Saturday, 8 May 2010

PhD day reflection

Participants at our round table included full and part time students, three academics, a South African, a Chinese, a Belorussian, and a Canadian. I don't know the other three nationalities. They all came with different research experiences and interests: human resource management, e-learning, ERP systems, Chinese investment, disconfirming communication, women managers and ICT.

My South African colleague strongly advised me that I needed to use the knowledge transfer literature, like Szulanski but I'm not so sure. Yes, knowledge gets transferred during a process of engagement, but knowledge isn't my focus. Does engagement alter the quality of the knowledge transfer? Probably yes, but my question is how people engage, not about the quality of the knowledge transfer. So that literature helps address a different question. And that was an interesting discussion.

The Canadian's research has a psychological element to it, so I'm not surprised she asked me about the affective factors of my research. (Pause and think, "'Affective', what does that mean?" Ah! emotion"). Yes, I'm aware of Saks work on employee engagement, requiring dedication, absorption and vigor, but I'm not looking at employee engagement with work, but at engaged relationships between people, which is a broader understanding of engagement, and has not been well researched. Nevertheless, I see the links and she and I could probably have useful further discussion.

She and I will be at the AOM conference in Canada in August so maybe we'll meet again.

Saks, A. M. 2006. Antecedents and Consequences of Employee Engagement. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(7): 600-619.
Szulanski, G., Cappetta, R., & Jensen, R. J. 2004. When and How Trustworthiness Matters: Knowledge Transfer and the Moderating Effect of Causal Ambiguity, Organization Science, Vol. 15: 600-613: INFORMS: Institute for Operations Research.
Szulanski, G. & Jensen, R. J. 2006. Presumptive Adaptation and the Effectiveness of Knowledge Transfer, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 27: 937-957: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. / Business.

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