Podcast: Carton(2018). “I’m Not Mopping the Floors, I’m Putting a Man on the Moon”: How NASA Leaders Enhanced the Meaningfulness of Work by Changing the Meaning of Work

Authors:
Andrew Carton– The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Interviewers:
Karren Knowlton – The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Ann Luckman
 – Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis

Article link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0001839217713748


ASQ Blog Podcast Series: 2018 June issue

Transcript of Podcast:

Elizabeth: Hello ASQ blog listeners, ASQ blog readers, I’d like to ask you to step back in time. The year is 1958. NASA has just been founded. Just imagine for a moment you’re an electrical engineer at NASA in 1958. Your job is to build circuits. You have very short-term, very concrete goals. Only a few short years later, around 1962, the whole mission of the organization has become very clear, that the goal is to put a man on the moon, and now your job is in service of this greater mission, and that happened in a very short amount of time and under John F. Kennedy’s direction and leadership. And what we’re interested in today is a paper by Drew Carton, a professor at Wharton, who has done a great deal of research on this case and has written a very interesting piece in ASQ, a qualitative piece looking at what led to this shift, this shift in purpose and this shift in work orientation. And so, we are very excited to have with us here today Professor Drew Carton to talk about his research. Thanks for being here, Drew.

Drew: Thank you so much for having me, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Elizabeth: And, we’ll briefly introduce ourselves. My name is Elizabeth Luckman. I just completed my PhD at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis and I’m here with my co-collaborator for life.

Karren: Thank you Elizabeth, I am Karren Knowlton. I am a fourth-year PhD student, at the moment, at Wharton in organizational behavior. Alright, I think we’re ready for our first question for Drew.

Drew: Fire away.

Karren: So, I remember at one point while this paper was under review at ASQ and you were getting friendly reviews around the department that you said you didn’t have a child at the time, but if you did, this paper would be your child. And so, we were wondering if you could tell us where the idea for this came from, since the birds and the bees aren’t quite as straightforward with research as they are with actual children.

Drew: Very true, yeah. Ideas can be conceived in many ways. And this one, so actually it’s interesting – exactly 10 years ago, or almost exactly 10 years ago, I believe the date was August 9th, 2008, I was on the shuttle, the airport shuttle, from LAX to Anaheim for the 2008 AOM conference. And, I sat next to a research assistant, I believe from Stanford at the time and unfortunately, I can’t remember her name. But, we had a great conversation and we talked about our interests and she asked me what I was passionate about at the time and I talked about the meaningfulness of work and how people can experience their work as more meaningful and especially how leaders, how organizations can bolster the conditions to help people feel that their work is tied to something that’s broader than just their own immediate ends. And, I was familiar with one well-known legend which is sometimes called the three brick-layers or the three stone-cutters. So, one brick-layer is asked “what are you doing?” and he or she says, “I’m laying bricks,” and a second one is asked and he or she says, “well, I’m building a cathedral,” or “I”m building a temple.” So, the idea is that they, these two individuals, are ostensibly doing the exact same thing – they have the same work conditions, the same co-workers, the same tasks. Any third party observer would look at what they’re doing and ascribe them as doing the exact same thing. Yet, in between their ears they have an entirely different conception of their work. And, that fascinated me and I wanted to know, well what is going on in the minds of these two different people to have such contrasting experiences. And then she told me about this one legend of when Kennedy was touring NASA headquarters, saw this janitor working late at night, said “Hey, why are you working so late?” and the janitor said, “Well, I’m not mopping floors, I’m putting a man on the moon.” And my mind was blown. I just thought that was so amazing. And so that kind of planted the seed the first time for thinking, okay, NASA’s an interesting context. As being a geek of the hard sciences or all sciences at some point, a couple years later I just started reading a book on NASA for other reasons, got familiar with the context, and as I got familiar with the context it became abundantly clear just how important the framing by the leaders there was for helping employees in all different areas of the organization see their work in much grander, broader terms and feel connected to the organization’s purpose and objectives. So, I became convinced then NASA was the context in which to study this question. And, the question is much more universal of course than just janitors and brick-layers. People in many walks of life, in many different conditions – say, two employees at cubicles that are adjacent to one another are both working, again it appears as if they’re working on the same task, on the same spreadsheet, yet they have entirely different views of what they’re doing. One person is just paying the bills, the other person is turning knowledge into value. So, that’s what they think. Why do people feel that sense of connection, why do they not? That’s what I wanted to answer.

Karren: Really interesting, thank you. And one of the parts I like the best about that story is it shows how you can have an idea and it might just sit for a couple of years and you don’t really know what’s going to happen and then something strikes that match and you’re off to the races, so that’s really neat. Thank you.

Elizabeth: So, you spoke about how you started with reading a book and that kind of led you down this path, you knew the story, but there is so much rich data that you collected in this process. And, what we’re really interested in is, tell us a little bit about that process. How did you get connected with NASA? How did you know what you were going to look for as you were uncovering data and getting sources and quotes? How did you sort of direct yourself in the data-collection process?

Drew: Sure. So, NASA, especially at that time, in the 1960’s, it’s one of the most well-documented periods in history. In the era of big data, most of the cases where there’s a wealth of accumulated and well-documented evidence are cases that are fairly recent, you know from the onset of the internet age and beyond. But, this is an exception to that. So, there’s a lot of information, including online sources, about NASA during that period, and that seemed like an obvious opportunity to get an array of archival data – not just from a single source but from a variety of sources: on-board transcripts, audio recordings of Kennedy and others talking about the nascent goals of NASA and how they evolved, media reports, internal memos. A lot of these were available online. It became clear to me during the course of the data collection that I was going to have to go to NASA headquarters for at least some of the material just to make sure I was being comprehensive with my search. But, I did go there feeling confident that the data would be there. And, it was an interesting opportunity to be creative. In many ways I think some of the best opportunities for being creative are when you have major constraints. So, I knew I couldn’t interview the vast majority of employees at that time, certainly the astronauts, they were either inaccessible or weren’t around anymore, so I was going to have to find other ways to tell their story and I found that exciting. So, in some ways feeling constrained is sort of liberating because you have to figure out a way to create a compelling narrative with only a certain fixed set of ingredients.

Elizabeth: Is that part of what led you to use narrative causality analysis? The constraints?

Drew: So, that’s an interesting question, too. Yes. You know, this actually hearkens back to a conversation I had with this one qualitative researcher. I was asking him to try to acquire best practices about qualitative research. You know, I’m very much a qualitatively trained scholar and so I was kind of crossing the divide. So, he gave me some great advice. One of the frameworks he gave me that really helped me recognize both the opportunities and the challenges associated with qualitative research was that let’s think about building a theory as you know, we’re all very familiar with these models with boxes and arrows that we build. Thinking about the data collection process as being fairly straightforward as to how to find support for the boxes. You can understand the nature and the nuance of the constructs that we’re interested in and any new constructs that might be lingering and have yet to be uncovered. We can understand the properties of those constructs pretty well but the arrows are really hard to get evidence for and to find support for, especially with a case analysis. So, you have an N of one. The purpose isn’t to track changes longitudinally with the methods that we’re familiar with, or at least the methods that I was familiar with as a quantitative scholar, so to make any kind of causal inference was challenging. In this case, what I thought was wonderful was there were so many people that attributed their perceptions to leaders like Kennedy that it emerged across the course of the analysis that one of the opportunities to draw some causal inference in this case, or at least to approximate it was to just continue following people’s perceptions rather than to impose my own understanding of what ended up causing these perceptual shifts. If they attested to Kennedy’s rhetoric as driving their perceptual shifts, well then it seems straightforward to credit that perceptual shift to what Kennedy said. So, in many ways the narrative causality, which is essentially just the process of assigning those arrows to what people attribute the causes and consequences of their perceptions to be seemed like a natural outgrowth of the data that was available.

Elizabeth: This grew out of your interest in NASA. As you were studying NASA – so, you didn’t have any other organizations you were thinking about studying this idea in, the idea came out of the context – but since then, are there any other organizations that you think might have an interesting story where you could learn more about the process and these relationships?

Drew: It’s a great question. So, there’s a section at the end of the paper that I’m very happy I was encouraged to expand upon and refine, which is called transferability, which is the idea that you know, if you’re dealing with this kind of extreme context that is great for bringing the ideas to life, the onus is on you as the researcher to then explain, well how do these insights translate to other contexts. Is this so unique and idiosyncratic to NASA that other leaders can’t then export these ideas for their own interests? You want to make sure that that’s not the case, that it is translatable. As I did that, I saw a lot of really nice examples and I just thought through what contexts in which these ideas would be most amenable or most easy to translate. I did hear about one – this might be proprietary information so I won’t reveal the organization – but, there’s one sales organization that has a practice of helping employees think through the different tiers of goals in a cascading process of the organization’s higher order mission, how does that translate to division and project level objectives, and then how does that translate to their day-to-day work, to actually work through that process. I think it’s every year that they’re asked to do this, which can then help them see the local translation of these broader ideals to their every-day work. I certainly don’t think that’s the only way to do it but it was an interesting window into how one organization in 2018 is thinking about this very challenging question. And there’s another organization I’ve worked with that has hired somebody specifically for this task of ‘how do you help people feel connected to the mission.’ It’s not sufficient to just be excited by the organization’s mission and to feel identified with it. A lot of people are really excited by the grand-sounding aspiration that their organization has but they don’t see how their work links to it, and that really is the ultimate challenge.

Elizabeth: So, I actually think that links really well to the findings – this, ‘leader as architect.’ So, I’m going to switch it over to Karren to ask you a bit about the findings and analysis.

Karren: Ok, so this next question is a two-part one. So first, for our listeners who don’t have the paper right in front of them, one of the biggest take-aways from this research is this step-by-step sense-giving process through which leaders link employees’ everyday activities to the organization’s ultimate aspirations. So, can you very briefly summarize that process.

Drew: Sure, so Kennedy enacted a four step sense-giving process where he first took NASA’s ultimate aspirations. So, an ultimate aspiration as I define it in the paper is an organization’s most far-reaching and highest-order goal to which they hope to attain. And, initially NASA had three ultimate aspirations – to advance science, to advance technology, and to eclipse the soviet union, in slightly different phrasing but I think that captures the essence. And, he narrowed it from those three to just focusing primarily on one, which was just advancing science. And then he translated that, or shifted the emphasis at NASA, from that sole ultimate aspiration to a more narrowly defined and circumscribed concrete scenario which was to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by when the decade was out. He made this announcement in the middle of 1961, which would give them eight and a half years to accomplish the goal. He then set a series of milestones, three milestones, that would stretch between people’s everyday work at the time and the goal of landing on the moon. And those three milestones were brought to life by three different programs at NASA. So, the programs were Mercury, which was to just get single-manned missions into earth’s orbit; Gemini, which was to perform rendezvous and docking missions in space; and then Apollo, which was to reach lunar orbit and then eventually get to the moon. And then finally, Kennedy did what I think is a really fascinating, kind of a combination of the first two sense-giving steps to restore the abstract meaning that was inevitably lost when he shifted emphasis from the initial goal of advancing science, which is this grand abstract lofty goal, to putting a man on the moon, which is of course lofty as well but lacks those abstract connotations and therefore sacrifices some meaning. He restored those abstract connotations by using a linguistic technique called the embodied concept in which he affixed abstract connotations and lofty ideals such as advancing science and one quote that I particularly love, “Knowledge and peace are on the moon,” the actual quote was “Knowledge and peace are there” but “there” was talking about the moon. So, he talked about how these abstract concepts existed in a physical space, almost as if once people would get to the moon, they would see knowledge and peace, which is of course impossible but it gets the idea across that these abstract and concrete ways of understanding an event are inextricably intertwined and helped people feel as if the realization of this concrete objective would simultaneously be the realization of these grand goals, these grand aspirations.

Karren: So, the next part of the question – while this would certainly look different in different organizations, particularly probably those that don’t have such a concrete objective that they’re working toward – what do you think the biggest missteps are that leaders take or don’t take?

Drew: It’s also a great question. You know, I have some empirical data for a couple of these steps. So, the data I have shows that generally speaking, leaders are predisposed to not focus the organization around a single ultimate aspiration and they’re also not predisposed to focus people’s attention and energy and effort toward a concrete rather than an abstract higher order goal. So, the first two steps, I do have some empirical data from some of my other work suggesting that leaders are not inclined, at least the instinct is not to enact these first two steps and that Kennedy is an exception in that regard.

The last two steps – so communicating just a few milestones and then affixing abstract ideals to a concrete objective via the linguistic technique of an embodied concept – those two I do not have empirical data on. So, just in terms of my intuition, my intuition is that most leaders probably don’t emphasize just a few milestones because I think a lot of times the instinct is to guide employees through extraordinarily complex tasks and long-term goals by creating a blueprint with dozens or hundreds or thousands of sub-steps and sub-goals outlined, or outlining them along the way after iterating with trial and error process. But, the idea of having as many sub-steps in place as possible to guide and regulate effort and to track progress, which makes complete sense, but I do think can detract from people’s ability to focus on the organization’s ultimate objectives and aspirations because they become overwhelmed. They become so inundated with information and so focused and consumed by enacting and achieving each of these sub-steps and sub-goals that they lose sight of ultimately what they’re trying to achieve. So, just focusing on a few milestones, I think Kennedy might be an exception in that regard as well. In terms of the final sense-giving step of affixing abstract ideals to a concrete objective, that’s a good one. I’ve seen a few nice examples but I haven’t seen it far and wide. It’s not used as much in my opinion or my belief as certain other rhetorical techniques such as metaphors and allegory and storytelling.

Elizabeth: So, I think it’s safe to say that Kennedy didn’t sit in an MBA program and some professor didn’t teach him this framework of how to do this and how to be this leader as an architect. So, from the data that you have, do you have a sense of, was this, do you think, just a part of who he was? Do you think he was getting advice on how to navigate this process? What was it was that was sort of driving that for him and that made him exceptional?

Drew: That’s a great question. I do think he’s probably, he was just a natural concrete thinker. And I am starting to collect some data on individual differences in this regard. Do people just sometimes naturally think in a concrete and/or simplistic way or have the ability to simplify extraordinarily complex ideas and distill them into their core and most essential components and then to be able to articulate that to other people. He had that gift and he demonstrated that, I think, in other contexts and in that regard is unique. In terms of possibility of being trained, in some respects I actually think it might be the case that he was able to articulate these steps so effectively in spite of some of the people who were around him rather than because of that. So, there’s some audio transcription that’s really interesting where he and another NASA leader are going back and forth trying to determine what they want this primary emphasis to be for NASA for the foreseeable future. And, his counterpart was very much obstinate and dedicated and felt confident that the focus should be on the abstract ultimate aspiration and they should not translate that aspiration into anything that seemed like an excessively concrete goal, and that Kennedy’s desire to focus energy and effort of all NASA’s employees on this single objective for the next few years was a big mistake. So, in some regards maybe he was able to, by sticking to his guns, to stick to his natural constitution, which was unique, and in that sense maybe he was not a function or a product of his surroundings.

Karren: Alright, so next question, then. Do you think the converse of your theory could ever be important? That is, where the work itself already has such significance and meaning, for example, surgeons who are dealing with people’s lives on a daily basis in a very intimate way, that the leader’s job is actually to sometimes help them to disconnect from their work and its ultimate aspirations to avoid this stress or burnout that people might have from experiencing that constantly?

Drew: Sure, another good question. You know, it could be, I think it depends in part on one’s assumptions about meaningfulness. One assumption might be, does meaningfulness have this sort of limitless, do we have this limitless pool of the ability to feel meaningfulness, regardless of its sources? If we feel an extrordinary amount of meaningfulness from the nature of the work itself and it has intrinsic meaning and provides us with a sense of flow and mastery and we feel that we’re having an impact on the people in our immediate environment and we have a sense of autonomy, is it then, is that sort of absorbing or taking up some limited amount of potential meaningfulness we could experiences? And therefore, in a kind of hydraulic way, we wouldn’t then want to threaten that by having yet another source of meaningfulness, which might be feeling like our work is tied to something broader. On the other hand, if meaningfulness is a little bit more toward the infinite side of the spectrum and we could feel just ever increasing amounts of it, then why not add one more source? So, in addition to having extraordinarily meaningful work, and seeing the impact on people right around you, also feeling like it’s tied to something bigger and grander and more timeless and more abstract.

I think another issue that you raise that’s an important consideration, and this has been introduced in a few papers, most notably Bunderson and Thompson have a great paper on Zookeepers, I believe 2009, also in ASQ. They talk about the dark side of meaningfulness – people who experience meaningfulness to such an extent that they select themselves into certain careers that require quite a few tradeoffs, for example in income. Some of the most meaningful pursuits are not the most well compensated. And they also may more likely feel burnout and feel that their work is all-consuming. That could certainly be the case, you know, if this is just adding one more driver or one more antecedent or one more cause of meaningfulness, which then leads people to feel more, could they then be so dedicated that they stretch their own emotional and cognitive and physical resources so thin that they can’t experience an enriched, well-rounded life? I think that’s certainly possible and I would love for that to be tested.

Elizabeth: You have explained to us the process of your data collection and how involved it was; did you ever feel lost in the data?

Drew: Yes, I did. But, I think that’s a good thing. In the first round of review I got feedback from the reviewers saying I perhaps was not getting lost enough because I had such strong preconceptions and convictions about how leaders did go about this process, and I wanted to emphasize those points and use NASA as more like an illustration of these ideas rather than letting the data speak and letting the data bring this story to life and having my own voice be more in the background. It was a necessary next step to react to that feedback by being lost in the data and being comfortable with that and immersing myself so much in it that I would let the data eventually speak and let the insights come out. And that was very hard because I like certainty, I like control, I like structure, so to allow for and accommodate for some of that was difficult but I think absolutely necessary.

Elizabeth: So, in that process you had to almost sort of dissolve your own assumptions. You had to step away from your own assumptions. Do you have tips or tricks for other qualitative researchers who also need to step away from their own paradigm when they’re looking at the data?

Drew: In my case the biggest challenge was moving from my quantitative assumptions about deductive theorizing and the testing of hypotheses that are constructed a priori. And so, the shift for me was a paradigm shift but more like quant. to qual. For qualitative researchers, I think not being too keen to add structure to the data before you feel like you’re doing the data justice and actually making sense of it in a fair way. There’s a lot of research in judgement and decision making on how people see findings, and I should say see patterns in findings, that may not exist. This is what people are really good at, is trying to find patterns. Sometimes we want to do that, I think, a little bit too quickly. That’s a human problem.

Elizabeth: So, two questions that are related to the publication process. And, you started to address this a little bit in the last question – what is the most challenging aspect of revising this paper during the R&R process, when you’re getting this feedback and your assumptions are being challenged? But the other is what was it like to sole author a paper and can you speak to some of the challenges and benefits of being the sole author?

Drew: So, in the first question, I would say one of the biggest challenges or certainly one of the more memorable ones for me was with terminology. There’s always this balance to strike as a writer between choosing terminology that’s catchy and memorable and then choosing terminology that’s going to lead to a precise understanding of the phenomenon. And in this case I really wanted to talk about this tension between meaning and meaningfulness. Often times people use those terms synonymously but not only are they different but they can sometimes be opposed to one another. And I talk about that in the back end of the paper. I initially motivated the whole paper with this distinction between meaning and meaningfulness but it certainly was confusing the reviewers and even when I went back and read the paper after a few months away, I found it confusing because the construct and the concept of meaning, which is to understand the nature of an idea or behavior, it’s extraordinarily complex. And, it’s very hard to understand without a lot of pretext and background which is what I needed to build throughout the whole paper, describe it in more precise detail as people were trying to build a connection between their work and the organization’s ultimate aspirations. And then, talk later about how that influenced meaning and then to talk about that tradeoff in the back end of the paper and then push the balance more toward precision and less toward catchiness and a lot of that is a function of terminology.

In terms of challenges and opportunities of a solo author paper, of course being able to have full autonomy and know that this body of literature is going to reflect your voice, that’s an exciting prospect and it’s a great challenge. In a weird way it actually was one of the papers where I felt a sense of community the most. When you have a co-author or two, often times they’re your whole world in terms of having a sounding board. You come up with a new idea, you bounce it off only that one person or those two people and they’re your social context for the entire life of the paper and I didn’t have that in this case. Not only that but I was dealing in entirely uncharted territory methodologically, so I had no choice but to pull in a community of people as scholars to give me insight that I just didn’t have before and I was constantly consulting them. In an interesting way, I actually felt like this was one of my most social projects. I wasn’t interacting with them nearly as much as I would as a co-author but it felt very much like, it’s something that certainly made me feel stronger bonds with other colleagues.

Elizabeth: It’s a really interesting insight because you would not expect that with solo authorship. So, I want to step away from the concrete findings and the analyses that you did and talk about this paper in the context of business research and business education. So, one of the big critiques that I think business research and business education has faced for a while is the relevance of the work that we do. And we have people that are very applied, we also have people in the field that are very rooted in the basic social sciences. When I read this paper, what struck me was the realism of the context. I was familiar with this story but there was so much richness of data in this case. And so, my question for you is how do you see this story that you have told fitting into the business research field overall?

Drew: Yeah. I mean, I guess my hope was to draw on a case people were certainly familiar with in terms of surface level details but to help people maybe see it through a new pair of eyes because of this much more elongated and I think, protracted process than people maybe assume or at least are familiar with. Everybody knows about the mandate to get to the moon, but there’s not a whole lot of understanding of these other steps or even how the man on the moon goal fits into this broader context and how kennedy, what Kennedy’s big achievement was I think in this case, was helping people through a sequential process where each step built on the one before, feel this increasing and evolving broader perception. And, that is easily overlooked with what most people’s, and certainly mine before I got familiar with the case, lay intuition or basic understanding of how this case worked. But, I do think the familiarity with the case – my hope is that because it has this inherent appeal – is going to help people be a little more engrossed and want to engage in this conversation. And so, a combination of seeing new in the old or in the familiar was a prospect I found very exciting, really challenging as well because the ante is that much higher to make a novel contribution. But, none the less, it felt like something that was certainly worth trying.

Elizabeth: So, taking away some of the findings and seeing how they might apply to you or to this field, do you ever think of your own career in terms of the sense-giving steps you outlined in the paper?

Drew: Actually, yes. I think it might hijack the conversation or derail the conversation to get into the content of this long-term goal I have but I do have one long-term professional goal that I’ve already started thinking about in terms of a roughly 30-year time-span and broken up into three 10-year increments. And, I do have a pretty crystal clear vision of what I think would constitute success if I were to reach the end of this passage-way. And, it certainly seems meaningful to me, I mean it gets me out of bed in the morning and I’m excited just thinking about it and I’ve been talking to colleagues about it the last few days, getting increasingly excited about it. So, for me thinking through these ideas in the context of NASA was very helpful just from a personal standpoint. I’m enacting this, actually to a surprisingly large degree, with this one project.

Elizabeth: To end, our audience here is going to be mostly PhD students as this is for the ASQ PhD Blog and we’re talking about doctoral programs and education. So, in the role of mentoring PhD students, how do you think faculty members can do for those students what JFK did for the employees at NASA?  

Drew: So, yeah, I think a lot of PhD programs are structured quite nicely around milestones. In fact that word is often times used, right – you have a first year paper or second year paper, you have your comprehensive exams, and then you have your dissertation proposal, and then your dissertation defense. So, there aren’t too many of them so people won’t get too bogged down. If they think about their experience as a doctoral student as this kind of bounded period of time, there aren’t too many major mile-stones and I think that’s great. That helps you see a connection between where you are right now – maybe you’re in the thick of data collection or analysis – and then ultimately where you want to be upon graduation. I think a lot of people inherently might have a vivid, clear, concrete vision of where they might be. Maybe they can see themselves in a room defending their dissertation in five years or getting their diploma or accepting a job. I think where we probably don’t have, or where we could maybe use these insights maybe a bit more is with thinking about how our work is so inextricably tied to these broader ideals of higher education and of being at top research universities where we can, well in this case advance science actually, so, same ultimate aspiration as what I studied at NASA. But, you know, push thinking forward, help people adopt new frameworks, help people understand the world in a different way. Because, the way we think about the world and our convictions and our belief structures drive behavior and drive the way we interact and that’s ultimately what we’re interested in as social scientists. I think that’s a wonderful grand goal that I wish we talked about a bit more and could recognize that as we’re typing away at, wherever you are at 11 PM typing away and you’re on this one manuscript that’s just going to be one paper in this broader system of research and you’re not even sure if it’ll get published or not – why it’s so important to remain motivated and excited and engaged and inspired, because you are playing, you know albeit a small but essential role and an irreplaceable role in this broader system that has, I think, one of the most noble goals that any profession can have.

Elizabeth: Well I’m motivated.

Karren: Me too.

Elizabeth: Drew, thank you so much for spending your time with us, for sharing your insights with us, for helping to advance science.

Drew: Absolutely, it’s been a real pleasure; thanks for having me.

Karren: Alright, then, until the next time that we get the chance to interview Drew on a future ASQ publication – that’s all for now, thank you.

From the ASQ blog: This is one of the first podcasts conducted by volunteer ASQ bloggers and it looks great! We would like to extend this new format to all doctoral students who are interested in contributing to the ASQ blog. Get in touch with any of the blog editors or email asqblog@gmail.com if you are interested!  

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