Dissertation blog #1

2 minute read


‘Dissertation-Blog’ #1

Dear network,

As my PhD is nearing its completion, and because fatherhood has given me some much-needed time to rest (when there is no diaper to replace, belly to fill, or cuddle to give), I feel that this is a good opportunity to communicate what I have been up to these last six years. The short answer: A LOT, and possibly, too much.

Being a ‘management scholar’, I am interested in research questions that involve organizations and people in organizations. In particular, I study the behavior of lead managers (e.g., CEOs) which are in charge of organizations that face financial distress. This topic is super interesting, as the managers’ decisions may alleviate the distress, or make it even worse, possibly dooming their organization in the process. In my dissertation, I studied psychological processes that explain why managers (fail to) respond to crises, how managers strategically use verbal communication to influence their stakeholders to prevent their organzation from being downgraded, and whether managers also feel psychologically attached to their organization when it is faltering.

I learned many things during my PhD, ranging from skills in teaching and presenting to advanced data science methods. Although I had some minor experiences in programming before entering the PhD, I have learned a variety of techniques to collect, process, and analyze big data projects. Among others, I have built a massive database of conference calls, for which I developed a suite of tools and algorithms that allow me to analyze the textual content of these calls (e.g., emotions, identification with the organization), link this content to different audio dimensions (e.g., what is the speaker’s emotional tone of voice?), and give me the opportunity to understand how these aspects interact in the dynamic context of a conversation.

At least to me, doing this work is exciting, as it is at the academic frontier of my field, but also because my insights, data, and tools are important to companies that work with communication-based data to, among others, improve financial trading algorithms, customer support tools, or voice-controlled software applications.

Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to publish regularly a small blog of each project I have been working on during my PhD and reflect on my journey. As I have yet to find an academic/industry/hybrid opportunity from September onwards, I hope that writing these blogs may also help me to reflect, decide, and find my next career move!

Also, if you have any questions regarding these mini-blogs, feel free to comment or send me a PM!