Origins of Dissertation Topic

At the Director level in the newspaper industry, I saw what I perceived to be reticence on the part of certain newspaper leaders to embrace digital change. I wondered if their hesitation was related in any way to their employment and educational background (in the literature, this is called ‘functional background’). For example, do leaders with a marketing background differ in their embrace of digital change than leaders with a journalism background? In addition, I wondered if there is a relationship between functional background and firm performance? This question gave me independent and dependent variables that I could measure. After a few weeks of research at Walden Library (which is a terrific digital library, by the way, IMHO), I discovered the leadership theory of Upper Echelons by David Hambrick. By having an existing theory that addressed my topic of interest, with its supporting literature, my dissertation path was created.

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