Kris Cooper

Visiting Lecturer, Universities of Otago & Canterbury

  • Area of Specialisation: Leadership, Strategy, Planning and Implementation, Human Resource Management and Organization Development
  • Faculty/Key Office: Visiting Lecturer, University of Otago and University of Canterbury
  • Education:
    • MCom, University of Canterbury,
    • Accredited Mediator, LEADR ,
    • BCom, University of Otago ,
    • PGDipBus&Admin, Massey University
Advanced business learning is incomplete without consideration of the leadership impact of individuals, and how strategy alignment and people policies affect business performance

International teaching and industry experience

Kris has been teaching in academic environments for nearly 30 years. Students have a lot to learn from the wealth of her knowledge, enriched by her work experience as a consultant and manager including middle and senior management roles in HR, marketing, planning and operations. Her consulting experience spans Australasia, advising businesses which operate globally. She has also hosted delegations from many countries throughout Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Her past role as National President of HRINZ saw her travelling and representing New Zealand and its people practices on the international stage. The heartening revelation over the decades has been that there is more in common with people and business internationally than there are differences. The differences however can be the un-doing of business prosperity, and Kris is always keen to share and exchange experiences with colleagues and students who have worked in different cultural settings.

Reasons Kris enjoys teaching in the MBA programme

Kris enjoys the quests of the Otago MBA students in learning how to improve business outcomes, and gets energy herself from learning about their work experiences and new ideas. She particularly welcomes the various stages of student realisation about the impact of the choices they make. She loves seeing the emerging consciousness that effective business is not just a great idea at the right time, and that people management is not just a process to go through. Rather, their own leadership choices and behaviours make or break the culture, and ultimately the bottom line, of enterprises. “Organisations and people in them are fascinating,” says Kris. “Everyone deserves a productive and satisfying work experience. If our classes prompt even the slightest tendency for business leaders to think about the impact of their decisions on both the culture and performance of their organisations and the people in them, I’m happy.”

Global Perspective

People make or break achieving business intentions and potential. The numbers on the Income Statements and Balance Sheets all reflect choices and behaviours of people. The courses Kris teaches reflect global research results about what works, as well as emerging thinking. Students are challenged to apply the principles to their own leadership practice, as well as to the global settings with which they are most familiar.

Being in a New Zealand university, Kris pays particular attention to the New Zealand context by way of applied examples, including the open commitment to biculturalism in government and quasi-government organisations. The result sought from this approach is a rich smorgasbord of learning about what leadership, strategy and people practices might apply consistently, and where to be careful because of nuances of difference. The ultimate questions remain: “What culture and performance do I seek for my organisation? How will my choices and behavioural actions make that happen?”

Professional Membership and Key Positions

FHRINZ (Fellow of Human Resources Institute of New Zealand)
MNZIM (Member of the New Zealand Institute of Management)
MInstD (Member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand)
Former National President of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand
Former Chair of the Research and Publications Committee
Managing Director, Kaycee Projects Ltd - Private Consulting Practice