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Faculty Spotlight: Douglas Allen

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Conflict Resolution Institute

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Dr. Douglas Allen

Dr. Douglas Allen has been a staple and founding faculty member of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver since 1989, and lives by the expression that a rolling stone gathers no moss. From an early age, Dr. Allen's parents instilled in him an appreciation of global cultures that has been a continuous way of thinking not only throughout his career, but life as well.

Primarily interested in the regions of Southern Africa and China, Dr. Allen spent most of his life abroad, in part thanks to his mother and father who raised in him the Bahá'í Faith. Dr Allen's Bahá'í faith encourages world unity and understanding, a guiding principle in conflict resolution and increasingly in business management. Dr. Allen's office in the Daniel's College of Business is a testament to his travels: a model airplane collection from South Africa and Zimbabwe, a globe, a world map, as well as a model of the World Expo in Shanghai.

As the Director of the International MBA program, Dr. Allen has dedicated much of his life to building bridges between businesses and cross-cultural understanding. In an increasingly globalized world, it is important to recognize that business management includes not only interpersonal skills, but inter-cultural skills now as well. In 1991 Dr. Allen's father, Dr. Dwight Allen, Professor Emeritus of Old Dominion University in Virginia, told him that, "No self-respecting MBA program should not send their students to China." His father has traveled to China more than 50 times to work on education reform projects there, and has also worked for about 5 years in southern Africa with UNESCO AND USAID developing national teacher training colleges in Lesotho and Botswana. After thinking about his father's statement, Dr. Douglas Allen spent three weeks in China visiting various cities. Dr. Allen went on to write publications about China and repatriation issues, as well as management challenges that they face. Currently, he is researching how well expats from mainly China, but other various countries readjust to returning their home country after studying abroad, and the trials they face on that front concerning loss of respect, wages, and so on.

Repatriation issues are particularly relevant since many of the students at the Daniels College of Business are expats from the Asian region. With classes offered in Global Management, Conflict Resolution, International Law and Human Rights, it is one of the top business schools in the world, producing IMBA graduates who are ethical, sharp, and trained in cross-cultural communication in a business setting. Furthermore, Alternative Dispute Resolution is growing as an essential element not only in business management, but as a skill that all professionals should practice.

Dr. Allen predicts that Alternative Dispute Resolution will become more of a necessity in future times of war due to the increasing interdependence of nations on one another for resources and labor. Therefore conflict resolution will be a necessary skill and tool for professionals in International Business worldwide. Today within the Unites States, Dr. Allen sees our society becoming more polarized, where two sides cannot agree on identical data to base their political projections. The 2012 Elections in the United States has served as a reminder that we must change with the times, and hostility is not the best path to forming a more united tomorrow.
On that note, Dr. Allen sees the future of conflict resolution playing a larger part in litigation and alternative dispute resolution through mediation. He states that this has to be on a micro and macro level: beginning with families and ending on the national and international stage, it is all interconnected. Dr. Allen lamented the toll that being litigious has cost the US, and that most of these disputes have arisen from one or both parties not understanding or willing to agree on a common goal. In an international setting, these misunderstandings can be resolved with a better comprehension and appreciation of the other's culture.

Dr. Allen advises students in the Conflict Resolution and the IMBA programs to get out side of their comfort zones to really push themselves in exploring other cultures. Whether on campus at the University of Denver, in the local community, or traveling abroad "The more cross-cultural experience, the better".

Dr. Allen can be contacted at:

--Charlotte Prewitt