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Bob Zmud: International Man of MIStery

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S: Bob Zmud: International Man of MIStery

FC: Bob Zmud: International Man of MIStery | August 2012

1: DEDICATION Over the years I've come to realize that for some reason it is easier to express gratitude to others than to be its recipient. Although you would prefer to quietly move into the next phase of our life together, I think it is important for you to know how many lives you have touched -- that your colleagues and students have not only appreciated your intelligence and work ethic, but also your friendship. As such, this book has given them an opportunity to express their best wishes for you on your retirement. I am so proud of all you have accomplished in your academic career and I look forward to sharing this next stage of my life with you. Always, JoAnne August 2012

2: Omar El Sawy | Bob Zmud has always been an enlightening fixture in the IS area for as long as I can remember. He has creatively structured major issues in our field and his writings have been platforms for many of us. He is also a super human being who is always willing to help. He may think he is retiring, but I am sure he has already been volunteered for several assignments!

3: I can't recall when I first met Bob. It was probably at the 1st ICIS in 1980 when I was a participant at the doctoral consortium. I became aware of Bob's work initially through his 1978 article "An Empirical Investigation of the Dimensionality of the Concept of Information" in Decision Sciences - which I read and used as a PhD student then at a time when IS work was sparse. My advisors at Stanford told me this guy had done good work and I should read the article. One time I recall was in the mid 1980s when Bob invited me to participate at a workshop in North Carolina. It was some collaboration with Arie Lewin and putting together Organizational Science and Information Systems folks, which predated both journals. I can't remember any of the details of the workshop, but I do remember the summer evening gathering at Bob's house on his outside deck and how welcoming he and JoAnne were to all of us. May your next adventures be just as warm and welcoming!

4: There probably wouldn't be an Advanced Practices Council of the Society for Information Management if it hadn't been for you, Bob. As our first research director, you shaped the program, brought us great researchers and research, and established for us the fine reputation we still enjoy among both the research community and practitioners. It was truly a pleasure learning from and working with you over probably close to 10 years. I always felt we were a team. The only downside was that we thought so much alike. I attribute to you the fact that APC has been able to attract such outstanding research directors to follow you - Blake Ives and Rick Watson. Your APC legacy is strong and solid. I wish you the very best success and lots of fun in whatever you plan to do next. Very best regards, Madeline [Weiss]

5: Dear Bob, You have made a difference. Your papers have made an impact and influenced research agendas. Your wisdom has benefited many young researchers and helped shape careers. Your quiet, but powerful, leadership has been instrumental in the evolution of the field. I have always admired you from afar, whether it be through the omnipresent "Zmud" at the end of reference lists or your insight and generous support of my career. I hope that as you reflect back- you can see the difference you have made. Good luck on your retirement. I hope you enjoy the new challenges you take up as much as we have enjoyed and benefited from your presence in the field. Varun [Grover]

6: Hard to believe that Bob is retiring. In 1974, Jay Nunamaker and I were migrating down to the University of Arizona from Purdue. We were going to to set up the MIS Department. As we all know, it became a remarkable academic center. What folks don't know is that we had a running start. Around that time there was a young man finishing his multi-disciplinary degree at the University of Arizona. So I claim that we had a great start to a great department - Bob Zmud was our first Information Systems PhD at the University of Arizona. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Benn [Konsynski]

7: What I remember most about Bob was his willingness, nay eagerness, to selflessly contribute to the development of his colleagues. He has helped me many times over the years over rough points in my papers (and in career matters) and I can never thank him enough for that. Enjoy your well-earned retirement, Bob!! Detmar [Straub]

8: Don't think: Look! -Ludwig Wittgenstein | At Bob's retirement party that we hosted in our home, I quoted a line from the movie "As Good as It Gets" -- the one that Jack Nicholson's character (who needs all the help he can get) says to Helen Hunt's character (who has it all together), "You make me want to be a better man." That sums up exactly my relationship with Bob. Every day of the nearly twelve years that I worked with him, he said what he meant and did what he said. He never preached. He never advised. He just was himself. His behavior was his message. His actions were his advice. In all my years working in academia, I have never seen someone like him. The thing that stood out most for me about Bob was his focus -- it was always on the process, never on the outcomes. If you did the right things, the results would follow. And they did. Five lifetime achievement awards. The first Michael F. Price Chair in the Michael F. Price College of Business. The first member of the Price College faculty to receive the prestigious George Lynn Cross Research Professorship. These were just a few of the many honors he received. And yet, he never mentioned any of these in any conversation. It just made him that much greater in my eyes. | Laku Chidambaram

9: Only a wall separated our offices, but his door was always open. And boy, did I go through that so many times!! No matter what he was doing -- and he was always doing something -- he had time for me. And for anyone who came through his door. He was generous with his time, his knowledge, his wealth, and most of all, his wisdom. And yet, as before, he never mentioned any of these in any conversation. A word about JoAnne ... as Bob himself liked to say, if there were no JoAnne, Bob would not have been Bob. They are a team ... a dream team! It was a privilege, an honor and my good fortune to work with Bob. He made me want to be a better man. He still does. And, I miss walking through his door. Laku

10: Dear Bob: Although we never worked at the same university, you had a significant influence on helping me think about research, especially early in my career. As I pondered over whether to continue to work on technology acceptance, your advice to me to work on "enduring phenomena" and ensuring that technology acceptance issues were indeed going to be enduring before investing further energy in that direction was very helpful. To this day, when I give advice to PhD students and junior scholars, I always share this pearl of wisdom from you (and attribute it to you, of course!). I wish you the very best in the future - and may you continue to inspire people as you always did as an academic. Viswanath Venkatesh (Venki)

11: Bob, My sincere thanks for taking me on as a coauthor over many years. Many people have asked how I was able to work with you – and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity. You accepted my initial clear ignorance of IT research, but knew how to take advantage of my few skills (in accounting and finance, no less) to publish top-tier research. I’ve always appreciated your work ethic and your insights into the literature and review process. You also taught me to pursue top-tier research that moves the literature forward. Much of the success of my academic career I can directly attribute to you. My sincere thanks! | Vernon Richardson

12: I consider Bob to be a mentor, a friend, and something of a professional father. He has taught me to live my professional life with integrity and authenticity, simply by being who he is. I vividly remember Bob walking into my office in 1996, just one week after I had moved there for my first academic position, asking - “do you have any papers for me to read?” I looked at the unopened boxes, then at him and shook my head no. But, this brief exchange set the tone - he would be in his office every day, working hard, and he expected you to do the same. Further, he would do all he could to support and help you. I got to work. One evening at 5 pm (after several weeks of working days, evenings, and weekends) I gave Bob what I thought was a pretty good paper from my dissertation, thinking now I could have a week or two of reprieve. Well, not quite. The next morning at 8 am, as I was walking into my office, Bob called out from his office just across the hall – “do you want to talk about your paper?” I walked into his office and he continued, “Let me be brutally honest! There is a paper in here somewhere, but this isn't it.” Oh boy. | Manju Ahuja

13: He then spent some time going over the paper with me, telling me to develop one particular idea with much more depth, and the rest to be removed and developed it into a different paper. I am glad I followed his advice. It took a while, but these two papers launched my career. My dissertation could just as easily have ended up in a smaller journal as one muddled piece of work. Today, I regularly tell my doctoral students this story, encouraging them to work hard but also seek feedback from experienced colleagues. Bob left Florida State a few years later, but he has remained my go-to person for discussing any major professional decisions. Knowing that I could call him anytime has been a big source of comfort. I always know that his words are unadulterated by ego or self-interest. His advice usually comes in the form of a very fundamental question that typically gets at the core value or issue that situation presents. Last year, I had the pleasure to present him with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the AoM conference in San Antonio, and I felt we had come full circle. It is difficult for me to imagine the IS field without Bob’s presence, but the way his presence has touched many of our lives will continue to shape the field. Thank you, Bob, for being you who you are. I am grateful for your mentoring and your friendship. Enjoy Taos, Tallahassee, and the grandkids and do stay in touch!

14: I was fortunate enough to have you in the office next door. I truly appreciate all the candid advice. Even though I didn't always act on it, I generally eventually realized you were right. I just wanted you to know, Bob, your thoughtful insight didn't fall on deaf ears. I wish you a terrific retirement filled with health and happiness. | Traci Carte

15: Bob has been the captain of those in the second generation of information systems academic leadership. He has been a role model to many of us through his intelligence, vision, perseverance, and, most of all, by his caring and generous nature. For over thirty years, I have been fortunate to have often crossed professional paths with Bob. and have always benefited from, and highly valued, those interactions and his insights. He has played a substantial role in shaping the intellectual direction of the field and also, like Gordon Davis, its egalitarian culture. While there is so much for him to look back on with considerable pride, I feel certain he will instead spend his retirement enjoying his time with JoAnne and savoring the moment. In doing so, he might help those of nearing that same life transition to do the same. Thanks for everything Bob! -- Blake [Ives]

16: Dear Bob: It is difficult to believe that you are retiring! You have been one of the early pioneers of our field and have had a tremendous impact on the intellectual growth and development of the discipline. Your contributions are a legacy for generations of IS scholars to come! It has been a true privilege to know you personally. You have been a mentor and an inspiration from the first time I met you when I was a first semester doctoral student through the years we overlapped at FSU and later. Thank you! Congratulations on your retirement! Our heartfelt wishes for a relaxing and fun time with family - especially enjoying your grandchildren - and having the time and flexibility to do all the things that you want to do. Atlanta/Athens are not far from Tallahassee, and Arun and I hope that you and JoAnne will be able to visit us in the future. Best wishes for enjoying this new beginning in your life, Elena [Karahanna]

17: Dear Bob, It seems like only yesterday that I met you for the first time at some conference or another back when you, I, and the field were young. It's hard to believe that we have all so ... matured. And the whole time you've have been "framing the domains of IT research"! It's a pleasure to have worked with you - and I hope there will be opportunities for play with you and JoAnne in the future. All the best for your retirement! Lynne [Markus]

18: Bob, welcome to retirement! It’s a fabulous time of life, when you can say “no” to a bunch of stuff you no longer want to do and “yes” to all kinds of new things. Thank you so much for being an important role model and mentor to me. You probably don’t remember this, but I first met you at the ICIS Doctoral Consortium (Tucson, 1984), when you gave us very pragmatic advice about how to do research. I can’t remember exactly what the advice was, but I think it boiled down to “learn the genre.” Over the years, you opened doors for me, wrote recommendation letters for me, and supported my efforts to provide service to the field – how many developmental workshops did you do for me? Lots! Thank you for that. I learned so much by listening to the advice you gave others. | Here are a few gems: Remove all unnecessary instances of “you” or “your” from a review, so the author can listen to your feedback. What drives professional success is submissions not publications, so celebrate every submission and evaluate your annual success on that basis. Never turn your back on an invitation to revise, no matter how risky it seems. Return papers to co-authors as fast as possible (that is, not as fast as BOB can, but as fast as a normal person can). Acknowledge mistakes and move on. Prioritize your efforts according to your values, not your vita. Hang out with good people. There is always a place for humor. There are countless other lessons, but these are the ones that jump into my mind. Thank you for every one of these lessons! I hope you and JoAnne enjoy your retirement as much as I am enjoying mine. Life is good! Cynthia [Beath]

19: Bob, There is a lot I could say about you and your career, but I'm sure you have heard it all before. Instead, I'd just like to say that I am very glad that Karen and I got to know you and JoAnne better during our years at Florida State. Thanks for including us, and thanks for all the support you have given me during my career. Karen and I wish you all the best in your retirement, and I know it will be just as full and as meaningful as your career has been. Warmest regards, Joey [George]

20: To My Distinguished Colleague Bob Zmud: When you retire, the MIS field will be deprived of the valuable future contributions of one its shining lights of its first generation of PhDs. (I include myself within this group of students who received their doctorates in MIS in the 1970s). You have been one of the leaders of our field during the last three decades with your excellent and groundbreaking research work, training of doctoral students, mentoring of junior faculty, and editorial responsibilities. I am very proud of the two papers we co-authored; especially the Identity paper, not that necessarily because our views were the only way to shape our field, but rather because we generated some debate about the future -- which rarely happens in MIS. I hope to see you in our major conferences (I am sure you still have lots of irons in fire) and wish you a fun-filled retirement. All the best, Izak Benbasat

21: My thoughts as I consider the retirement of Bob Zmud. Bob Zmud has been one of the critical builders of the academic field of information systems. He is not only an excellent scholar but also an exemplary colleague. He has been a friend to many, both faculty and students. He has helped and mentored many of us in the field. He has shown leadership when leadership has been needed. His research has been insightful, and has added to the body of knowledge in the field. My interactions with him have been numerous and all of them constructive and helpful. In his time as Editor-in-Chief of the MIS Quarterly (1995-98), he strengthened the journal on its path to be the number one academic journal in the field. Congratulations to Bob on another milestone in his life. | Gordon B Davis

22: Hi Bob, Time flies! Can't believe you are retiring already. It seems like just yesterday when we met at ICIS in Ann Arbor and discovered our shared DC roots (Zebra Room! Redskins!!). Wishing you and JoAnne all the best in this next phase of your lives. You have always been a great colleague and I consider myself fortunate to have also become friends with both you and JoAnne. I still laugh when I think about some of the small moments we have shared. Look forward to more good times with both of you in the future. All the best, Mary Culnan

23: Bob Zmud walked into my office at the University of Arizona about the first day I started working there in 1971. “I hear you’re the OR guy. Can we do some work together?” There started a long friendship with one of the best IT people around. Bob knew what he wanted to learn and where he wanted to go with his career and never wavered from those aspirations – indeed reaching them consistently. He and his wonderful wife JoAnne were great friends to me even then. I wish them both well on their next steps wherever that may take them. -Tim Shaftel

24: I was an isolated MIS researcher, the only one at my University, when Bob Zmud reached out to me in 1984. He asked me to attend a planning conference for ICIS 1986 that was held in the Del Coronado in San Diego, California. Omar El Sawy and I were the “emerging scholars” whom Bob invited to give our perspectives on the future of Organization Science as it related to the IS discipline. That invitation completely changed my career because it introduced me to the broader network of IS researchers. Periodically over the next decade and a half, Bob was wonderful about offering me opportunities for research and service in the IS discipline. He was a true mentor ---- And he didn’t have to be: He wasn’t at the same university; he wasn’t my doctoral supervisor. Yet, he went out of his way to help me as a developing researcher. And he did so with a perfect, understated grace. This is the first time I am admitting to a secret envy: Bob is able to read a paper once and have complete comprehension of its strengths and weaknesses. With this single reading he is able to offer wonderful insights to the authors. What a time saver! I wish I could accomplish as much in two or three readings of a paper that he is able to accomplish with his one.

25: Bob became a very dear friend when I worked with him at the University of Oklahoma from 1998 - 2001. Rusty and I spent countless weekends with Bob and JoAnne exploring the Arbuckle mountains, finding good restaurants in the Oklahoma City area (actually, that didn’t require a whole lot of weekends), eating JoAnne’s wonderful cooking, and just hanging out. We spent three wonderful Superbowl Sundays NOT watching the Superbowl. We even saw in the year 2000 without a single Y2K bug. but rather standing next to space heaters in the freezing cold at a ski resort in Taos. A lot of wonderful memories of Bob and JoAnne are stamped in my memory. Curiously, I couldn’t find a single picture of these fine times. Both Rusty and I are hoping that we will get to see more of Bob and JoAnne now that they have moved to Florida. Carol Saunders

26: Bob, the last thing you want is to be the center of attention. Too bad! When we met in '83 I had no idea you'd be so influential in my life -- and what a great influence it was. Your willingness and ability to take risks with your research (and do so successfully!) and to extend the field's boundary with new ideas was great fuel for our collaboration back in the day and the lifetime friendship we established. You know darn well how I benefited from finding you at UNC. Thanks for carrying me for a while, and I think many of us in the field have ridden your strong back one way or another at times over the decades. When this all started, weren't you about 6'8"?! We all owe you a big thanks. Time now for you to lighten the load and enjoy JoAnne, kids, and grandkids even more. (At a personal level, Jane and I were reminiscing the other day how when we house- and babysat for Danny and Jana --Danny never spoke and little Jana never kept quiet! Love to Joanne and the kids from Jane and me!) Andy [Boynton]

27: Dear Bob, I know each year when I attend ICIS, one of the things I will see is Bob Zmud sitting on a couch or a table in the hotel lobby, deeply engaged in research conversations with some young scholar or the other. You have been directly a mentor to several outstanding IS students and indirectly to countless more through your active involvement in academic workshops, doctorial, junior faculty, and senior faculty consortiums! The entire IS community will miss you, but then you are not really retiring, are you? I expect to see you around for many, many more years in the IS and AOM conferences! Thank you for all you’ve done for me and for our academic community. Best Wishes. -Anandhi [Bharadwaj]

28: Dear Bob, Welcome to the “other side”. I hope you will be able to stay only “semi-retired” so that you may continue to enjoy the rewards of senior academic status on your own terms, as I have. Also, selfishly, I hope to be able to see you at conferences from time to time. You will always be welcome and in-demand. My recollections go way back to first reading your articles after we both emerged from PhD programs in the mid-1970s. I think we first worked closely together at the ICIS 1985 program committee, where you nominated me as a substitute. No one can imagine these days how small the PC was in those early days, but it was a great experience watching you process manuscripts at a rate unimaginable to me. Thank you for being my “gatekeeper” into ICIS service roles. Another recollection is our Siskell and Ebert discussant show at AoM in 1989 – Washington DC. I can’t believe, first of all, that you went along with this idea and, second, that we actually pulled it off! What fun.

29: I also appreciated the opportunity to work with you on our “one-off” article for IFIP and IT&P. I can hardly remember putting work into that piece, either because I didn’t or because the work was effortless. It’s been great to visit with you and JoAnne socially in Chapel Hill, Tallahassee, Norman, Miami, and Atlanta over the years. This has given us the opportunity to share experiences well beyond academic ones. I have 3 bio-brothers, but I don’t recall having the same sort of conversations with them as I have with you, my academic brother. Of course, nothing tests a professional relationship more than an ICIS conference committee. I still think our 1993 Orlando conference was great and, looking back, seems to signify (for me, at least) the end of conferences that could be run on a more human scale. Thank you for exercising outstanding leadership and allowing me to team up with Bob Bostrom (another academic brother) for the program committee. Your peerless scholarly achievements will continue to influence future generations of scholars and practitioners. You are a great “no-nonsense” scholar who incredibly displays no trace of ego in anything you do, yet your contributions are always first-rate. Beyond the wealth of important ideas contained in your research articles and books, you have shaped the conduct of many people throughout the profession by serving as a role. I wish more people could be like you. All my best wishes for all time!! Dan Robey

30: Dear Bob, Congratulations on your retirement! Thank you for being a wonderful role model over the years for so many of us! While your scholarship has had an immense impact on the development of the field and my personal scholarship, it was my good fortune to get to know you early in my career. I have very much enjoyed and learned from our many conversations at conferences, workshops, and colloquia visits to our respective universities. I have always enjoyed, and benefited from, working closely with you, be it on the ISR Special Issue that we co-edited, various editorial roles, or the APC project when you were SIM Director. And, thank you for always lending an ear and providing your thoughtful advice whenever I needed counsel on various professional matters. Elena and I wish you a wonderful retirement and very happy times with family and friends, and we hope that JoAnne and you will be able to visit us in Atlanta/Athens. Best wishes, Arun [Rai]

31: Dear Bob: Even after all these years, you are still an inspiration and positive force in my life. Thank you for making the effort to develop my potential. St. John’s University has been the perfect place for me to grow, and I never could have gotten here without your support and guidance. Best wishes to you and JoAnne, Brenda Massetti

32: Dear Bob, As I have told you many times, there are not enough ways or words to describe the many positive ways you impacted my future in just three short years of working together. You were an excellent mentor. While I am sure you would have preferred a doctoral student who simply showed up, did the work, and went home, I had to tell you how my day was going, how life as a doctoral student was affecting me, and so much more that I am sure there were days when you wanted to throw your hands in the air and shout, “Enough!” But you never did. You were patient and kind, mentoring even when I thought I did not need mentoring. You taught me not only how to do research; you also taught me how to be an effective teacher, a good mentor, and an ethical person. You led by example. You were encouraging when life or others were discouraging. You were there when I needed a shoulder to lean on – even though I am sure you were wishing someone else’s shoulder was available! I am the success I am today because of the time I spent under your tutelage. You served as a role model, a mentor, and indeed a friend. The following is just one example of the world view that you fostered in your students. During our first research literature seminar, we seven students were awestruck by a question you had posed about an article we had read on MIS research. We were looking at each other – and not at you – as though hell itself might freeze over before we had an answer to your question. You interrupted our non-productive thoughts and said: “Excuse me; what we are talking about here today – the subject of this seminar – will not cure cancer.” I wrote that in my journal that evening. You never took yourself, or us, too seriously. You realized the true value of what we do in the world, but you also realized there were others who did serious work, too.

33: Bob, I am so grateful to you. Your mentorship and direction of my doctoral program and initial research resulted in the happiness and success I have today. I mentor my students based on the model you gave me, listening to them even when I have other things I would rather do, encouraging rather than being negative, and simply being there as a sounding board. I have the career and passion for what I do because of you. Simply said, THANK YOU! I hope that you and JoAnne have a glorious time in retirement and are as blessed as you have helped so many others to be blessed. Always your friend, Mary Brabston

34: Bob, I would like to say thank you. You changed my life. Without you, I would not be a professor. You encouraged me to enter FSU's Ph.D. program, carefully mentored each student, and provided invaluable dissertation guidance. Getting a Ph.D. was a life goal for me. I am so very grateful you were there and I remember your words often. I wish you the very best in retirement! Very best wishes, Melinda [Cline]

35: Dr. Zmud: I am forever grateful and thankful for your role in my admission to the PhD program at Florida State and as my dissertation advisor. When I reflect on my thoughts and academic skills at that time and compare them to those of today, I have you and other faculty to thank for what I believe to be significant growth and accomplishment as an academic. I try to use this growth and accomplishment in the best way possible. I have always had this sentiment. Dr. Z, you are the best!!! Hayward Andres

36: Bob, It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you over the last 10 years and I look forward to continuing to do so over the coming years. I have learned so much about research, about collaborating and being part of a team, and about mentoring from you – about having the courage to pursue novel ideas, about valuing everyone’s abilities and input, about just doing instead of talking... I appreciate the faith you’ve had in me and hope to vindicate it yet. I am also grateful for your and JoAnne’s warmth and kindness since I moved to Oklahoma. I have many cherished memories of discovering Oklahoma and surrounding areas with you, of traveling around Ireland, of you both with Surya, and always of great food and conversations in you guys’ company! Regards, Shaila [Miranda]

37: Hey Bob, best wishes for your retirement days ahead! I imagine they will be busy ones, but maybe without the same commutes. It has been great knowing you and working with you all these years and I look forward to seeing you again at future events. Regards, Burt Swanson

38: We all need role models in our lives that provide a compelling vision of what possibilities to strive for, who inspire action, and define a set of values and behaviors. Bob has epitomized that person for me. He probably did not know this, but when I was a young assistant professor, fresh out of graduate school, for me he was the iconic scholar in our discipline. I was so much in awe of him that I would not make eye contact at conferences. When I finally did manage to speak with him it was a signature day in my life – I had spoken with the “Z Meister” (my pseudonym for him.) The years went by and Bob and I became colleagues at Florida State University. Here I had a chance to get to know the rest of the family and have many fond memories of spending time with Bob and JoAnne. I got to know the “real” Bob – someone who liked to bike, travel, eat good food (with JoAnne’s gourmet cooking skills this was a no-brainer), and enjoyed cats! The years I spent with Bob as a colleague just down the hall were incredible for my personal development as a scholar. I still recall the one thing doctoral students were most scared of – Bob scrunching his nose and saying “that’s not very interesting.” I used to worry that he would say that to me some day when I was waxing forth about an idea, but he did not! That’s a trait I have emulated since (and my students try hard to not elicit that response). Time moved on and we all left FSU for other destinations. I saw less of Bob, but he still remained a role model. More years went by and it was time for Bob and JoAnne’s daughter, Jana, to get married. We went back to Tallahassee to attend the wedding and it reminded me of how long our association had been. | Ritu Agarwal

39: So what are the qualities that I admire in Bob? First and foremost is the intellectual curiosity that infuses every pore of his being. I have never known someone who was just basically inquisitive about each and every idea, phenomenon, or new development in the organizational sciences. Second, is his generosity with his time to help others improve their research. I don’t believe Bob has ever turned away anyone who needed his advice on how to make their work better. Third, is the incredible discipline Bob has in terms of getting things done. We all know procrastination well – Bob is one of the few really busy people with an amazing turn-around time on any task he works on. Finally, and perhaps most significant, is his modesty and unassuming character. For all the accomplishments he has, many others would become arrogant and stand-offish. Not Bob. He remains one of the most unpretentious and at the same time, one of the most talented senior scholars in our field. In the 25 years I have known Bob he has enriched my professional life in countless ways. I have only one regret – that I never co-authored a paper with him. I have often thought about a paper that would be “from A to Z” (get it?) Perhaps one day it will still happen. I don’t believe Bob will ever really retire – his mind will simply not let him. I will close by sharing another nickname we have for Bob: we affectionately call him “Guruji.” This is a word in Hindi, my native language. Here are some translations of what the word “Guru” means: an intellectual or spiritual guide or leader; any person who counsels or advises; a mentor; a leader in a particular field. The “ji” is just a mark of respect. What more can I say?

40: "Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." Jimi Hendrix I met you in 1988/89 as an MBA student enrolled in your Intro to IS course at FSU. Although that only lasted two weeks (admin transferred me into another class), that introduction gave me a glimpse of things to come. You were in hot demand as an instructor and I finally secured a seat in your Technology Impacts course. “Ah-ha,” I said to myself, “now I’ll learn the secrets of IT.” What I learned was that one can be passionate about ideas. The ideas you brought forward about an otherwise dry topic, ignited a spark for many of us. Sizzling with my new MBA, I found myself wanting more after a year in the trenches. I wanted to learn more about ideas, particularly this new technology and ability to enable change. A different sort of activism was awakened Your knowledge spoke to me. Not simulation models, nor analytical models – rather the IT impacts an MBA professor had relayed 2 years earlier. Though your wealth of knowledge was generously shared, I am most grateful for your wisdom which quietly revealed itself though the next four years. You held my feet to the fire with rewrites - and I learned how to craft a paper. You held my hand when I lacked confidence – and I learned to speak in public. I recall your retrieving me (quaking) from my room an hour before my first major conference presentation (AoM 1991), walking me to the ballroom, guiding me through a trial run, then taking me to lunch (Coke was never appreciated more). You quietly calmed my anxiety without mentioning a word of it. Of course, anxiety was high when I thought Harvard was coming to Tallahassee for an informal recruiting visit. Recruiting of another kind was at hand. You kindly came by to help with the encounter and I will be forever grateful for the conversation you provided.

41: You have always been very generous with your time, effort and funding – which had a tremendous impact on your students. Your open door policy made you approachable and available. I realize now what a gift it was to have such access to you. You handled my tears of frustration with practiced expertise – quietly waiting for me to finish then moving onto the next item for discussion. And I didn’t know my sentence construction was so bad until I got your markups. Your effort in smoothing my “dense” language is truly appreciated. Finally, little did I understand at the time how your practice of funding second year PhD students to attend their first ICIS would change my lifeI met Barrie in Copenhagen (ICIS 1990). Your mentorship has been a never-ending gift. Your friendship is a lifelong treasure. Barrie and I truly enjoyed sharing the Canadian Rockies with you and Joanne. We hope freedom from teaching and administration will bring you our way again – for outdoor adventures and an exploration of novel ideas. Wishing you peaceful days interrupted by much laughter. Enjoy this next chapter. -- Vicki Mitchell

42: Dear Bob, I still vividly recall our early morning walks across the Raquette River, as newly-minted Assistant Professors nearly forty years ago, when we shared our hopes and dreams for the future. Potsdam was about as far away from the action as you could be and yet we had big ambitions and we both not only survived but, I'd like to think, actually did accomplish much of what we had dreamt about back then. As someone who has looked with interest on all you've accomplished, I think that you had one hell of a great trip along the way: added to the body of knowledge, built a new generation of successors, had fun and made friends; what more could anyone have hoped for? Congratulations on all you've achieved and good luck on all that comes next! Bill Fischer

43: Working with Bob was a tremendous experience and I am grateful for the time he spent with me. As I said in the dedication to my dissertation, I came to view him as the model scholar. He exemplified all of the characteristics of greatness that I lacked (many of which I still lack). I would like to think that his biggest impact on the field will be through us, his students. However, given his vast contributions, I don't know how you'd measure such a thing. Thank you for it all. John R. Carlson

44: Dear Dr. Zmud, For some strange reason I never thought about this day ever coming and I have no idea what you are going to do if you are not at school sitting at your desk! You have been so pivotal in my life and in the life of my children and I often thought of that day when you said, “Yes.” I cried with joy and pure disbelief all the way back from Tallahassee to Gulfport knowing that it was THE most important day of my life and that from that day on it would change my future in ways that I could never have imagined. A couple of my favorite memories: the first day of the first seminar. You asked Harold a question and Harold began a five minute answer that I didn’t understand a word of. I’m sitting there wondering what in the world he is talking about and the minute he finished you turned to me and said, “Laura, what did Harold just say?” I felt like a deer in headlights and for a fleeting second began to calculate how I was going to bluff my way through this one. Quickly deciding I should not even try, I said that I didn’t know what he said. You said, “Neither did I ... it doesn’t matter what you know if nobody knows what you are saying.” It is too bad that you didn’t get to teach that lesson to every professor! Another, the second day of the first seminar. You looked through all of our first article summaries, picked mine out, passed it around, and said, “Here is a perfect example of what NOT to do.” Yikes! I wondered every day of that program if I was going to make it through all the way up until the day of the dissertation defense!

45: I wish you every happiness and all peace and want you to know that you have touched so many lives through the lives you have touched. Through my connection with the Ph.D. project I mentor the most incredible young professors across the country. Through my University I have just been awarded the most prestigious teaching award in the entire State of Texas. Beginning this Fall I am serving as a Chair on my first doctoral dissertation and I hope that I will bring the same patience, guidance, and support to my student that you gave to me. Knowing that I have the capacity to change his life in the same way that you changed mine is an overwhelming responsibility that means everything to me. My life is so rich and full with so many opportunities all because of that "Yes" so many years ago and with every honor, award, recognition, and achievement, I know who I have to thank for it all. With all my heart and for everything my life has become ... To Sir With Love Laura Lunstrum Hall

46: Bob is very generous with ideas and time. I can remember a time when I asked for his feedback on a paper before submitting it to a journal. He provided very thoughtful comments the next day. He offered to read the paper again once I revised it according to his comments. And he did for two more rounds. Being a co-author or not, Bob sees every paper as an opportunity to contribute to the field. Ning Nan

47: Dear Bob, Meeting you in the late eighties was a memorable and life-changing event. Getting to know you was the beginning of a successful professional partnership and a friendship that has meant so much to me. At various times, you were my mentor, collaborator, and friend. Our ten years at Florida State have been the best and I have cherished our conversations about research, career, movies, life, and basketball! Getting to know JoAnne has been double the pleasure of our friendship. I have always felt a special privilege to be your close friend and have the opportunity to call you any time or seek any advice. I know that your retirement is only a small step toward enabling you to truly enjoy what you value - research, writing, travel, and family! Rekha and I wish both of you many wonderful years of enjoyment and look forward to our continued friendship. I know that we have many more things to accomplish together. Thank you for being an important influence in my life! Vallabh Sambamurthy

48: Dear Bob, I know that you will hear from a whole host of your colleagues and friends about their reflections on your extraordinary contributions to our field over your amazing career. It’s hard to believe that you are retiring, as you have been a mainstay in our community from the beginning. I have many memories of what this has meant to me over those years. Some experiences stand out above all the rest. The first is what one of your former doctoral students once told me and I’ve repeated the story often, even though I don’t remember anymore who first told me this. The story goes that you told this student: “I’ll work as hard as you’re working.” This simple statement was both a tremendous motivation for the student and a great compliment to you. Your students knew that if they devoted themselves with high respect for what they were doing, then you would match them every bit of the way, with rapid turnaround and the best in mentoring and care. They learned what it means to have a work ethic of the highest standard.

49: Another thing I think about every time I see you is how easy you make it all look. This goes all the way back to my personal saga on the task-technology fit paper that was published in MISQ in 1998 with that wonderful footnote: “Robert Zmud was the accepting senior editor for this paper.” I kept a timeline of the development of that paper, which I would sometimes show in doctoral seminars, as there was much to be learned from that saga. The timeline started way back in 1991, when I first started working on the idea. After being rejected at ISR, we sent it to you at MISQ. My notes say: “5/18/95, mailed preview copy to Zmud, got comments back almost immediately.” Of course it would be almost immediately, it was you! We submitted it, got a revise & resubmit, worked on it too long, and then withdrew the paper because I was embarrassed that we had taken so long. Then came the critical moment, recorded in this note: “Aug ’96, encountered Zmud at AoM, had a walk and chat, major motivator!” There you were, walking with me at the conference entirely by accident, with who knows how many things on your mind, and you articulated for me a way of thinking about those revisions that gave me a doable vision of my own work. Now that’s amazing! And I’m sure the number of times that you have done that for others as well is uncountable. But the best memories that I have are more personal ones, when you entrusted me and Mike to be the “on-site” grown-ups for your beautiful daughter during her student days in Boulder. What a pleasure that was, to get to know Jana and spend time with her during that part of her life, and even more so now to see her adult life and her own amazing family. That was a special treat, to have a small part in her life. So, with love and respect, I wish you congratulations on your retirement! Thank you for all you have meant to me and to so many others, Ilze

50: Dear Bob: What an influence you have had on individual lives and the field of IS! You may not realize all of the lives you touched during your career: your work and your wisdom impacted many of us who never had the opportunity to work with you directly but still benefited greatly from your experiences. I learned much about writing and publishing from you as you were the editor who handled my first solo publication in Organization Science. Your guidance and patience, as well as the high standards you set, had a tremendous impact on me and my ability to publish then and in the future. Your work made a difference. Thank you for all your contributions! With best wishes in your retirement, Laurie [Kirsch]

51: Lovingly compiled by: Dan, Jana, JoAnne + Samba

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  • Title: Bob Zmud: International Man of MIStery
  • Tributes from colleagues, to celebrate Bob's retirement
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  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Updated: over 4 years ago

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