• Dr Who? Identity work in DBA students

      Kirk, Susan; Foster, Carley; Kougianno, Konstantina; University of Derby; Nottingham Trent University (British Academy of Management, 2017-09)
      This paper argues that the challenges experienced by Professional Doctorate students in completing their doctoral studies can be best understood through an identity lens. We explore how doctoral students engage in identity work as they transition through their studies, with a focus on the extent to which these senior managers accommodate the conferred identity as a student and finally, if and how their identity shifts to a doctorally qualified manager. We postulate that the identity work these students engage in will be influenced by the interactions they have with their supervisors. Additionally, we speculate trust within these interactions to be central to the student’s identity work. Thus, we will explore the role of trust in supervisory relationships, from the student’s perspective, and the implications this has for how supervisors are trained and how students’ expectations are managed throughout their doctoral studies. This study aims to contribute to identity scholarship in a novel context. By exploring the influence supervisors have on the doctoral journey, we will offer a contribution to the management of doctoral studies in higher education. Through an examination of the role trust plays in different relationships, we will offer insights into how a student’s trust in their supervisors can influence their identity work. Finally, by adopting an identity lens to analyse how senior managers accommodate the conferred identity of ‘student’, we hope to offer a typology of identity work upon which different students’ positions can be located and different approaches to supervision can be identified.