Pandemic Dissertation Changes

I sent something like this to my committee in November, 2020.

After spending too long hoping that the pandemic would turn around and that I’d be able to visit people in their group work spaces to perform interviews, I have flipped the order of my qualitative and quantitative components. Michelle has been advising me on the creation of the survey.

The survey is intended for people on software development teams. It replicates portions of the Carter, Compeau, & Schmalz (2018) using a set of general IT identity (and anti-identity) measures. It also also tweaks those proposed measures to focus on self-identification with the IT in development. These will help to establish the presence/strength of these identities in the participant. Since the literature on material identity is usually focused on consumption or the environment, I don’t have a set of existing measures for self-identification with one’s creation, so the rest of the survey deals with trying to identify those. I developed a set of workplace behaviors that I have mapped to established functions of material identities (Dittmar, 2011). I have also mapped them to a subset of project risks.

When the analysis is done, I’ll be able to see how general IT identities correlate with specific creator-creation identities, see which of Dittmar’s functions of material identities are exhibited/experienced by project team members, correlate IT identities with behaviors, and see how all of it might impact risk factors (not project outcomes, but risk factors).  Oh, and I’ll also be asking questions about the product being developed, so I’ll be able to do my utilitarian/cultural analysis on all of this, too.

At least that’s my goal.

The next step of the process is to have outside validation of my behaviors and their mappings to both identity functions and risk factors. At Michelle’s suggestion, I’m going to try to recruit PhD students to do a card sort on the theory-behavior mappings and some industry folk to do a card sort on the behavior-risk mappings.

If you care to see more or offer opinions on the work so far, you are obviously welcome. Since I wasn’t able to use my qualitative interviews to develop my list of behaviors, I’m definitely interested in feedback on those. I’m attaching the draft survey now tied to my IRB application, and below is the link to the Google Doc where I’ve been building the behaviors part.

I was trying to be FAR too clever, not having done this before and not understanding the process well. The link above includes another set of factors (risks) that I thought I could wrap into one set of measures, and that was quickly rejected. Risk concepts were eventually replaced with a set of measures corresponding to the Iron Triangle of project management.

The tests with PhD students will be covered in another post.

  • Carter, M., Compeau, D., & Schmalz, M. (2018). The Ambivalent Potential of IT Identity: Me, Not-Me, and Conflicted Me in a Digital World. Proceedings of the Twenty-Third DIGIT Workshop, 1–17.
  • Dittmar, H. (2011). Material and Consumer Identities. In Schwartz, S. J., Luyckx, K., & Vignoles, V. L. (Eds.) Handbook of Identity Theory and Research. Springer-Verlag.

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