Friday, 28 June 2013

PhD update

I have stayed quite quiet concerning my PhD and partly because there has been so many other exciting things happening this spring. However, there is many good news. And I also wanted to share a couple of learnings that I’ve had so far. But let’s start with the news.

First of all, my first article (co-written with Tarja Valkonen) is published, and can be found here. Unfortunately the article is in Finnish but I am planning to write a short summary of the main content here in the blog as well. 

Second, I finally (after over 20 attempts) received a grant for one-year full-time PhD work. This is happy news and forces me to get on with it. It also means I need to re-think some of my work routines. Actually, I don’t really have any routines at the moment. And that needs to change. I like routines, they make me do stuff more effectively, and that makes me feel good in the end of the day.

Finally I have started collecting my data. I have decided to collect my data in two phases. In the first phase I am interviewing management team members of international companies. So far I have done five interviews and hopefully there’s at least five more to come. I have to say that it has been a challenging task to find people who would be willing to be interviewed. The reactions have been from no response to ”of course, I always try to participate in these kinds of things”. Luckily there are wonderful people who are willing to help and create new connections for me.

In the interviews I ask people to reflect how their management teams communicate, what works really well, what might be the challenges and how they have dealt with those challenges. I also ask them to describe what kind of interpersonal communication competence they think is crucial within management team work. The list of questions is quite long but so far I’ve managed to keep the interview in one hour.

And the learnings…

Before the interviews I was a bit nervous if I ask the right questions or that the interview stays on a superficial level. Luckily my wise supervisor suggested that I could think the interview as co-creation of knowledge. That I can contribute to it in other ways than just going through my list of questions. So I started to see the interview as a more equal conversation where both the interviewer and interviewee are creating the content together. Practically I asked a lot of questions but also offered some theoretical perspectives to be explored together.

Another important aspect that I’ve kept in my mind during the interviews has been that the reserved time needs to serve the interviewee as well. It has been important to think that I am not only there to collect data but also help the interviewee to reflect. I have wanted to offer the interviewees a space to think and reflect their management teams’ and also their own communication.

Next month I will focus on analyzing the interview data and writing my second article. After that I can hopefully start the second phase, which is going to be very exciting. But I will leave you with curiosity and write about it another time.

Happy weekend!

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