Thursday, March 10, 2011

In over my head

Where is this thing going? It feels like floundering – like I’m in way over my head and I’ve been in it way too long.

I raised the issue with my mentor – what does it mean for my study if the survey comes back with no participants perceiving servant leadership traits in their supervisors? Quite honestly, I can see teachers, parents, and perhaps ministers acting as servant leaders, but a boss in corporate America? I’ve never had one in corporate or small business America. I don’t know of any. The solution to the dilemma (says my mentor) is assess for both transformational leadership and servant leadership and see which predicts intent to report near miss incidents better. OK…but…it complicates everything. Now I have to make sense of the exact differences between the two leadership styles and use (purchase) parts of two instruments for the leadership portion of my survey. Then, if nobody responds that they perceive servant leadership, I will just do correlation of transformational style with intent to report.  What if nobody perceives a leader using a transformational style either??  The problem does not go away - I'm screwed.

I have taken three days off work to crank out this proposal and my progress is discouraging. My outline of fun facts to include is 28 full pages long and 56 sources so far, with at least that many more to incorporate. Three days was terribly overly optimistic. Two days are nearly gone and I am still outlining the theoretical framework and collecting evidence for the argument.

It has rained for days and flooding is bad around here. The Scioto River is the worst it has been in many years. Our front yard is a swamp today. When I am finished with school and have a life again, I’ll have a couple of truckloads of top soil dumped in the yard. Spreading it is good hard work and then sowing grass will be a chore. Our lawn is pitiful – we have so many trees (which I love) but not much sun because of them and our top soil has run off over the hill. I miss playing in my flower beds and working in the garden. Once this dissertation is done, things will be better (keep telling myself).

Back to work now!! Current topic is organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) theory. OCBs are beneficial discretionary behaviors (or actions) that people do for their organizations. OCB theory is often explained in the literature with social exchange theory – basically, you care about me so I’ll do something to show I care about you, as Gyekye and Simo (2005) explained it. Mullen’s (2005) theory is that willingness to raise safety issues with management correlates to safety climate. He asserted this willingness is an OCB and identified that willingness to report is like Dutton and Ashford’s (as cited in Mullen) issue selling concept. Issue selling is when organization members try to influence those above them to pay attention to issues that are important to them. People doing work within a context are in the best position to identify unsafe conditions or hazards in that context. Bringing unsafe condition to management’s attention is voluntary and could even have negative consequences for the reporter if the climate is that of a blaming culture. A safety culture where workers are blamed for mistakes is associated with a negative safety climate (Edmonson as cited in Mullen).

Anyway, all these “as cited” will never do for my dissertation. I will have to retrieve the primary sources and see if I interpret things the same way. If the primaries aren’t available, I’ll have to find alternatives. The time to get back to work is RIGHT NOW!


Gyekye, S. A., & Simo, S. (2005). Are “good soldiers” safety conscious? An examination of the relationship between organizational citizenship behaviors and perception of workplace safety. Social Behavior and Personality, 33(8), 805-820. Retrieved from
 Mullen, J. (2005). Testing a model of employee willingness to raise safety issues. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 37(4), 273-282. Retrieved from


Sarah Wood said...

Maybe instead of trying to cover up the problem, you should invest in a permanent drainage solution Mommy. If you're going to be spreading top soil, you might as well dig a couple trenches instead. I bet Jerry would go to town on digging trenches!!

KYLady said...

Yes, I've considered drain lines. We had three put in the back and those worked wonders until last year (I think they're full of dirt now because the swamp has returned). I kind of hate add drains in the front because it would mean cutting through lots of tree roots. I think the drains installed in the back contributed to the demise of that big maple closest to the Edwards' house. Maybe we will dig into the ones we have and see what's up with them.