Joy and pain – a visit into scholarship: Managers’ lived experience as part-time doctoral researchers Towards the development of a conceptual framework

Haegele, Daniela (2022) Joy and pain – a visit into scholarship: Managers’ lived experience as part-time doctoral researchers Towards the development of a conceptual framework. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/LL81X92Z

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This research provides an in-depth study of the lived experience of German managers who undertake part-time doctoral study at a British University. The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), as a professional doctorate with its initial structured taught phase, is the subject of investigation. It is of particular interest to German business professionals as the national education system does not provide opportunities to undertake part-time doctoral study, especially in such a format. The focus of this study is managers’ experienced stress and the coping strategies applied as part-time DBA students, within their context and through the perspectives of other lifeworlds. Previous research on the doctoral experience has not focused on the DBA and, specifically, its related stress, or by applying interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). A case-by-case and across cases analysis is used to provide a holistic understanding of managers’ lived experience in their context. Four student cases were explored over 8 to 10 months through several interviews, with the students, their supervisors, their partners, and their work colleagues. The analysis generated six superordinate themes: Learning and challenging identity, balancing: negotiation and adaption, managing emotional fluctuations, relying on significant others, motivating and persisting and moving forward. Van Manen’s (1990) four existentials – (temporality, spatiality, corporeality and relationality) as the core structure of lived experience – provide a theoretical basis to illustrate the relationships and dynamics of those themes in a holistic conceptual framework of DBA students’ lived experience. Central in this framework is students’ research development as embodied practice, challenged by destabilising forces (experienced as stress) primarily arising from issues within temporality and relationality. In response, students seek control in the form of maintaining balance by negotiation and adaption, managing emotional fluctuations, and seeking support from significant others. Development happens in a cyclic fashion, where a maturation process appears to be characterised by passing a threshold while experiencing pain. Core findings reveal most stressors arise from the discrepancy between an individual’s mindset as a manager and the academic thinking and rigour required of a DBA. Being a ‘student’ in a novice role creates uncertainty and destabilises self-confidence and thus a manager’s identity. This illustrates that students’ research development requires learning and identity work. The findings illuminate the barrier between practitioner and academic thinking that DBA students need to overcome and emphasize the need for consideration in programme conception and acknowledgement by educators, supervisors, and prospective students of the individual’s process of development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Postgraduate research student experience; Part-time postgraduate study
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Gloucestershire Business School
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 04 May 2023 11:04
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 11:04

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