It’s been a rough couple of PhD weeks. I’ve felt very stuck and inadequate. While I have been plugging away at my word count (now about 60,000) I’ve been increasingly concerned that I haven’t yet hit on the conceptual ideas that hold my thesis together. My ever calm supervisor suggests this will come, usually about 5 weeks from submission. But with 5 months before planned submission I’ve getting increasingly terrified. I really hit a road block with my third data chapter, which really should hold it all together – be outlining my key theoretical contributions. And they are just not there. The feedback from AIMAC 2015 is echoing in my head “You are just writing a consulting report.”
I have these interconnecting themes – leadership theory, identity development, communities of practice and social learning, but I can’t seem to put them all together.
Despite being a bit behind schedule I’ve decided to do two things this week:
a) Take a step back and re-read/take notes on the intersection of leadership/development/identity theory. This may lead to a few things including, a slight rework of my literature review, some changes to my methodology chapter and a centring of identity in my data chapters.
b) Have four days off. I’m finishing my job on Wednesday, and while I’m having an introductory meeting with my new job on Thursday I have decided to consider these days as holiday. My husband and I are going away for two nights and I’m going to recalibrate.
Today, however, I’ve sat down and read. A few lines within Carroll, B., & Levy, L. (2010)* stand out. They mention using identity as a theoretical and methodological frame to understand leadership development. Which is pretty much what I’m doing. Where they examine “future leaders” participating in leadership development programs, I’m examining “emerging leaders and their communities” within the cultural sector. Where they consider the influence leadership development programs have on identity construction, I’m considering how participation in communities of practice informs identity development.
So my whole thesis becomes:
- How do creative practitioners in Australia socially construct their leadership identity?
This research uses social constructionist concepts of identity as a theoretical and methodological lens to frame and understand leadership development within Australian Cultural Sector. The research demonstrates how communities of practices play a vital role in facilitating identity work for emerging cultural leaders.
I’m not sure where this is going, but I’ll follow it and see.
Carroll, B., & Levy, L. (2010). Leadership development as identity construction. Management Communication Quarterly, 24(2), 211-231.