When I asked the second student about her dissertation, she explained that the subject fell into the area of governance. I had seen that term on several paper titles, but the academic usage had not occurred to me. It made perfect sense, once she explained it, that governance was another word for leadership. Since leadership had been the first topic of interest to me when I first thought I wanted to become a professor, I was fascinated to learn that term for it. Apparently many research papers get written on how the leaders involved in the formulation and execution of strategies impact their success. Other aspects of leadership get studied as well, but that was one subject she and I discussed.
In short, I realized I could specialize in strategy and focus on the area of governance. I could examine the qualities of leaders that correlate most strongly to well executed strategy. I could examine the importance of leadership in strategy in general. More and more ideas come to my mind, and I realize I need to look back over the articles from the most recent conference to familiarize myself with current work on governance.
P.S.: Tomorrow - why I should turn down Harvard.