Alum of the Month - September 2023

Marta Stelmaszak Rosa

My motivation stems from a piece of advice I once heard at a conference “work on something that, if you weren’t an academic, you’d fight for.”



  • Programme studied: PhD in Management (Information Systems)
  • Year of Graduation: 2019
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Name: Marta Stelmaszak Rosa

Programme studied and year of graduation: PhD in Management (Information Systems), 2019

Since 2021, Marta Stelmaszak Rosa has been an Assistant Professor of Information Systems, and Professor of Analytics at the School of Business at Portland State University in Oregon, USA. Marta is currently working on understanding personal data through the lenses of data justice, diversity, equity, and social justice. She believes that we should encourage students to engage with these issues as they start their careers in a variety of information systems roles.

Current job title and description of what this role entails: In my current role, I conduct research that contributes to the body of knowledge in the information systems discipline with the aim of benefitting industry practitioners and feeding into the classes that I teach. Since I started my role, I’ve been focusing on understanding the recursive relationship between people and their data: particularly the data produced when we interact with various digital technologies.

The second very significant element of my role is teaching, and next term I’ll be teaching a class on solving business problems with analytics and visualisation, as well as data ethics, privacy, and security. I teach fully asynchronous online classes, and in person classes, which gives my students the flexibility to choose their preferred learning style. I use a lot of my research in the classroom, for example, I wrote a case study narrating the challenges of developing a personal pronoun system which raised significant questions around data justice, as well as the complex reality of developing an information system.

In my role, I also serve the academic community, which involves being a member of internal committees, as well as reviewing articles and conference submissions. I often serve as a track chair or associate editor and present my research at various conferences. A few months ago, I spoke at DataConnect West, a large national conference in the US focusing on data.

As you can see, my role requires me to combine long hours of deep research work and translate this into engaging lectures.

Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE?

I graduated in October 2019, and I relatively quickly secured a position at Portland State University. However, my start date was delayed due to the pandemic and the associated restrictions on travel and work in the US. Therefore, in the meantime, I worked as an LSE Fellow in the Department of Management Information Systems Group for about a year before I was able to start my position in Portland.

Can you provide a short summary of your PhD thesis and how it shaped the direction of your academic career? What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?

My PhD thesis was born from a simple observation I had when I started using a smart watch, and maybe this is something you’ve noticed yourself: instead of just treating the data my watch collected as records of my daily activity, I started to actively change what I did to improve the data (which once included walking for 15 minutes in heavy London rain just to meet the minimum number of steps per day!).

This personal experience made me interested in how data can impact people, and how it can play out in organisational contexts. I conducted an in-depth case study over the course of a couple of years to uncover how employees changed their behaviours in response to analytical systems introduced to monitor and manage their work. Take a read of a short summary of my findings.

Since first observing the recursive relationship between people and data about them, I became really interested in understanding the ways in which data shapes and dictates people’s actions. Gradually, this led to my focus on key aspects of human dignity and identity in a world where we’re increasingly represented by data about us. These are challenging and difficult topics that often take me into unchartered territory and demand many hours of work to understand concepts from other disciplines, in particular social justice. My motivation stems from a piece of advice I once heard at a conference “work on something that, if you weren’t an academic, you’d fight for.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and what have you learned from it?

A challenge I’m facing right now is learning how to frame the issues I observe related to personal data within the boundaries of my discipline. When I work on my papers, I always remind myself of a question we’ve heard very often in our PhD seminars: “What can we learn about information systems from this?”. This question developed into a regular practice I engage in to make sure that despite its interdisciplinary flavour, my work contributes to the core discipline I belong to.

What is your current research focus?

As companies collect more and more data about people, it’s crucial for research and practice to understand the deep implications of personal data on our personhood. Right now, I investigate these issues in the context of gender identity and personal pronouns, which are some of the keyways in which people describe their identities.

 Share with us your fondest memory of the Department of Management.

I’ll never forget my first encounter with the Department of Management as part of a summer school class in 2011. It was the first time I, a first generation, immigrant student with more than a full-time job, experienced the thrill of critical and analytical thinking that really opened my mind. It was probably one of the very first two lectures that put my life on a completely different trajectory. I’m sure that if I walked into the Wolfson Theatre today, I’d still feel the same excitement as back then! 

If you would like to be our Alum of the Month or if you would like to nominate a Department of Management alumni, please email dom.alumni@lse.ac.uk.