April 16 2013
Elizabeth McLean, Ph.D Candidate
I am currently in the dissertation phase of the ILR PhD program. For my dissertation, I am studying employee voice, which is whether employees feel like they can speak up about ideas for improvement or work-related issues to their direct boss. To explore this topic, I’m collecting data at an Indian IT business services and consulting firm (which I am calling “TechCo” to protect its identity) located in Mysore, India. My research plan includes multiple phases. The ILR International travel grant allowed me to complete the first phase that included traveling to Mysore, India and interviewing employees on the TechCo campus. The goals of the first phase were to understand what voice means at TechCo and in India, to better understand the Indian culture, and also to plan for phase two of this study that includes interventions with employees and collecting survey data.
I stayed in Mysore for almost three weeks in January 2013. During the January trip, I interviewed approximately 40 employees and managers on the company campus. I met my project partners at TechCO and developed the work relationships that I needed to successfully begin phase two of my dissertation. I also learned more about TechCo’s culture as well as the business environment in India.
The second goal of this trip was to understand the Indian culture. To do this, I explored Mysore and the surrounding areas to get a sense of life in India outside of the well-insulated TechCo campus in Mysore. I had three weekends in Mysore and during that time explored the markets of downtown, the Mysore palace, Chamundi Hill, and outlying areas in Coorg. I made friends with several TechCo employees who graciously offered to show me Mysore from a local’s perspective.
To illustrate my experience, I have included a few pictures. The picture of me overlooking Mysore was taken from Chamundi Hill. The photo of me at the breakfast table with the couple is me and my project partner (Vatsal) and his wife (Tithi) on my last morning on the TechCo campus.
I am now back on the Mysore campus completing phase two of this project. This phase of the project would be much more difficult had I not been able to complete phase one and come to Mysore to meet employees and understand the culture. Thank you to ILR International Programs department for helping me with this project!