Friday, June 9, 2017

Thursday - Conference Day

The day started with a comfortable temperature and blue skies. We, the students attending the first full day of the UFHRD conference in Lisbon, would not be dissuaded by the beautiful climate. We were fortunate that the morning commute to the university was uneventful. It was the first time this trip that we knew where we were going and we accomplished the transit like seasoned veterans of the Lisbon public transit system. With all of staff rides completed, we could focus on the attending the sessions provided by the researchers that worked diligently on their areas of research.

The morning keynote speech was presented by Dr. Gary McClean. He is one of the founders of the UFHRD conferences and is recognized by many of the attendees. His discussion was based on the importance of indigenous study in relation to overall ethnocentric hypotheses. We dispersed to the various sessions after the completion of the keynote speech.

My primary focus for the early morning sessions was studies entailing the organizational learning in small and medium enterprises. I sat in session with Sarah as we explored studies comparing organizational learning from companies in the U.K and Thailand.

Sadness pierced my heart as one of the sessions I looked forward to attending was conducted earlier than scheduled. Some stories, though, can have silver linings! I was able to meet with Dr. Daria Sarti from the University of Florence, Italy, during the mid-morning coffee break. An opportunity that would not had risen if I had attended my planned session. In classic Italian-style, we discussed her study (presented yesterday) of the relationship of workforce engagement and the role of seniority over an espresso. Unfortunately, in un-classic Italian-style, I had cut the conversation short to attend another session. How sad…

The next session I attended is near and dear to my heart, Expatriates in Hostile Environments. Leigh and I attended this session and the conceptual presentation related the stress in hostile environments to an expatriate’s responsive actions.

Some of the interesting topics the others found interesting were: Cathy: Affirmative Inquiry. Eric: positive psychology applied to conflict management. Alison: the comparison of coaching between the U.S. and Asian countries. Sarah: Graduate schools that include curriculums of first year networking vice immediate traditional studies. Charles: Moving the thought process from finding solutions to problems to finding the root causes while considering the cultural impact.

After the final sessions, it was time to attend the gala but we had just enough time to take a picture before the bus arrived. We found ourselves nearly in the same place that we started our Lisbon adventure, the Padrao dos Descombrimentos. Now the circle was complete.

At the gala, several awards and acknowledgments were given for the hard work in research. We met with the coordinator of the conference, Eduardo and presented him a gift from UofL. The event ended with a Portuguese fada, a significant genre to the Portuguese.

From beginning to end, this day of events included many cultural interactions between ourselves and the many international representatives presenting years upon years of research. Our Portuguese hosts, and their incredible hospitality, have truly created an environment where different cultures interact and share their hard work. 

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