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Joseph E McCann III Obituary

JOSEPH E. McCANN III (1946-2015)

Management professor and dean Joseph McCann died on October 4 at his home in Fernandina Beach, Florida, after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 69.

Culminating a long and varied career centered in the academic discipline of management and academic administration, Joe was most recently Distinguished Principal Research Fellow and Principal Researcher, Human Capital, with The Conference Board. Earlier, at the University of Tampa he served as Co-Chief Academic Officer, Dean of the Sykes College of Business, Dean of Graduate Studies, Director of the TECO Energy Center for Leadership, and Professor of Management. He also served as the Dean of the Davis College of Business, Jacksonville University, Florida, and Dean of the School of Business, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington. Joe previously taught at Oregon State University, Emory University and University of Florida.

Joe McCann was active in executive education throughout his career, having operating responsibility for executive education centers and executive level programs at Emory University, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Florida, The University of Tampa, and Jacksonville University.

Joe took on responsibilities as an advisory board member, officer and committee chair in a number of professional organizations (including the Academy of Management, the Carter Presidential Center and AACSB). Through his engagements with a number of local business organizations in the regions where he lived and worked, he had strong impacts on the business communities in Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and south Puget Sound. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Human Resource Planning Society for five years. Recently he was Associate Editor, then Executive Editor of People & Strategy, a journal associated with HRPS. He served on the Board of Directors (Governance Committee), Russell Trust Company, Tacoma, Washington, for twelve years. He was active at the board level in the venture capital and business incubation fields.

Joe’s research interests were diverse – international business, mergers and acquisitions, entrepreneurship, family business, knowledge management, human capital and human resource planning, organizational agility and resiliency, and strategy in turbulent environments (social ecology). He produced over 40 journal articles and book chapters, plus a number of commissioned research reports. Joe published three books: Joining Forces: Creating & Managing Successful Mergers & Acquisitions (1988), with Rick Gilkey; Sweet Success: How NutraSweet Created a Billion Dollar Business (1990); and Mastering Turbulence: The Essential Capabilities of Agile & Resilient Individuals, Teams and Organizations (2012), with John Selsky. He was the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Walker Prize for best journal article (twice) from the Human Resource Planning Society (2005, 2010) and the International Leadership Award from the Academy of Business Administration (1994).

Joe McCann was an accomplished collaborator, working with 22 different co-authors during his academic career. With the late Eric Trist as an early influence at Wharton, it is perhaps not surprising that over time Joe’s research orientation became more practical and centered on people in the workplace. He became less patient with excesses of theory that could not be grounded in management practice, and he would want to know how a piece of research could be useful in practice, was it accessible, understandable.

Joe McCann earned an MA and PhD from The Wharton School, following an MBA and BA from the University of Washington. Between those degrees he was a U.S. Senate Intern (Budget Committee) for Warren Magnuson.

On a personal note, Joe was a good friend, valued colleague and mentor of mine for forty years. His was a restless, adventurous soul. He was a doer, not shy about instigating and managing change both inside the university and in the business community. He was comfortable in that ambiguous state of organization that comes with transitions. Joe knew what the byzantine academic game was, he knew how to play it, and he played it well.

He is survived by his wife Marti, three children, nine grandchildren, two brothers and a sister.

Contributed by John Selsky

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