Daniel Gulanowski is all about synergy—working together to make real change in the world. He strongly believes the best way to foster change is to work together and build collaborations, share knowledge, and to follow your dreams. His dream? To help people use technology to adjust to new societies; to give newcomers into Canada the best possible opportunity to succeed. And, he is proving that it is a win-win for our nation.

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Daniel Gulanowski, Assistant Professor, International Business, Sprott School of Business

Born and raised in Poland, Gulanowski immigrated to Canada and completed his undergraduate degree with a dual major in Commerce and Economics, graduating with honours from the University of Toronto. But it was during his MBA at Ryerson University when he experienced a major shift in his passion for academia. Gulanowski realized he could be an agent of change; that research could be highly contributive to the larger narrative and have a significant impact, not just on theories, but also practically, such as on policy and the way people live. Gulanowski’s own experiences and challenges as a newcomer inspired him to study global mobility and newcomers’ integration. And, he found the perfect fit at Sprott, where he completed his PhD in Management and International Business.

Now as a faculty member, Gulanowski’s research examines how organizations can facilitate the movement of people across borders with the use of technology, and most importantly, how to do this in a way that helps them adjust well to new cultures and different environments. Gulanowski’s research is already breaking ground, revealing how online forums and blogging are essential tools in providing support and guidance for newcomers (such as expatriates and their families, migrant workers, and international students).

“These groups all face unique and different challenges and have different access to resources and social support. These differences may pose certain restrictions on an individual’s success at adjusting to a new environment.”

The idea of technology as one of the main avenues for newcomers to gain knowledge and support is quite novel; very little research has been done to explore the important roles of online forums and blogging in this context. Gulanowski and colleagues are highly interested in how and why newcomers use online technologies, teasing out the different factors that contribute to facilitating newcomers’ integration into the workforce and help them adapt to their new environments; combing this data with qualitative interviews to develop a robust framework and understanding. One stream of his research examines user stories—the textual discussions both on forums and on blogs. The analyses of the emotional context of user posts has been quite revealing. For example, expression of users’ emotions in blogs both increases the amount of responses to that user and triggers similar emotional responses from other blog users. In other words, the more emotional a post is, the more it gives the user access to further online support and connections, which are vital for improving newcomers’ adjustment and integration.

Newcomers, in general, have different types of challenges, but adjustment is always a challenge with or without technology. What technology does is facilitate access across time and space to social support resources, such as information, advice, and companionship, which may help newcomers deal with their experiences of uncertainty, anxiety, and ambiguity.”

One of Gulanowski’s important findings has revealed that online forums and blogging technologies as resources have not yet reached their full potential in providing help. As more and more people utilize these platforms and add new information and guidance, the users become the co-creators—they work synergistically to exchange and create new information and knowledge, stimulating the forums to grow and expand. Furthermore, Gulanowski discovered that many users are accessing forums before moving to Canada, suggesting that forums are particularly valuable for preparing newcomers for migration and managing their expectations about their skills, Canadian culture, and the employment market.

Gulanowski’s findings in this area are quite valuable as there is a concurrent problem happening in the country: A of skilled workers, while at the same time, a significantly large portion of the immigrant population is having difficulty finding meaningful employment. Gulanowski is sharing his insights with the Canadian government to illustrate that better information and preparedness of newcomers along with managing their expectations is good for everyone. In fact, it is a game changer. By working collaboratively with researchers, government, and organizations, Gulanowski is offering a solution: Online technologies are successful at providing advice and disseminating knowledge and information about culture and work environments to newcomers before they come to Canada. Educating newcomers and setting them up to successfully integrate, have adequate support, and ultimately find meaningful employment to bridge the gap—that is a win-win.

“Online technologies can create online communities: A virtual place that is fueled by users as they gain and create new knowledge and information and develop networks of relationships. And, by the exchange of experiences, users can create new information and resources and come to more informed conclusions. It really is synergistic and co-creative. Moreover, as our world continues to adjust to new norms (such as with COVID-19), it is even more important that online technology play a vital role in accessibility of knowledge resources for newcomers. As a result, this avenue of research is gaining more and more significance.”

Gulanowski is already brimming with to kick-start his career and research. And as Gulanowski’s research grows he will continue to investigate the roles of various contemporary social media technologies in helping newcomers adjust and integrate into new foreign environments. Moreover, with the passion to explore new avenues of International Business, he sees the future of his research cross-pollinating with many disciplines and collaborators—including his students—to create a well-rounded perspective on his research topics. He loves teaching and inspiring young minds to aim high. He wants to share the knowledge forward—preparing students for the world ahead. That is synergy, that is his dream, and it is a win-win.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 in , ,
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