Abdur Rahman Malik Successfully Defends PhD Proposal
Speaking of his thesis topic, Abdur Rahman said “There are different types of rewards present in every organisational and educational setting. We can classify these rewards in two broad categories, i.e. intrinsic (such as internal satisfaction, enjoyment and sense of achievement) and extrinsic (such as financial, tangible and appreciation) rewards. Different types of rewards impact human behavior differently.”
In his PhD dissertation, Abdur Rahman intends to study the impact of these rewards on the creative behavior of employees to see which types of rewards are more effective in promoting creative behavior. He also plans to study different personality traits and situational factors that influence the effectiveness of these rewards.
Abdur Rahman has a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Answering why he chose this particular topic for his thesis, he said, “Engineers have a typical mindset of looking at and solving problems. Generally they discount the human element and focus more on the technological aspects.” Abdur Rahman continued, “Before joining LUMS I worked in a private manufacturing organisation for more than eight years. During these years, I worked on team based projects and gradually realised the power of human imagination and the value addition that employees’ motivation and creativity can bring. I brought this ‘learning from the field’ with me when I started my PhD at LUMS and these experiences were instrumental in selecting this particular topic.”
Detailing his proposal defense, Abdur Rahman said, “Before the final proposal defense I gave a presentation to my committee in an informal proposal defense. The ideas and suggestions that I received during this session were very helpful in improving my proposal. I am particularly thankful to Dr. Arif Nazir Butt (my PhD supervisor) and Dr. Abdul Karim Khan. After incorporating the ideas that I received, I appeared before the committee for the final defense. My presentation was followed by a Q&A session.”
Abdur Rahman was then asked to wait outside the boardroom while the committee members decided about the result of the defense. “After about five minutes, which felt to me like several hours, Dr. Butt invited me in the room and told that the committee has accepted my proposal and the defense was successful”, smiled Abdur Rahman.
Abdur Rahman explained that the dissertation proposal - especially in quantitative studies - is very important. “This is a form of contract that you make with yourself and the committee. It also serves as a roadmap for your future work. The next step after a successful proposal defense is to start data collection”, he said.
Data collection involves contacting and visiting various organisations, meeting individuals, briefly explaining the research project and requesting them to fill out survey forms. “This is probably the most demanding part of the entire PhD process as far as physical efforts are concerned”, says Abdur Rahman.
Talking about what he hopes his research will achieve, Abdur Rahman stated, “In this rapidly changing world, flexibility to adapt to new environments and providing innovative solutions to the customers are becoming major competitive advantages and the most important predictors of organisational success and survival. I hope to contribute to the body of knowledge by exploring the effects of various types of rewards on creative behavior of employees. I will also identify situational and personal conditions in which the effects of rewards on creative behavior are stronger. The results would be very helpful for both managers and academicians in designing incentive schemes to enhance the creativity of employees and students.”
Abdur Rahman has been involved in teaching at the undergraduate level in the recent past. During this time, he finalised the questionnaire form for his project and will start collecting data which will take around three months. This will be followed by data analysis and compilation of results. The final step would be writing the dissertation chapters.
“I hope to submit the first draft of my proposal by the end of this year”, says Abdur Rahman. He continued, “After approval from the committee members and foreign experts, the final defense would probably be scheduled during the first quarter of 2013.”