The changing character of the management PhD and some reflections on how to arrest its descent to hollow virtuosity in producing meaningless texts
The PhD thesis has long been the defining landmark of every scholar’s life. Like the fictional hero of John Williams’s novel Stoner, many if not most academics of my generation, i.e. those who wrote their PhDs before the arrival of word-processors and computers, are known to keep a yellowing copy of their thesis, occasionally leafing nostalgically through their yellowing pages. Nostalgia is a ready lure for scholars reminiscing about their own PhDs but a bad guide in criticizing present practices. If, however, one resists the comforting temptations of nostalgia, reflecting on some developments in the meanings and practices of doctoral research can generate some useful insights. In this piece, I reflect on some of the major changes that PhDs in the social sciences have undergone in the past forty years or so, identify some of the challenges facing doctoral researchers today and consider some of the implications of these changes for academic research more generally.
Copyright (c) 2019 Yiannis Gabriel
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