Current PhD Students

Since 2004, seventeen PhD students who have been supervised by the ODSC Group members and whose work has been closely associated with the research focus of the Group have graduated. Currently, another five PhD students and one MPhil student are engaged in research that directly draws on expertise from within the ODSC Group. These students are active participants in the Group's activities.

Stephanie Dunk

Producing 'Ethical Food'

Supervisors: Leanne Cutcher and Richard Seymour

Food has never just been for eating, but in our own time food-based cultural practices have come to the fore in a range of areas – the co-option of food into the reality TV behemoth, changing coffee and café food preferences, and the formation of online sub communities united by special diets. At the same time, an increasing number of consumers in developed countries are wanting the option to make what they perceive to be ‘ethical choices’ when they purchase products. The increased cultural attention on food, and the increased consumer desire for ethical products have together produced ‘ethical food’. Ethical food production does not only happen physically on organic farms. It is also produced discursively when, for instance, cafes advertise fair trade coffee beans. Stephanie's research uses discourse analysis to examine the ethical purchasing practices of residents of the Blue Mountains. By using the complex food industry and a geographic focus, she hopes that her work will contribute to the understanding of the relationships between different actors and the way that they produce ‘ethical food’ in the context of their relationships.

Corinna Galliano

Supervisors: Eric Knight and Jane Le

Artistic organizations often find themselves facing contradictory demands: alongside the economic and social demands, they are also required to pursue artistic goal intrinsic to their business. Adopting a paradox lens, the proposed research aims to investigate the paradoxical tensions arising within artistic organizations at individual and group level, during the development of a strategic plan that brings together organizational actors belonging to different areas of the organizations, both functionally and hierarchically. While the paradox literature has provided valuable insights into the paradoxes of organizing and performing, the paradox of belonging has so far been overlooked. The proposed study will give particular focus to how the paradox of belonging evolves. In order to better understand how people in organizations navigate these tensions, a one-year longitudinal case study will be conducted within a theatre company. In-depth qualitative data will be collected to capture interactions among organizational actors that help cast light onto the paradox of belonging. Specifically, data collection will centre on observations of meetings; these observations will be complemented by interviews and archival data. Results from the study will inform a model that extends our understanding of the individual experience of and response to paradoxes of belonging. Such understanding acquires importance when we conceive strategizing as the resultant of action and interaction of human actors within organizations; this is why the proposed research will adopt a practice-based approach.

Gaia Grant

Organisational sustainability paradoxes? A collaborative sensemaking perspective

Supervisors: Eric Knight and Suresh Cuganesan

Rapid change and complex contemporary environments have led to inherent ambiguities and related tensions in organisations. The push towards the need for corporate responsibility and sustainability (e.g. through CSR programs) has resulted in specific tensions around the need to develop social and environmental goals while simultaneously prioritising the economic imperative to make profit. There is a clear need for companies to build capabilities to deal with paradoxes such as these, yet they are often ill-prepared for the challenges. Creative new approaches are required that will enable more flexibility and adaptability to deal with the ambiguities. This study will utilise sensemaking as a theoretical lens for understanding and interpreting sustainability paradoxes and for identifying creative new approaches to manage these paradoxes effectively. As the group is an important working unit of the organisation, the study will focus on collaborative sensemaking in the group context.

MPhil Candidate:

Maegan Baker

Entrepreneurial Capacity Building in Indigenous Communities: An Engaged Critical Approach to Collaborative Social Empowerment

Supervisors: Richard Seymour and Leanne Cutcher

The complex environment of Australian social policy development and implementation has contributed to the historical and ongoing marginalisation of Indigenous Australian populations. The proliferation of identity constructs has further reinforced this marginalisation, and a relatively undeveloped social discourse has created false dichotomies between the idealised positions of being Indigenous and being Australian. When generalised statistics concerning Indigenous Australians are considered comparative to national data, vast gaps in education, employment, health and welfare all point to a need to re-examine these dichotomies from multiple perspectives as a precursor to meaningful social change. The initial objective of this research is to examine whether entrepreneurship can provide a space to collaboratively engage in this re-examination. The subsequent objective is to actively use entrepreneurial education as a mechanism by which to co-develop and co-facilitate the achievement of business objectives that concurrently reorient understandings of identities and how they interact with values, beliefs and behaviours at a broader socio-political level. The final objective is to determine whether and how this approach may translate to different contexts in the instance it is agreed by participants to have been successful.