This week has been a little busier in the evenings than I had predicted as I utilised the extra hour or two from shorter working hours during Ramadan.  The activities in Second Life included conversing more with educators and researchers, and building some of my first inworld objects (a snowman and a spiral staircase!!).  The former activity went well giving me some new leads to look up in the coming weeks, while the latter I should say is not a core competency and nor will it ever be without a significant time investment…you need to have seen my snowman!!  Outside of Second Life I have registered for the Research PGC from SBS and made some refinements to the DNA design of the project see above image.


The first refinement is that I am pulling back from the full Sustainability Institute, at least temporarily, until funding opportunities show themselves.  Frankly, I just don’t have the resources or the bandwidth to commit to the ideal.  This in part possible through an insight shared by a practitioner and colleague that one of the best University Sustainability courses he ever attended used negotiation skills and role play – in real life of course.  To simply ‘wander the commons’ inside Second Life or use the SBS Virtual Campus will in turn lower investment/construction cost.


Virtual 3D worlds do offer unique opportunities for role play educating such as improved confidence and getting into the role e.g. I hate it whenever I am asked to do a role play during training.   Therefore, it is here that I make the second refinement reducing the focus from the multiple learning archetypes down to two – role play and discourse.


The third refinement is the addition of an initial research philosophy statement.  Ontologically and epistemologically I have my views and my preferences.  Simply put, while I see a place in the natural sciences for positivism and the concrete, my own experience in the social sciences lends itself more towards meaning, social constructive and subjective forms of knowledge creation.


More importantly, when one is about to dedicate many years to research – I think one has to be honest about one’s preferences.  If those preferences do not sit well with the method that will best answer the research question – then in my humble opinion – change the research question.  From my last bog entry my supervisor asked the following question:


“Regarding the research question: is it value shifts? attitude shifts? what’s the difference? how do values shift? through attitude changes? I think these will be important conceptual ideas to get clarity on.”


Thinking more about this question and about research philosophy may have helped me find an answer or at least a different question i.e. is this the right time to answer this question?  Perhaps the phenomenon under research as described in the image below and a different question becomes apparent – “Using 3D virtual environments, can sustainability discourse and role playing positively impact sustainable business practice?”































So does this mean another turn in my search for a researchable idea that satisfies my values, my goals, my preferences, and my need to do something that can add value to management and organizational practice?  Maybe!


Thinking ahead, if this research could prove that sustainability discourse, and role playing sustainability dilemmas created some yet to be defined change in managers’ awareness, or skills, or beliefs, or values, or attitudes, or behaviours, and perhaps develop a theory around these insights, then that sounds to me to be a useful project.  A project that organizational practitioners, sustainability educators; and educators in general would be interested the result.


As per usual, would love to hear from you your thoughts on this project.

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