific Century: Proceedings of the the 22nd Annual Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, ANZAM, Auckland, New Zealand, pp. 1-21.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper reveals the lack of discovery of the interrelationships between the various factors identified as key factors in building successful in client-consultant relationships. Masterful management of these success factors could lead to fruitful outcomes for both clients and consultants alike. In addition, consultants mastering these factors could gain a competitive advantage in a highly competitive profession. This paper reviews both academic and practitioner literature in relation to factors that are seen as impacting significantly on consulting assignment outcomes for both client and consultant and highlights the dearth of research surrounding the investigation of the interplay, connectedness and relationship between the various factors identified in isolation in the existing literature. In addressing this gap, a conceptual framework is proposed with a broad research agenda with seven propositions to establish the linkages between the significant success factors identified in the literature. This paper makes a unique contribution towards future research in this respect through the provision of a clear conceptual framework and robust research agenda.
Nikolova, N., Reihlen, M. & Schlapfner, J. 2007, 'Models of the Client-Consultant Interaction and their Empirical Relevance to the Consulting Practice', 23rd EGOS Colloqium, EGOS Colloqium, EGOS, Vienna, pp. 1-35.
Nikolova, N. 2006, 'The nature and role of integrating practices in client-consultant teams.', EGOS 2006 Sub-theme 04 (SWG): Professional Service Organisations and Knowledge-intensive Work, EGOS 2006, EGOS, Bergen, Norway.
Nikolova, N. 2005, 'The nature and role of power in client-consultant relationships', Unlocking organisations - EGOS Conference, EGOS Conference, EGOS, Berlin, Germany, pp. 1-25.
Nikolova, N. 2004, 'The Client-Consultant Interaction in professional business service firms: outline of the interpretive model and implications for consulting', 20th EGOS Colloquium, European Group for Organization Studies, Ljubljana, pp. 1-30.

Journal articles

Ahuja, S., Nikolova, N. & Clegg, S.R. 2017, 'Paradoxical Identity: The changing nature of architectural work and its relation to architects' identity', Journal of Professions and Organizations, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 2-19.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Naar, L., Nikolova, N. & Forsythe, P. 2016, 'Innovative construction and the role of boundary objects: a Gehry case study', Construction Management and Economics, vol. 34, no. 10, pp. 688-699.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Physical objects have long been used in addressing the challenges involved in constructing innovative buildings, yet their significance for collaborative problem solving in inter-organizational projects is rarely acknowledged. The aim of this research is to investigate what happens when a project team has to collaboratively innovate to address radical design challenges in a construction setting. We focus on the role of a full-scale mock-up of a faade in transforming the design intent for a building by Frank Gehry into design realization. The concept of boundary objects is used as an analytical lens via a case study methodology utilizing non-participant observation of weekly meetings and workshops over a period of 10 months covering client, consultant and contractor involvement. The research shows the role of mock-ups in radical construction settings is in tension along three delivery dimensions: performance, aesthetic and technical construction. Task completion competed with the requirements for experimentation around innovative problem solving with the how to construct it problem left unresolved. The findings suggest that co-location and synchronicity are critical conditions for collaborative and innovative problem solving in radical construction contexts. Project teams need to create open-ended 'moments' for iterating critical objects and the interactions that take place around them.
Nikolova, N., Moellering, G. & Reihlen, M. 2015, 'Trusting as a 'Leap of Faith': Trust-building practices in client-consultant relationships', SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 232-245.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Nikolova, N., Clegg, S.R., Fox, S., Bjørkeng, K. & Pitsis, T.S. 2013, 'Uncertainty Reduction through Everyday Performative Language Work. The Case of Coaching', International Studies of Management & Organization, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 74-90.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In this study, we focus on coaching in the context of small and medium-size enterprises in the creative industries. We draw on data collected from five business-coaching organizations over numerous coaching encounters with their clients. Using detailed conversational data drawn from these coaching encounters we analyze the ways in which business coaches practice "active listening" and "reflective questioning" in order to reduce the uncertainties they and their clients face when working together. We show that they do so through the strategy of positioning "performance" as central to their practice. Successful performances depend on the ability to convince clients that one's performance is what it represents itself to be: a performance that is brought off by detailed everyday language work, mimicking the client's language back on to the client. In this way, coaches demonstrate themselves as skilled analysts of everyday life and masters of listening.
Reihlen, M. & Nikolova, N. 2010, 'Knowledge production in consulting teams', Scandinavian Journal of Management, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 279-289.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The central thesis of this paper is that the production of knowledge in consulting teams can neither be understood as the result of an internal interaction between clients and consultants decoupled from the wider socio-political environment nor as externally determined by socially constructed industry recipes or management fashions detached from the cognitive uniqueness of the clientconsultant team. Instead, we argue that knowledge production in consulting teams is intrinsically linked to the institutional environment that not only provides resources such as funding, manpower, or legitimacy but also offers cognitive feedback through which knowledge production is influenced. By applying the theory of self-organization to the knowledge production in consulting teams, we explain how consulting teams are structured by the socio-cultural environment and are structuring this environment to continue their work. The consulting team's knowledge is shaped and influenced by cognitive feedback loops that involve external collective actors such as the client organization, practice groups of consulting firms, the academic/professional community, and the general public who essentially become co-producers of consulting knowledge.
Nikolova, N. & Devinney, T.M. 2009, 'Influence and power dynamics in client-consultant teams', Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 31-55.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The aim of this paper is to provide a clearer picture of the nature of power imbalance in client-consultant teams, which has negative consequences for the development and implementation of consultantsâ recommendations, and to outline ways how to avoid such an imbalance in the first instance.
Nikolova, N., Reihlen, M. & Schlapfner, J. 2009, 'Client and Consultant Interaction: Capturing Social Practices of professional service production', Scandinavian Journal of Management, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 289-298.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Based on the investigation of seven consultancy projects within an international technical consulting firm, we identify three major practices that characterize client-consultant interaction â shaping impressions, problem-solving, and negotiating expectations - and discuss their respective characteristics, activities, and contingencies. Our discussion of these practices provides not only a more differentiated picture of client-consultant interaction but also uncovers the critical role that clients play in these practices.
Chelliah, J., Nikolova, N. & Davis, D. 2009, 'Outsourcing to self-employed knowledge workers: What are the key success factors?', NZ Journal of Human Resources Management, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 72-85.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper reveals the lack of discovery of the interrelationships between the various factors identified as key factors in building successful in situations where organisations outsource knowledge work to self employed management consultants. Masterful management of these success factors could lead to fruitful outcomes for both clients and consultants alike. In addition, consultants mastering these factors could gain a competitive advantage in a highly competitive profession. This paper reviews both academic and practitioner literature in relation to factors that are seen as impacting significantly on consulting assignment outcomes for both client and consultant and highlights the dearth of research surrounding the investigation of the interplay, connectedness and relationship between the various factors identified in isolation in the existing literature. In addressing this gap, a conceptual framework is proposed with a broad research agenda with seven propositions to establish the linkages between the significant success factors identified in the literature. This paper makes a unique contribution towards future research in this respect through the provision of a clear conceptual framework and robust research agenda.
Nikolova, N. & Devinney, T.M. 2008, 'Influence and Power Dynamics in Client-Consultant Teams', SSRN Electronic Journal.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
Clegg, S.R., Burdon, S. & Nikolova, N. 2005, 'The Outsourcing Debate: Theories and Findings', Journal of Management & Organization, vol. 11, no. 02, pp. 37-52.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Clegg, S.R., Burdon, S. & Nikolova, N. 2005, 'The Outsourcing Debate: Theories and Findings', Journal of Management & Organization, vol. 11, no. 02, pp. 37-52.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site

Other

Nikolova, N., Reihlen, M. & Stoyanov, K. 2001, 'Kooperationen von Managementberatungsunternehmen: Eine explorative Analyse'.

Reports

Leung, L., Nikolova, N., Schweitzer, J., Goldsby-Smith, T., Whybrow, T. & Jurd, K. 2016, The View From The Top – 2016 Innovation Report: A conversation with Chairs & CEOs of 20+ major corporations on the state of innovation in Australia, pp. 1-40.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Mercer, Second Road, SpencerStuart, Australian Governement Creative Industries Innovation Centre