I sit to write at my table on the official second day of my PhD research.

I am still very excited about receiving the news from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) that my research proposal for the Doctoral Grant for Teachers has been approved for the next 5 years.

In Dutch the phrase for conducting a PhD is called a PhD promotie or promotieonderzoek (promotion research). From these local phrases of a PhD trajectory, I gather that I am promoted or to be promoted in 5 years from now to hold the title “dr.”. However, judging from the first day of my PhD research which I wastefully spent on being overly occupied with changing my various email signatures, motion or pro-motion was not one of the main focus points. Rather, a more paralyzing fear creeped up revolving around how to fill the knowledge void or knowledge gap that supposedly my PhD was to fill.

Once settled on an appropriate email signature I could devote some time to reflect on my initial research proposal that asks to better understand the role of embodiment (or “the body”/Lichaam in Dutch) in knowledge-based organizations. Checking in on how “our” bodies feel, while being part of a larger social order of other bodies, seemed like a good starting point at the time.

However, what creeped up in the first moments of conducting my pro-motie-onderzoek felt more like an anti-motie-onderzoek. Not being aware of the dynamic and unpredictable nature of any research, I tried to fixate my bodily and mental state in a static and disembodied digital signature. Now, on my second day of research, I realize that not knowing how this research will “come to life” is a good first move.

Also interested in questions about “The body in organizations”? Get in touch! o.benshimon@hhs.nl / LinkedIn.

Ohad Ben Shimon is an artist, researcher and educator with a background in Cognitive Sciences, Psychology, Cultural Analysis, International Business Education and Art. He is currently PhD candidate at the Research Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) of the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University and Senior Lecturer of Critical Thinking/ Researcher of Change Management at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. His PhD research funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) focuses on the role of embodiment in knowledge-based organisations.

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