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Friday, August 31, 2018

Interdisciplinary Projects

I have enjoyed my time here blogging, and many thanks again to Rick and Howard for having me.  In my last post, I thought I would discuss an interdisciplinary project I have been working on. 

Last year, I applied for a large, internal university grant to try out some interdisciplinary projects.  The goal was to spend a year investigating a significant corporate scandal with colleagues from around the university in an effort to come up with a “super solution.”  When I wrote the grant proposal, I used the General Motors ignition switch scandal as an example of what one might investigate.  The original grant proposal envisioned a three-year project, which would have allowed three areas of study. 

I was instead offered a more modest grant to test out the idea.  By the time the award was provided, the #MeToo movement was in full swing, so I changed the topic of inquiry to sexual harassment within organizations.  Ultimately, we had participants from law, management, economics, philosophy, and journalism.  Each participant wrote a small three to five page paper addressing the sexual harassment crisis within organizations from their scholarly discipline and expertise.  We then had a one-day conference where we presented our solutions, and we had two senior external scholars attend to comment and provide additional input.  Ultimately, we walked away with two potential theses, and a few of us are currently working on a paper. 

One of the proposed uses of the grant award in the original proposal was to provide research funding for contributors as an incentive to participate.  Every department at Notre Dame has its own publication expectations, so I worried that people might need an incentive to participate in interdisciplinary work.  When I received the more modest grant, however, I dropped the attempt to provide the incentive.  As it turned out, each person I approached agreed to participate except for one, and the one person who declined instead provided some additional funding for the project. 

For the those of us working on a writing project together, we have determined that we may be able to publish three articles—one each in a management, law, and economics journal—related to one of the theses we identified.  We would of course emphasize different points in each publication.  I think this is in actuality a better incentive than research funding would have been.  We identified a thesis that hasn’t been written about in our respective disciplines, and we have identified related projects that we can tackle for the purpose of publishing pieces in those disciplines.  This provides us each a publication opportunity that “counts” in our departments, but it also broadens the potential impact of our work.  This is still very much an experiment, but it does seem as if it is an experiment worth attempting as the potential upside is quite high. 

With that, I close my stint here at Prawfs.  I had some more half-written blog posts, but my 1Ls are happy, eager, and love sitting in my office.  Until next time! 

Posted by Veronica Root on August 31, 2018 at 07:09 AM in Corporate, Culture, Employment and Labor Law, Workplace Law | Permalink

Comments

Curious: what were the "super solutions"?

Posted by: Miriam A. Cherry | Sep 2, 2018 9:46:13 PM

Veronica this project sounds so interesting and I look forward to reading each of the articles that comes out of the research. And to talk about governance and incentivizing organization toward more equitable and fair environments - see you soon!

Posted by: Orly Lobel | Aug 31, 2018 3:22:34 PM

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