Research supervision as research culture developer

The idea of research culture is one which, compared to some other topics associated with research supervision, has been rare.

Schein (1990), writing about Organisational Culture is often credited with bringing the term into the vernacular. He recognised the provenance of organisational cultural awareness as having connections to Kurt Lewin’s notion of action research from the 1940s. Like many of the terms used to discuss organisational work, Schein (1990) suggested that organisational culture meant different things to different people.

In research management, organisational culture is important . As Castleman (1993) alluded to in her discussion of what is required to manage a research program, it is not only the resources and facilities that enable a student to complete their research program but also working in the context of clear but not restrictive policy and procedural guidelines. Whittle (1994), in describing a case study of research at university SA, also talked about policies, management and decision making, all as factors contributing to the overall practices of research at a university and influencing the way research was undertaken there.

Recently I have become aware of the impact of culture through marking assignments that explore the Bolman Deal framework (Bolman and Deal, 2003) for an MBA cohort. This framework applied to any organisation helps to look at specific problems operating within the organisation and categorises them on the basis of a framework. One of the sectors of the framework is Culture. This awareness raising, together with my own candidature moving me into an array of arenas each of which contribute to my advancement with my PhD, generates a timeliness to focus on the many and varied factors which impact on research culture at a university and specifically for the research students.
Under this heading I will write about

  • The dilemma of a research culture
  • Establishing a research culture through the supervision meetings
  • Co-authoring and the research culture
  • Research culture and the graduate centres
  • Coursework and its impact on a research culture
  • Colloquia and their impact on the research culture

and other topics pertinent to research culture as they emerge in my own practices of being a research student and observing the fabrication of a research culture around me.
As these topics are generated they can be accessed through the portal marked research supervision supporting a research culture
Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E. (2003) Reframing organizations: artistry, choice, and leadership 3rd Ed San Francisco, Calif. : Jossey-Bass.

Castleman, T. (1993) Building a research program. In Beattie, K. (Ed) So where’s your research profile? Union of Australian College Academics Melbourne, Australia.

Schein, E. (1990) Organisational Culture. American Psychologist, 45(2), 109-119.

Whittle, J. (1994) A model for the Management of Research Degree Supervision in a Post-1987 University. In Zuber-Skerritt, O. and Ryan, Y. (Eds) Quality in Postgraduate Education. Kogan Page  London, U.K.


About the (research) supervisor's friend

I work at a university helping university academics who are supervising research students. I am a research supervisor myself and also work as a research coach for people undertaking their research I was originally in a Management Faculty and when I completed my doctoral studies on 'doing a doctorate' I started working with research supervisors to help them improve their practice.
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