SOCIAL SCIENTIST BY TRAINING, ACTIVIST AT HEART.
In my professional life, I am mainly a social scientist and am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow — funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) — at the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School and Centre for Social Innovation, where I study the organizational and entrepreneurial underpinnings of social innovation and change.
I have a PhD in Organization Studies from York University's Schulich School of Business, and in summer 2022, I will be joining Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business as an Assistant Professor in Business & Society / Sustainability.
I have contributed to building social, environmental, and financial technology startups in Canada, and worked in sustainability-focused consulting firms, social enterprises, and not-profit organizations around the world, and draw on these on ground experiences to inform my research in an effort to derive insights that drive meaningful action and social change. To date, I continue to actively contribute to various socially-driven organizations and projects.
I grew up in a small countryside town as an uninvited guest on the unceded traditional territories of the Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc/Shuswap First Nations within the province that we know today as British Columbia, Canada, but I have also lived, studied, and worked in an array of places around the world, including: Botswana, China, France, Japan, and Norway.
SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Judge Business School - University of Cambridge (Present)
Affiliations: Organisational Theory & Information Systems Group (OTIS); Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation (CCSI)
Vanier Scholar and Instructor, Schulich School of Business - York University (2017-2021)
Affiliations: Organization Studies Area (ORGS); Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business (COERB); Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (DIGHR); Global Labour Research Centre (GLRC)
Visiting Researcher, Sauder School of Business - University of British Columbia (2020)
Affiliations: W. Maurice Young Centre for Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Research
Select Awards and Honours
SSHRC Storytellers Research Communications Challenge - Top 25 Finalist (2020)
SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship - #3 Ranked National Application (2020)
SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarhip - #1 Ranked National Application (2017)
Chair - Evaluation Committee, Best Business Ethics Paper Award (2022)
Member Evaluation Committee, Best Business Ethics Paper Award (2019; 2020; 2021)
Best Social Issues in Management Paper Award (2018)
Best Business Ethics Paper Award (2018)
Chair, Academy-wide New Doctoral Students' Consortium (2017)
ThinkList Next, Centre for Business, Organisation and Society
Mitacs Accelerate Research Funding
Dean’s Recognition for Outstanding Teaching Contribution, Schulich School of Business
Best Master’s Thesis Finalist, Norwegian School of Economics
Dean's List for BCom, Gustavson School of Business
Canadian Millennium Scholarship Laureate
Governor General's Bronze Medal for Academic Excellence
Before starting my PhD, I spent several years in the depths of Vancouver’s startup scene with two close friends — Tom Kineshanko and Kevin Starke — actively contributing to a series of social, environmental, and financial startups at various stages of development centered around the deployment of digital technologies to create a better society and planet. The bulk of this time was spent within the confines of a holding company (Habitat Enterprises) that Tom and Kevin founded embracing a lean startup approach to build and contribute to a United Nations Clean Development Mechanism carbon credit development company (Habitat Carbon Assets), the world’s first “roof auction” for solar (Gridbid), and a suite of experimental financial technology solutions to societal problems (PowerLend), which spurred the initial development of a decentralized data and cryptocurrency platform (Walter.ai) amongst other ventures.
Professional Service Firms
During my time in Paris, I also gained experience working in professional service firms that were in the early stages of developing and implementing new social and environmental initiatives, including an energy access program for social enterprises in development countries (ENEA Consulting) and an ISO 26000 social responsibility audit program (Label Lucie).
Some of my earliest work took place in not-for-profit organizations focused on community and socio-economic development. The scope of this work included the creation and maintenance of social enterprises in and around the rural village of Palapye, Botswana (Action for Economic Empowerment Trust) and the promotion of local businesses in and around Victoria, Canada (Tourism Victoria).
Today, as a researcher, I frequently work hand in hand and in close quarters with organizations and entrepreneurs on my projects and continue to maintain strong ties to industry, enthusiastically embracing an engaged approach to research.
Learn about my PhD training and experience at the Schulich School of Business, York University
My research centers around the interplay between organizational and entrepreneurial settings and large-scale change in the context of social and environmental issue. As a researcher, my goal is to advance our understanding of what perpetuates and disrupts pressing societal issues, so we can better design effective interventions to address them and realize positive social change.
I study a diverse range of organizations and forms of organizing such as startups, established organizations, collaborative efforts, social movements, and new forms of organizing from across sectors, but tend to focus on entrepreneurial settings centered around social change efforts and maintain a particular eye on how social and cultural institutions shape and are shape by such efforts.
In my past and current projects, I study these dynamics in the context of the specific issues of modern slavery, stigma, and climate change as well as the broader contexts of technology, social innovation, and responsible business, including in my doctoral dissertation based on a multi-year ethnography at the intersection of blockchain and climate during the formative emergence of the non-fungible tokens ("NFTs") space entitled: Translating lightning in a bottle: Idealists, pragmatists, and the reorientation of translators at the intersection of blockchain and climate.
Scholarly Publications and Works
Phung, K. & Crane, A. (2018). The business of modern slavery: Management and organizational perspectives. In J. B. Clark, & S. Poucki (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of human trafficking and modern day slavery: 177-197. London, UK: SAGE.
Monographs / Dissertations
Phung, K. (2021). Translating lightning in a bottle: Idealists, pragmatists, and the reorientation of translators at the intersection of blockchain and climate. York University: Toronto, Canada.
Sadri, M., Helms, W. Phung, K., & Piazza, A. (2020). Unpacking stigmatization: Labeling, audience heterogeneity, and market-based sanctioning. 80th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 7-11: Virtual.
Helms, W., Patterson, K., & Phung, K. (2019). Ideological passion and the empowering sanctioning work of stigmatized actors. 35th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium. Jul 4-6: Edinburgh, UK.
Phung, K., Toubiana, M., Buchanan, S., Ruebottom, T., & Turchick Hakak, L. (2019). When stigma doesn’t stick: Occupational stratification in the sharing economy. 10th Oxford Reputation Symposium. Aug 28-30: Oxford, UK.
Crane, A., LeBaron, G., Phung, K., Behbahani, L. & Allain, J. (2018). Innovations in the business models of modern slavery: The dark side of business model innovation. 78th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 10-14: Chicago, USA.
Published as a “Best Paper” Proceeding (Top 10%)
Recipients of of Social Issues in Management “Best Paper” Award
Recipient of Social Issues in Management “Best Business Ethics Paper” Award
Featured in Financial Times Research with Social Impact
Helms, W., Patterson, K., & Phung, K. (2018). This isn’t for everyone: The origins of defiance and the preservation of stigmatized practices. 34th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium. Jul 5-7: Tallinn, Estonia.
Phung, K., Toubiana, M., Buchanan, S., Ruebottom, T., & Turchick Hakak, L. (2018). Uber’ing away stigma: The impact of technology of stigmatized occupations. 34th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium. Jul 5-7, 2018: Tallinn, Estonia.
Crane, A., Phung, K., LeBaron, G., Allain, J., & Behbahani, L. (2017). The dark side of creativity: Innovation in the business models of modern slavery. 28th International Association for Business and Society Meeting. Jun 29-Jul 2: Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Lodge, J. & Phung, K. (2021). The climate emergency and social evaluations: Constructing a new research agenda. 81st Academy of Management Meeting. Jul 30-Aug 3: Virtual.
Phung, K. (2020). Organizing for the climate emergency: Organizational underpinnings of climate action. 80th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 7-11: Virtual.
Designated a “Showcase Symposium” (Top 10%)
Phung, K. & Lu, C. (2020). Decentralized organization theory: Distributed trust and blockchain. 80th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 7-11: Virtual.
Caruana, R., Crane, A., & Phung, K. (2019). Advancing research on modern slavery and business: New theoretical and empirical directions. 79th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 9-13: Boston, USA.
Designated a “Showcase Symposium” (Top 10%)
Phung, K. & Lyons, B. (2019). You cite Goffman (1963) too? Exploring avenues for cross-level dialogue and research on stigma. 79th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 9-13: Boston, USA.
Designated a “Showcase Symposium” (Top 10%)
Organized Consortia and Workshops
Phung, K., Zhang, R., & Patterson, K. (2021). Demonstrating stigma in research: Practical and theoretical considerations. 81st Academy of Management Meeting. Jul 30-Aug 3: Virtual.
Aranda, A., Helms, W., & Phung, K. (2020). Expanding stigma research: Exploring stigmatized actors and stigmatizing audiences. 80th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 7-11: Virtual.
Micelotta, E., Hampel, C., Phung, K., & Patterson, K. (2019). Developing stigma research: Exploring how our lenses affect our research. 79th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 9-13: Boston, USA.
Phung, K. & Helms, W. (2019). OMT stigma café and chat. Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 9-13: Boston, USA.
Phung, K., Landay, K., Tribble, L., & Lee, S. (2017). New doctoral students’ consortium. 78th Academy of Management Meeting. Aug 4-8: Atlanta, USA.
Participation in Panels
Practical Translations and Op-eds
Industry, Policy, and Public Engagements
Accredited Observer Delegate. (2021). United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COP26 - Glasgow). York University Delegation.
Speaker. (2021). The cost of child labour: Ending child labour through supply chain transparency legislation. World Vision Ottawa Youth Council. Mar 28: Virtual.
Speaker. (2021). Modern slavery in supply chains: The case for corporate social responsibility considerations. Canadian Association of University Business Officers. Jun 15-17: Virtual.
Accredited Observer Delegate. (2019). United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COP25 - Madrid). York University Delegation.
Speaker. (2019). The straight goods: Canadian business insights on modern slavery in supply chains. Supply Chain Management Association of Canada. Jul 25: Virtual.
Speaker and participant. (2019). Roundtables on supply chain legislation. Employment and Social Development Canada – Policy Consultation. Jun 11: Vancouver, Canada.
Speaker and participant. (2019). Roundtables on supply chain legislation. Employment and Social Development Canada – Policy Consultation. May 23: Toronto, Canada.
Blog. (2019). Having an impact within and beyond the ivory towers. University of Bath.
Podcast interview. (2019). Modern slavery. York U Grad Life.
Watch my video recognized as one of the Top 25 Finalists in the SSHRC Storytellers National Research Communications Challenge
I am passionate about preparing my students for a changing society and do so by incorporating timely real world examples that are relevant to and resonate with my students.
Recognizing that how I teach is equally if not more important than what I teach in the classroom, and that how ideas are delivered and engaged affects our ability to understand and appreciate them, I am constantly exploring and updating how I can best deliver my courses to create effective and safe learning environments that enable my students to thrive in both in-person and virtual settings.
I invest in making the most of the time that I spend with my students and ensure that my teaching gives them the tools and knowledge that they need to continue to explore ideas beyond the classroom and develop as members of society.
Courses Under Development
Business in a Sustainable Society (BUS275) - Core Course
Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University
Organizations and Their Environments (ORGS2200) - Core Course
Schulich School of Business, York University
Emerging Perspectives and Issues in Blockchain and DLTs (ARST575N/LIBR559U)
Blockchain Summer Institute, University of British Columbia
“Kam was the best professor I had this semester or even in all my years at university. He made this course very interesting by bringing in real case scenarios of organizations and current news events. The way he brought in real case scenarios made me think further and I started noticing companies I wouldn't have otherwise. He not only helped me with the course but also my overall career growth.”
“I loved his energy, enthusiasm for the subject, and the fact that he would bring up examples within class that we were able to relate to but also related back to the course content. Definitely one of my favourite professors I have had thus far.”
“Kam was very passionate about the course and I loved that he was able to address us all by name. He gave time for everyone to speak and was very encouraging and respective of everyone's responses. He is very knowledgeable about the course content and provided insightful real life experiences. Really enjoyed having him as a professor, his 8:30am classes were always full as we all benefited greatly from his lectures.”
“Took time to make sure concepts were explained clearly and addressed all questions and concerns. Overall, one of the best instructors I've had at Schulich thus far. He made a 3-hour long, 8:30 am lecture not only more bearable, but one that was definitely inclusive and enjoyable to all.
“I liked the enthusiasm he showed for the subject and how clearly he was able to explain course material. Furthermore, he was very strong at inducing class discussion and easy to speak with in class.”
“Kam was amazing, very insightful, helpful, kind, and prepared. He wanted us to succeed, and showed true enthusiasm for the course.”