A Consultant's Casebook

              about me:   Andres Inn, Ph.D.


Looking Back

[Under Construction]



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I knew where I was going when I began my research career.  I knew that personnel psychology, business principles, and my skills in testing, measurement, and evaluation would allow me ... social programs ... making the working world a better, more productive  place...  teaching

It's much like I already knew that there were places in the world I wanted to go.  Even as a young graduate student, I knew I wanted to see Chinese temples, the pyramids at Luxor, the Cambodian temple at Angkor Wat , the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, Tikal in Guatemala and Machu Pichu in Peru.  These were exotic sites in almost out-of-reach places.  I didn't know what I would find, but I knew I wanted to see them.

My professional aims were 


Been there, Done that

There are places I've been where I don't want to go back, and that don't inspire me.  Like Chinese temples, they had an appeal, but once seen, the musty, dusty, unkempt, and unlit appearance don't beckon back.  Once visited, you can pass them by next time.

But other places, like Tikal and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha continue to amaze and excite.  Tikal is in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle.  It took a day to fly and drive there.  And, jungles in Guatemala are not really different from jungles in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brazil - they are relatively impenetrable except for highways and rivers.  

So, there's personnel psychology. Like the Chinese temples.  A few dark corners, some cobwebs here and there that could be cleared away - some drapes that pulled away would add some light and luster.  Open a window here and there and let the musty incense away....

Places to Go

Haven't been to Machu Pichu -- it was too dangerous until former President Fujimora locked up Guzman of the Marxist Shining Path rebels.  Luxor - haven't been to see the pyramids.  

The interesting problems include professional development.  The standard bureaucratic model requires a competitive environment with hiring and performance appraisal used to select and keep the best while weeding out the second-best.  But consider instead the congenial work group (Eastern European term).  Western Ph.D.s vs. Eastern European ones?

Consider an academic environment.  Few professors are really on the cutting edge of their research - their graduate students really are.  Faculty members contribute by knowing the parallels and the context of research.  Professors know what's been done before, which alleys are blind, and which remain unexplored.  The exploring is left to the graduate students who really know what's what.  Both are necessary -- in a truly competitive environment, there would be no need for the old fogies.  

I've had the privilege of being invited to sit on selection committees for new faculty members.  Rather pompous events.  The job candidate gives a lecture about his/her research and the faculty in the audience try to one-up the candidate and show how much more knowledgeable, astute, clever, they are.  My own preference has been to focus on personality.  That is, if I like the candidate, I know we can learn to work together and can contribute together.  If I don't like the candidate, there's little hope of a successful mesh.

To me, the socializing is more important than the colloquium talk.


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Last modified: October 19, 2000