Elphinstone PhD Scholarships in Management

Two Elphinstone PhD Scholarships in Management: Managing Work-Life Boundaries in a Digital Economy and The Role and Impact of 'Nationality' and 'Culture' on Business Styles and Business Outcomes

PhD Title: (Dis)Connected Working: Managing Work-Life Boundaries in a Digital Economy

Supervisor 1 – Dr Karolina Kazimierczak

Supervisor 2 – Professor Natasha Mauthner

The proposed project will explore organizational policies and practices related to technology and work-life balance, and the ways in which these make possible specific ways of working, living, and combining work with non-work activities and responsibilities.

The project will take a participatory ethnographic approach, and will draw on established methodologies of action research in organizations. It will be based within a single case study organization.

The aims of the project will include:

  1. examining the ways in which government and organisational policies and practices related to digital technologies, flexible and mobile working, and work-life balance impact – often in complex, unexpected or even contradictory ways – on how employees use work-related technologies in managing work, non-work, and the relationship between these;
  2. exploring potential disparities and inequalities in access to digital infrastructure across geographically diverse areas (across the rural-urban spectrum), and their potential impact on work and non-work practices and relationship between these;
  3. proposing new ways of studying organizational policies and practices related to technology and work-life balance.

The proposed doctoral project will be supervised by Dr Karolina Kazimierczak and Professor Natasha Mauthner from the University of Aberdeen Business School, and will build on an existing EPSRC-funded study, Digital Epiphanies, which investigates interactions between work, family life and technologies in the home. The project will form part of a broader programme of research exploring interactions between technologies and social worlds across different sites (family, organization, national and international policy, popular culture).

PhD Title: The Role and Impact of ‘Nationality’ and ‘Culture’ on Business Styles and Business Outcomes: A Comparison of Chinese and English Communication Practices

Supervisor 1 – Dr. Colin S. Clark

Supervisor 2 – [To be announced]

There is an established research literature showing that, in multi-national business situations, cultural differences between business participants have an impact on their business performance and that, as a consequence, people operating in multi-national environments need to be cognizant of such differences in order to conduct their business successfully. Somewhat surprisingly, however, very little of this research has directly examined the principal context within which such differences are liable to most commonly manifest themselves and have an impact on business actions and outcomes – the actual, everyday communication practices involving persons of different cultures. This project will examine a range of different real-life and simulated interpersonal business communication contexts (negotiations, pitch presentations, team-talks, etc.) involving Chinese and English speaking participants in order to determine the role and impact of nationality and culture on business styles and business outcomes. It is also expected that the recipient of this scholarship will attempt to determine: i) to what extent (if any) such cultural differences overdetermine the particular types of generic, non-culture and non-nationality specific communication skills that are fundamental to business communication success, regardless of the nationality and culture of the participants involved; and: ii) to what extent (if any) do participants’ perceptions about the culture of the person(s) they are conducting business with have an impact on their own business communication style and performance.

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