A TRIBUTE TO GRAHAM DIETZ

Our dear friend and colleague Graham Dietz passed away a few days before Christmas 2014 following the aftereffects of a cardiac arrest. His funeral was held on 6th January 6, 2015 at Durham Cathedral in Durham, England.

On this page, we honour Graham both as a colleague and as a friend. Many of you knew Graham well and shared many experiences with him at conferences, seminars and through collaborative projects. If you would like to post something about Graham, we invite and encourage you to do so on this page. Below is a tribute to Graham by one of his close colleagues, Nicole Gillespie.

Working with Grahm's wife, Valeria Dietz, an education fund has been set up to help support Graham’s son Liam (11) to realise his father's dream of attending a top UK university. You may wish to consider making a contribution to this education fund. (Please see below for further details).

Tribute by Nicole Gillespie

I first met Graham at a conference in 2003. Graham was working as a post-doc researcher at Erasmus in Rotterdam and we were both presenting research on trust. We instantly hit it off and took a keen interest in each other’s work and ideas on trust, and were soon planning our first publication together over a beer at the local pub. Little did I know at the time, but that was the start of a wonderful journey working with Graham. Over the past decade, we completed many collaborative publications and projects together, as well as ‘gigs’ on trust as Graham liked to call them (i.e. seminars and workshops).

In his typically humble and unassuming way, Graham often described himself as ‘a simple man’. Simple man or not, he had a huge influence on those around him. I hope in this tribute to highlight just some of his many valued qualities and accomplishments that made him such a respected, admired and much loved colleague, educator, scholar and friend.


A stand out quality of Graham was his contagious enthusiasm. Whether it be for football, music, a particular tv series (e.g. ‘The Wire’) or teaching and researching on trust, his passion was clearly evident. Many of us who attended an EGOS conference with Graham knew that nothing would stand in the way of him watching his beloved football over a beer. He found it harder to convince people to share his rather eclectic taste in music…but his passion and enthusiasm for teaching trust never failed to capture an audience.

Indeed Graham was an extremely gifted educator and teacher. At Durham Business School, he was renowned for his success in building and leading the Masters in Management, making it one of the most highly ranked programmes in its class. He took great care to ensure not only that ‘his’ students received an excellent education but would also take international students under his wing ensuring they were socialised and integrated into the university and UK life. Due to Graham’s unwavering commitment to his students, many would describe their Masters’ year at Durham as one of the best of their lives. Graham took great pride in seeing his students graduate and go on to lead successful careers.


Graham’s reputation as an exceptional educator and scholar made him a highly sought after speaker and research-based trust consultant. He had a wonderful way of bringing a human touch to his teaching, imbuing it with his clever wit, deadpan humour and personal anecdotes that never failed to engage and inspire his audience. His teaching evaluations were exceptional. The list of organisations he ‘taught about trust’ is long and includes local UK organisations such as Sunderland City Council to high powered multinationals, such as UBS Bank, Lloyds Bank and most recently Barclays. He regularly received speaking invitations from influential groups such as the UK Parliament’s House of Lords and the Institute of Business Ethics. Many of us were fortunate enough to see Graham deliver one of his Teaching Trust workshops at FINT – testament to his generous spirit and genuine commitment to spread understanding of trust.

As a scholar, Graham was admired for his creative and brilliant mind and deep understanding of both trust and HRM. He was sought after as a researcher and collaborator both by scholars and organisations. Indeed, the Institute of Business Ethics commissioned Graham to write a series of practitioner-oriented reports and cases on building and repairing trust, and he was invited to research trust by the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Graham had great flexibility as a scholar that enabled him to draw inspiration and evidence from a broad range of sources and publish in a variety of outlets from top journals in management, business ethics and HRM (e.g. Academy of Management Review, Business Ethics Quarterly, Human Resource Management) to practitioner oriented journals (e.g. Sloan Management Review) and media outlets (e.g. The Guardian, The Sunday Times). He had a particular talent and passion for conducting case-based research and was dedicated to conducting and translating research to make it relevant and accessible to managers and practitioners.


As a writer, Graham had an incredible proficiency with the English language, a skill he readily attributed to being ‘the son of an English teacher’. He wrote in such a uniquely colourful and engaging way. As a native speaker, I thought I had a good grasp of English before working with Graham, yet he would regularly surprise me in his drafts with words that I had never encountered!

While we will always remember and admire Graham as a highly talented educator and scholar, many of us will remember Graham first and foremost as a much loved friend and colleague. Graham was principled in everything he did and had a clear sense of who he was, the values that he stood for, and what he considered right and wrong. His wonderfully caring and kind nature, his generosity of spirit, his compassion and unfailing respect for others, and his unwavering integrity and fairness in all things, made spending time with Graham simply a pleasure. I will always be indebted to Graham for the invaluable lessons he taught me just by being himself.

It is terribly difficult to come to terms with a world without Graham. He was too young to leave us. I know that I am not alone when I say that Graham will be keenly missed and always remembered as a highly esteemed, accomplished and dearly loved friend, colleague, scholar and teacher. You will always live on in our hearts and minds Graham.

Further tribute:
Li, P.P., Ferrin, D.L., Möllering, G. (2015). Editorial: Trust Research Community Misses an Outstanding Colleague and Friend: Graham Dietz (1969-2014), Journal of Trust Research 5 (1) 1-2.

Guest Editors (and FINT members) Nicole Gillespie, Reinhard Bachmann and Richard Priem have dedicated the Special Issue of Organization Studies 36 (9) on "Trust in Crisis: Organizational and Institutional Trust, Failures and Repair" to the memory of Graham Dietz, "a gifted scholar and inspiring educator who was passionate in his commitment to advancing understanding of trust in organizations" (p. 1138).

The second edition of the Handbook of Research Methods on Trust is dedicated to Graham Dietz by editors Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders: "His contributions to the conceptualization and measurement of trust were outstanding and we will sorely miss his inspiring insights" (p. xxiv).

A paper Graham Dietz was working on with his doctoral student Badri Zolfaghari was published in March 2016 by the European Management Journal 34 (2).

At the FINT 2016 Conference Dinner in Dublin, 17 November, Antoinette Weibel and Nicole Gillespie remembered Graham, whom many of those present had seen for the last time at the FINT Workshop two years earlier and who was sorely missed at the 2016 gathering.

EDUCATION FUND FOR GRAHAM’S SON LIAM DIETZ

To Friends of Graham,

When we first learned of Graham’s condition, we all wanted to do something to help and show our support. Flowers seemed a nice gesture, but not nearly helpful enough. Now that our dear friend has passed, we can perhaps do something to honour him and help his son Liam who has lost one of his biggest supporters. Graham was so proud of Liam and had dreams of him going to Uni. Liam talked about someday meeting his Dad for lunch at Uni.

With Graham’s passing, Liam needs our help to make Graham’s dream viable. With the support of Bob Hurley (Drbobhurley@gmail.com), Valeria Dietz has set up an account for contributions in Graham’s honour to support Liam’s education. To donate, simply use this paypal link:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=valeriadie...



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