“Criticism, something you have to learn to deal with”

“Criticism, something you have to learn to deal with”

Dies Natalis Master’s Thesis Prize Winner: Adam Shier

23-02-2024 · Interview

How can you ensure that people are more enthusiastic about doing a course or training for their work? This is what 24-year-old Adam Shier from Ireland researched for his master’s thesis in Human Decision Science. He graduated from the School of Business and Economics (SBE) last June.

Typing course

“Technology is constantly changing. People are becoming older and work longer. How do they stay up-to-date?” It sounds like an advertisement, but no, it is Adam Shier’s answer to the question why his thesis is so important. “People should do more work training to stay up-to-date.” But how do you make something like that appealing? “One option is that employees choose their own training. But there is not always enough room or time for that. A good intermediate could be that they are at least involved in the decision-making.” Content can also be disputed. To the reporter: “For example, for you as a journalist, a typing course would be helpful, but is that any use to you in your daily life? What if you did something else? Could you also use those skills?” If the answer to these questions is yes, the chances are greater that employees will start the training with enthusiasm.


The data was already there. Shier ‘only’ needed to analyse it. But that was a huge job with 20 thousand respondents. A pity, though, that he didn’t speak to a number of them, right? “No, not really, I find analysing the most fun part.” The Irishman chose something that wasn’t really up his alley. “The subjects were predetermined, many were in the ‘field of psychology’. I did a bachelor’s of Psychology in Ireland, so this would be the most obvious. But I wanted to challenge myself; you learn most from that.” He was indeed challenged during the writing process. Criticism from his supervisor was the order of the day. He feels that you have to learn to deal with that. “I remember that in the beginning, I was upset. I had put so much time and energy into it and now I suddenly had to do it completely differently.”

Special place in my heart

In the meantime, science has gained a special place in his heart. “I want to be able to make a difference and I am convinced that this can be done with research.” That is why – since recently – he has been working for the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) at the department of Behavioural Research Unit in Dublin. Here, research is carried out into the behaviour of people in the areas of sustainability, economy and health. Now Shier will be allowed to carry out the necessary experiments himself. “Hopefully, the results will be used for the Irish Government’s policies. For example, how people can reduce their energy use.”

What is he going to do with the prize money? That will be spent on a holiday in America or Asia. “Fortunately, I haven’t received it yet, otherwise I might have spent it on something else,” he grins.

Thesis prizes

Every year during the Foundation Day celebrations, prizes are awarded to students who wrote the best bachelor’s and master’s theses. They receive a certificate and a cash prize of 500 euros. Observant interviewed eight of them. 

Illustration: Simone Golob

Categories: news_top, Science
Tags: master thesis,prize,foundation day,Dies Natalis,SBE,work training,instagram

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