As a colleague in my professional network, I am writing to request your participation in my research study about leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study will explore how mid-career executives reflect on their experiences leading teams and organizations during the pandemic. I am conducting this research as a doctoral student at Fielding Graduate University, based in Santa Barbara, California, USA, under the supervision of Dissertation Committee Chair, Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey.
Purpose The purpose of this study is to explore how executives reflect on their leadership experiences during the global COVID-19 pandemic. I am interested in understanding how leaders make sense of their experiences, what new learning may have emerged, and how their lessons and insights may contribute to future leadership development resources. It is hoped that the findings will inform the work of human resource development professionals, including leadership coaches, and the people and organizations they support.
Participants I am seeking executive leaders who meet the following criteria to participate in a virtual interview:
- Minimum 10 years professional work history in any industry.
- Leadership title of Director or above at current company.
- Supervisory responsibility for three or more direct reports during the period between March 2020 to September 2021.
Procedures The study consists of two parts. First, I invite you to complete a short online questionnaire, which provides information about the research, explains informed consent and ensures your situation is a match for the boundaries of the study. Second, if selected for the study, I will invite you to have a conversation with me during a 60–minute interview. During this interview, I will ask open-ended questions about your leadership experiences during the pandemic. I will conduct and record the interview, using a Zoom video conferencing meeting. You will have the opportunity to review your interview transcript prior to the data analysis phase of the research. Your responses to the both the online questionnaire and the interview would be kept completely confidential. Further, I will protect your anonymity by asking you to select a pseudonym during the interview. I will then store any identifying information separately from the rest of the study data.
Benefits. You may find reflecting on your own experiences leading your team, group or department during the COVID-19 pandemic to be useful and perhaps enjoyable. For your participation, you will receive an executive summary report of the research findings when the study has been completed. There is no financial compensation for participation in this study.
Next Steps. If you meet the criteria and are willing to participate in this study, please complete this short survey to confirm eligibility, consent to participating, and affirm your interest. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participation in this study is completely voluntary. All information will remain confidential, with steps taken to protect your anonymity and data, as delineated in the Informed Consent form. Your participation would be completely voluntary, with the option to withdraw from the study at any point in time, at your discretion.
I would greatly appreciate your participation in my dissertation research because I believe your perspective will be invaluable. If you wish to recommend other people for the study, please forward this email privately or let me know the best way to contact them. I will invite them to consider participating.
I look forward to hearing from you.
With deep gratitude,