RA – Interdisciplinary bleeding

The number of related theories that might be applicable to solving my RA research question struck me this week as too numerous at this stage of the game, yet it was not unexpected. Since I am adopting grounded theory again for the doctorate, a recap for new readers. The methodology allows for emergence of findings, which then generates the theory “grounded” in the data that represents its basis.  I took a couple of findings from the previous study and will be developing these in more detail to arrive at some theory for our discipline.  The research is still interested in why we are doing RA and not how we do it.

I was hesitant at first to acknowledge that disciplinary theory of ERM or Finance may explain a lot of what we see and do.  Think about it. RA is RA. RA is not Finance and RA is not ERM today.  It is something else.  So how can I open a statement to say it is either of the two examples, or better yet, something more related to operations management?  Nowhere do we have data that pertinently state this, however when we analyse the available data that is precisely what emerges.  We are a hotpot of odds and ends borrowed from somewhere else.

I followed a discussion on LinkedIn related to how we should calculate the financial benefits attributable to RA’s contribution.  Underlying the different perspective were existing methods for calculating a number, be it financial, risk, etc.  But there was more.  There was the casual reference to a sub set of ERM (managing the risk that something might not have been picked up for x months); financial gain (estimating a future value of something done now); project management (motivation based on best guess future value of effort in exchange for budget to go ahead with the project).  These are known practices albeit that they are not always…hmmm practiced.

In cosmetology (the study of cosmetics) bleeding refers to the application of a substance that does not stay contained in the area it is supposed to. A most common example is lipstick.  Lipstick is meant for lips. It should stay there, not bleed into the upper lip or chin.  This is the image that popped when I read about the possible approaches to arrive at a suitable measure to communicate what recovered loss means.  I am emphasizing recovered loss here.  The fundamental objective that we are addressing in this LinkedIn discussion is how we calculate the actual value of the loss that is now no longer.  As with anything in life, there will be as many views as there are viewers and that is less important than the goal we are working towards. It is inconceivable, and honestly boring; to hope that one uniform view would magically jump out.  Growth comes from diversity when managed well.

If we want to borrow from another discipline, we should do so while acknowledging where we borrow from.  We should borrow in its true form unless we state that, and how, we change it for whatever reason.   Does this make it interdisciplinary breeding?  At the moment we are bleeding.  We are bleeding everywhere where we think we add value and in so doing dilute our value.  I think that part of our inability to truly establish ourselves as a force to be taken seriously, is this fuzzy feeling of familiarity, yet un-belongingness.  We calculate fuzzy future benefits in exchange for funding to do our projects…project management 101.   We put a monetary value to effort in exchange for the right to be….confused identity.  We don techni-color coats or hero capes to represent ourselves where trouble might brew, yet we still grapple with our right of existence.

There comes a time in each person’s life where you no longer have to prove anything to anyone.  You do what you are good at and are accepted for that contribution unless you become a nuisance guest that is asked to leave.  Let us not make RA a nuisance guest. Let’s be humble and accept that we are best at recovering lost revenue and do so in a modest, realistic and thorough manner. That would make us dependable and irreplaceable.  Not an ever evolving, never stable something that remains ill defined.

Güera Romo
Güera Romo
Güera has many years of experience in business transformation in the engineering, defense, government, banking and telecommunication industries. She has experience in mergers & acquisition, rightsizing, re-deployment of personnel, business process re-engineering, system selection and implementation.   Güera holds a BCom Hon (Industrial and Organizational Psychology) degree and is currently pursuing a doctorate that draws on her practical experience of developing human resource capabilities within large corporations.