Yesterday I found out I am to have one, maybe three, operations on my arm if I am to regain full use and mobility. It seems like an excessive amount of time, money and effort to fix an injury I received from falling over, but I guess them’s the breaks (pun intended.) While I’m already feeling a bit overwhelmed, the knowledge that I will be back to one handed typing for another three months (at least) makes me want to hyperventilate. Any recommendations for voice activated software for the computer would be well received. If it’s not too expensive, and works, it might be a good solution.
I’ve given myself a deadline of one month to finish my methodology consideration, and my supervisor wants to see me in two weeks, so it’s all systems go. I’m trying not to think about the fact I have 50 essays to mark as of 12th June.
Today I’m thinking about storytelling and how it has impacted my life, and my research choices. I’ve always been a reader and someone who gets lost in stories. My father taught me to read by us working through the May Gibbs books, and these are the first memories I have of being transported away.
As I got older, I was interested in the psychoanalytic and feminist implications of stories, especially fairy tales. I was fascinated by Bruno Bettelheim’s analysis of fairy tales from a Freudian perspective and wrote my first thesis on a reading of children’s fantasy film.
From a leadership perspective I found John Kotter’s discussion of how storytelling plays a role in change and leadership to be very relevant and useable. The power of story telling and narrative in our lives is to me, obvious, and clearly something that I keep returning too.
I hadn’t, however, considered it in terms of my PhD research. I was caught up in the positivist approach where I thought I could objectively study leadership phenomena. Now I know better. In some ways this is good as it has opened the door for me to consider narrative and storytelling, and clearly this is something good for me.
One issue that keeps popping up is the rejection of the idea of leadership. I see this so often when speaking on my thesis to others. “What is your topic?” “Leadership development in the Australian creative industries.” “That’s interesting because we have no leaders.” An example conversation I’ve participated in 10 or 20 times this year.
Then, with my students, I come across an active dislike of the term. In my leadership lecture last week I pushed them to name a leader they admired or inspired them – from the sector ideally. And not one of them could. In addition, when discussing the evolution of the degree they are completing they all indicated a name change that included the term leadership was a terrible idea.
Why this complete rejection of the leadership concept? They themselves saw the idea as elitist and not relevant. It is an area that I feel I have to explore, but the question is when and how – is it part of this thesis or another independent piece of research?
My current idea is to conduct me research through interviews, but not just with the subjects themselves, but with a number of people around them. I wonder then, if the idea of leadership rejection will come out in the study, or if participants who argue to contribute will have a different view?
Enough for now, I have about 20 books on qualitative and narrative research methods to get through.