Doctoral seminar (the first presentation)


I am part of a group of PhD students at the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences in University of Jyväskylä. The group (called the "Doctoral seminar") meets over Zoom by-weekly. The completion of the course requires every student to present their own research proposal or a text they have worked on. I was lucky to have a group of very insightful and intelligent yet friendly and helpful peers. My turn to present my work was on 25.2.2021. Please see the PowerPoint presentation about the contents below. It is essentially the original reasearch plan but with some added revisions, examples and illustrations of themes. The anticipated results of the research has been also defined more clearly. 

I did okay with my presentation. Some of my peers were clearly more advanced in philosophical studies and asked some very good questions and presented interesting aspects for developing the research. Here are some of the most important picks I took with me from the comments:

(1) "What makes this a philosophical research project as opposed to say social sciences or maybe business administration (HRD management) project?" This was one of the first questions after my presentation. First, I was a bit blank. After giving it a thought, I realized and commented by saying that essentially my topic (like most real-life phenomena) could be studied academically within a number of different fields of scientific research. So is the topic of "building and testing of a phenomenological team assessment model as a starting point of team development". I think that the main reason why this is first a philosophical research work is that the problem is raised out of a philosophical problem concerning the ways teams are surveyed today. The concern is mostly related to things like meanings, subjectivity, intentionality, role of personal experience and ultimately the value of all this to the development of teams. In addition, the proposed solution of the problem (a phenomenological model) is essentially and first of all a philosophical - or more precisely a philosophy-of-science - one. This was a great question that obviously made me think. 

(2) "I am usually very skeptical of research projects that are somehow linked to developing a commercial product or service. This was different: while you are developing a consulting service, you are also obviously very serious about true and authentic academics and you seem honestly interested to study this subject scientifically." This was a comment from one of the PhD students, who is much more ahead in his own research. This comment was echoed by others who pointed out the value of philosophy needing more practical applications and practical life needing deeper philosophical reflection. I was very happy and relieved to hear this from a fellow student as I have been very open about this research being linked to a consulting service I am also developing for commercial purposes. And I have hoped I can do good and credible work in both, the context of business and HRD professionals and with the academics.

(3) "When you say "phenomenology", which school or type of all the phenomenologies do you refer to?" I am referring first of all to Edmund Husserl's original phenomenological ideas and concepts and Martin Heidegger's hermeneutical refinement of Husserl's work, which later was further developed and applied by social scientists such as Alfred Schutz, Peter Bergman and Thomas Luckman. In addition to phenomenology as philosophy, I am also seeing phenomenological method just as important (general guidelines for which have developed among others Amedeo Giorgi, Max van Manen and Jonathan Smith based largely on the works of Edmund Husserl). The question of my peer, however, did reveal incomplete argumentation in terms of limiting and selecting this particular "path" of phenomenology.

Please see the presentation slides attached (in English).