Asking Big Questions That Matter: An Interview With Nancy J. Adler

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Contribution to a Book

Publication Title

Advances in Global Leadership



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In this interview, Dr. Nancy J. Adler describes her career trajectory, motivation, and the passion that have guided her interests and choices. Asking big questions that matter in her own research and encouraging others in the field of international management to do the same is one of her guiding principles. Dr. Adler details the startling career impact that resulted from her pioneering research on women who are global leaders in the 1990s. Given her groundbreaking research, her attempts to influence what scholars study and how they are evaluated, and her calls to action as a global consultant, speaker, and thought leader, she is one of academe’s most well-known and respected global leaders. Dr. Adler is the S. Bronfman Professor Emerita in Management at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), having received her BA in Economics, MBA, and PhD in Management. As one of the most widely cited international management scholars, she has authored more than 175 publications and received numerous teaching and research awards, including the Academy of Management’s (AMLE) Outstanding Article Award and Decade Award and the Sage Award for Scholarly Contributions in Management. She is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business, the Academy of Management, and the International Academy of Management. In addition, she was honored as one of Canada’s top university professors and inducted into the Royal Society of Canada. Her work has also been widely recognized beyond academia. She received the Prix du Quebec, Doctor Honoris Causa from Slovenia’s IEDC Bled, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Center for Creative Leadership’s Applied Research Award, the World Federation of People Management Associations’ Georges Petitpas Award, ASTD’s International Leadership Award, SIETAR’s Outstanding Senior Interculturalist Award, the International Leadership Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the YWCA’s Femme de Mérite Award. Although retired from the university setting after 40 years at McGill, Dr. Adler continues to consult and speak around the world. However, she now devotes more time to her art. She is a visual artist known for her paintings, monotype prints, and ceramic artworks. Her “Serendipity Suite” and “Reality in Translation: Art Transforming Apathy into Action” exhibitions were held at the Banff Centre, and her “Going Beyond the Dehydrated Language of Management” exhibition opened in Montreal in conjunction with the Academy of Management Meeting. Dr. Adler’s artwork is held in private collections worldwide.

Funding Sponsor

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada


arts and leadership, cross-cultural management, inconvenient truths, international human resource management, international management, Research questions, women global leaders


Global Innovation and Leadership