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Organisational Learning

After some weeks of terse emails, obvious disconnection, and slow pace from the advisory team I received a Dear John letter from my PhD supervisor regarding us parting ways and moving on!

For six months I have been working on my research area, ducking and diving, moving from here to there, often on the direction of my supervisory team….so to wake up this morning without one is quite strange – and highlights the risks commonly talked about in ‘how to get a phd…’ guides.  It was like holding the assumption that the future will not behave like the past as it has for others i.e. it won’t/couldn’t happen to me :o)

The reasons for the parting are reasonable enough – at least logically speaking.  For one the Abu Dhabi DBA has not lifted off since the first cohort meeting six months ago – and I was feeling a lack of direction and structure even if the personal support was there.  My frequent requests for clarity did not weld any results – so I sensed that all was not well in this regard.  One nail was being driven into the coffin!

Since my entry in September on my case for Inductive Research I also sensed tension and a diverging set of ideas about what is research, what is knowledge and how to go about getting it.  There was also this constant background noise of what has this Sustainability research got to do with Dept. of Management and Business?

It was only once I attended the Research Philosophy course did I find the right paradigmatic home for me i.e. Pragmatism, Interpretivism, and Radical Humanism.  This was the place where I was meant to be playing – irrespective of the research question or topic.  The final nail in the relationship coffin must have been my requesting adequate support from the supervisory team in this regard i.e. it seems very risky to spend the next 4 years in the ‘practice turn‘ if the rest of the team were looking for objective realities out there!

So, what’s next?  Well I have fired one request to Glasgow to work with someone I greatly admire and who is very inspiring when it comes to researching on the fringes.  I was declined once before but six months has passed with much progress and I am hopeful.  If not, then I will need to trawl through the available academics and look for a chemistry and shared interests that will help deliver results.

I had planned to spend the next week while on Eid break looking for theorists in the non functionalist and non structuralist camps who I might be able to anchor my research e.g. Shultz, Weick etc. I think some of that is possible – but perhaps the time will be better spent looking for a new advisor, getting registered, and finalizing my research philosophy.

Looking back on the October 4th Blog titled – ‘6 months down the drain….’ I could easily have inserted this as my title again today but I won’t.  For one I think it is untrue and unfair.  I have come along way – and I have gained an appreciation of the early difficulties one goes through on the PhD journey, and for that I will ignore placing blame for a Abu Dhabi cohort that never got off the ground, and instead I will thank Dr Catherine for her patience and kindness, and her advice.

It’s simple really – in the past six months I have learned a great deal about the Phd game itself, Sustainability, Education, Technology, Research, Philosophy, and most importantly I found a place I would like to be as a researcher – on the fringes banging at the edges of dominant functionalist research paradigms – looking for emancipation, and an increasing the acceptance for the practice turn and the Pragmatists – for me a clear bridge between the tender minded academics and tough minded practitioners!

If you would like to be my advisor or know of one! – drop me an email :o)

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