As a scholar, my goal is not only to advance my field of study, but also to establish a close link between my research and teaching. To do so, I contribute to my fields including, management, organizational behaviour, and human resource management research. In addition, I aim to make the connection between my research and teaching even stronger by contributing towards management education and development. I cannot make these contributions in isolation, and thus I work closely with both master’s and doctoral students to do so.
When working with master’s students, I typically set clear deadlines to achieve key milestones of the project. I believe a structured process is essential at the master’s level because of the timeframe for completion. For instance, I set deadline dates for completion of the literature review, revised literature review, methods, findings, discussion, and first complete draft. For each stage, I provide detailed feedback either in writing, verbally via Skype and/or face-to-face, or both. Again, because of the relatively short timeframe at the master’s level, I typically discuss plans for data collection at the very inception of the project in order to ensure its feasibility. Based on my experience, data collection logistics are particularly important to completing a master’s project on time.
At The University of the West Indies, I supervised many master’s students to completion. My first student completed a study of sexual harassment and employee commitment. He was highly motivated and a very good performer academically. However, his background in statistics was weak, which was problematic because his data needed to be analyzed using quantitative techniques. To assist him with his project, I conducted a two-day workshop covering the necessary topics, and invited other postgraduate students to attend. My second student recently completed a qualitative study of destructive leadership and burnout in a public health department. This student also needed close guidance during the data analysis stage, and so I provided detailed examples from my own work, and then referred the student to further readings. Both of these students have agreed to work with me so that their studies can be published in 2017/2018.
In addition to master’s students, I also supervise doctoral students. I regard doctoral students as colleagues, and thus use a considerably less structured approach than at the master’s level. Early in the research process, I work with these students to develop a rough plan detailing how they can complete their research in a specified timeframe. Then, I direct doctoral students towards ways that they can make a theoretical contribution to their field. For instance, one of my doctoral students is studying principals’ transformational leadership and school outcomes at the secondary school level. Here, I provided suggestions for making a theoretical contribution to transformational leadership theory, e.g., the reasons why distance may impact upon the degree to which principals’ transformational leadership behaviour influence teachers’ outcomes. Like this suggestion, I typically steer students towards adding to or extending the literature based on my own work. Throughout the supervision process, I use coaching techniques in order to develop independent researchers. Again, I intend to assist the doctoral students in publishing their work.
Overall, my approach to supervising students during research is perhaps best described as adaptive. The main criteria for determining the degree to which I engage in close supervision is the level of the degree. In addition, I take into account variations in students’ backgrounds and skills, and thus try to help them to address any gaps in their research repertoire. Finally, I try to keep my students motivated by empathizing with them during the research process – particularly for doctoral students. Here, I attempt to read students’ emotions and moods to determine when they might need a pep talk in order to rekindle their motivation during research. Clearly, my goal in the supervisory process is to involve students as part of my own research contributions, and hopefully help them to realize the importance of scientific progress.