Have you experienced the pure delight, the visual symphony, of looking to the horizon after reaching the pinnacle on a seemingly unending trek? When the view changes from the near detail of the next step to the overall context? Yesterday, I had exactly this experience with my research. After spending several weeks wading through a great pile of weighty tomes, academic articles and handwritten notes, feeling somewhat daunted by the seeming lack of progress, a penny dropped and the fog that'd been masking my view lifted.
All new knowledge needs to be built on a worldview (technically, an ontology and an epistemology). In my case, discovering the most suitable starting point for my governance research. I've been struggling with this, because the theory of knowledge doesn't come naturally to me at all. Much of the governance research to this point has employed positivist (financial analyses), post-positivist (structure and composition research) or constructionism (boardroom behaviour) worldviews. Unfortunately, much of the research to date has revealed very little about the impact boards have on performance. Therefore, my work needed to look at the problem quite differently if any progress was to be made. The new lens finally became clear during a meeting with my Supervisor yesterday, when we explored a couple of seemingly left-field ideas that I'd been investigating in recent days. An intense 30-minute discussion around the whiteboard was all it took. The path forward became clear. And in case you're interested, the worldview is pragmatism, supported by a multiple-case study design and grounded theory.
With the launching point now clear (in my mind, at least!), it's time to pause for a coffee and admire the view, before heading onward and upward again to face the next challenge. Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me in recent weeks, I (now) appreciate it.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and effective board practice; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.