The Centre provides education and training opportunities for a wide range of individual and group learning and development needs, and provides advice and consultancy to businesses and organisations both large and small. The Centre for Work Related Studies encompasses the Professional Development Unit and the Work-Based Learning Unit enhancing the employability of our students.

Recent Submissions

  • Coaching and ethics in practice: dilemmas, navigations, and the (in)spoken

    Wall, Tony; Hawley, Rachel; Iordanou, Ioanna; Csigás, Zoltan; Cumberland, Nigel; Lerotic-Pavlik, Nathalie; Vreede, Alex; University of Chester; European Mentoring and Coaching Council (2018-05-23)
    This Research Policy & Practice Provocations Report is the third issue in a series which aims to influence how we think about and how we conduct coaching and mentoring research. Developing our ethical compass is challenging but rewarding process as part of the professional development of coaching and mentoring practice. This report brings you an opportunity to refresh your thinking regarding ethics and ethical issues, and prompts us to consider expert perspectives towards illustrative challenges. Ethics and ethical practice are often seen as crucially important, both professionally and morally (Wall, Iordanou, Hawley and Csigas, 2016), and indeed has been found to be an area which is especially important to the high impact world of the coach and mentor (Wall, Jamieson, Csigás, and Kiss, 2017). In the last Provocations Report, for example, we highlighted an important question that needed to be addressed: “What might be the ethical tensions in evaluating coaching?”.
  • Ubuntu in adult vocational education: Theoretical discussion and implications for teaching international students

    Tran, Ly Thi; Wall, Tony; Deakin University; University of Chester (2018)
    Evidence now calls into question the efficacy and appropriateness of pedagogical practices that force international students to adapt to economically-driven and Eurocentric expectations. As a response to calls for alternative perspectives, this paper introduces the construct of Ubuntu, an African worldview prioritising ‘humanness’ and interconnectedness, and utilises it as a conceptual lens to examine the key tenets of engaging pedagogical practices in teaching international students. The findings point to three main ways that the Ubuntu perspective can manifest in teaching international students: humanness, interconnectedness, and situatedness. The paper offers new insights into how an under-researched, non-western human wisdom – Ubuntu – can be used to interpret international education practice. In doing so, it contributes to both theory building and provokes consideration of an alternative pedagogical lens. In particular, the paper draws on Ubuntu as a critical framework to challenge the conventional ways of viewing international students as the ‘other’ in ‘our’ educational system.
  • Creative writing for health and wellbeing

    Wall, Tony; Field, Victoria; Sučylaitė, Jūratė; University of Chester; Canterbury Christ Church University; Klaipėda University (2018)
    Creative writing for health and wellbeing has emerged from a constellation of arts-based practices which have been explicitly linked to health and wellbeing, that is, a set of practices which are recognised as having a role in “resolving the social and cultural challenges facing today’s world” (UNESCO, 2010, p.8). With a burgeoning empirical base of evidence of the role and impacts of arts-based practices for health and wellbeing, there is an increasing acknowledgment that such practices can help “keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived [and] help meet major challenges facing health and social care… ageing, long term conditions, loneliness and mental health” (APPG, 2017, p.4)...
  • Arts based approaches for sustainability

    Wall, Tony; Österlind, Eva; Fries, Julia; University of Chester; Stockholm University (Springer, 2018)
    The arts encompass a broad and diverse landscape of interrelated creative practices and professions, including performance arts (including music, dance, drama, and theatre), literary arts (including literature, story, and poetry), and the visual arts (including painting, design, film) (see UNESCO, 2006). They have been explicitly linked to sustainable development in higher education at a global level through UNESCO’s Road Map for Arts Education (UNESCO, 2006) and The Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education (UNESCO, 2010). Specifically, the arts have been deployed to promote human rights, enhancing education, promoting cultural diversity, enhancing well-being and, most broadly, “to resolving the social and cultural challenges facing today’s world” (UNESCO, 2010: 8)...
  • Conjuring A ‘Spirit’ for Sustainability: a review of the socio-materialist effects of provocative pedagogies

    Wall, Tony; Clough, David; Österlind, Eva; Hindley, Ann; University of Chester; Stockholm University (2018)
    Evidence suggests that wider sociological structures, which embody particular values and ways of relating, can make sustainable living and working problematic. This paper introduces ideology critique, an innovative methodological perspective crossing the fields of theology, cultural studies and politics, to examine and disturb the subtle and hidden ‘spirit’ which is evoked when we engage with everyday objects and interactions. Such a ‘spirit’, or ideology, embodies particular models of how humans relate to other humans, animals, and the planet more broadly. This paper aims, firstly, to document and demonstrate the subtleties of how the hidden ‘spirit’ can render attempts at sustainable working futile in the context of education, and then, second, to demonstrate how it can be used to intentionally evoke alternative ‘spirits’ which afford new relationality amongst humans, animals and the planet. In a broader sense, therefore, this paper explores how concepts and political commitments from the humanities, such as ideology critique and ‘spirit’, can help (1) analyse how wider social structures shape our values and beliefs in relation to sustainable learning, living and working, (2) explain how these behaviours are held in place over time, and (3) provoke insight into how we might seek to disrupt and change such persistent social structures.
  • Sustainability in the professional accounting and finance curriculum: an exploration

    Mburayi, Langton; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2018-08)
    Purpose: Whereas the integration of sustainability into business schools has received increasing attention in recent years, the debate continues to be generic rather than recognising the peculiarities of the more quantitative sub disciplines such as accounting and finance which may of course be intimately linked to professional standards. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to examine the extent to which sustainability is integrated into accounting and finance curricula in business schools, how, and to understand some of the challenges of doing so. Design/methodology/approach: This paper presents the findings from a systematic form of literature review which draws on the previous literature about how sustainability is embedded into business school curricula and the challenges in doing so. A particular focus is placed on how the ways in which sustainability is integrated into accounting and finance curricula in business schools. Findings: The paper demonstrates that accounting and finance lags behind other management disciplines in embedding sustainability and that institutional commitment is oftentimes a strong imperative for effective integration of sustainability. Practical implications: This paper is a call to practitioners and researchers alike to explore new ways of integrating sustainability in the accounting and finance curricula, including working across boundaries to provide learning opportunities for future accountants, financial managers, and generalist managers. Originality/value: The paper offers an original analysis and synthesis of the literature in the context of the accounting and finance curricula in business schools, and proposed a conceptual framework to further develop sustainability education in the context of business schools.
  • Art-Based teaching on sustainable development

    Wall, Tony; Österlind, Eva; Fries, Julia; University of Chester; Stockholm University (Springer, 2018)
    The connections between art, art making, education, and responsibility in relation to the wider natural and social world have been given increasing attention over the last thirty years. For example, there have been a variety of journal special issues dedicated to art, education, and: ecology (Krug, 1997), social justice and social change (Bolin, 1999), community and responsibility (Carpenter, 2004), ecology and responsibility (Stout 2007), health and wellbeing (Haywood Rolling 2017), and human rights (Kraehe 2017). Such a rise has been linked to trends in the human search for meaning and significance amongst (and resistance against) globalisation, domination of market forces, and an increasingly complex and chaotic environment (Taylor and Ladkin, 2009)...
  • Infusing ethics into Leadership Learning & Development

    Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Routledge, 2018-03-09)
    Whether or not ethics is explicitly covered in leadership learning and development activity, every intervention has the potential to reinforce or disrupt ethical values, standards and behaviours. How it is organised, how it is delivered, what it covers, what it excludes, and who is involved, all contribute to the learning of being an ethical leader. This chapter considers subtle but key considerations in designing leadership learning and development towards ethics. It also highlights cutting-edge research and practice of how to re-orient the content, delivery, assessment, and evaluation, towards infusing greater connectedness and collectiveness in leadership learning and development.
  • Service-learning and academic activism: a review, prospects, and a time for revival

    Wall, Tony; Giles, Dwight; Stanton, Tim; University of Chester; University of Massachusetts; Stanford University (Emerald, 2018-09)
    Service-learning is an educational movement with roots in academic activism fuelled by commitments to accessibility, social mobility, social justice, community engagement, sustainable development, and learning. Reviewing the voices of the original US ‘pioneers’ and contemporary practitioners over the last 30 years, this chapter argues that (1) contemporary service learning has been ‘mainstreamed’ in various ways, and that (2) such a re-conceptualisation seems to have re-formatted educational commitments in line with contemporary economic-framings and circumstances of higher education. However, it also argues that beyond overt compliance and resistance, it is possible for practitioners and higher education more broadly to create responses and spaces where educational adaptation and transformation can emerge. To facilitate such responses, it is important to embrace the strong driving force of passion and emotion which can drive and sustain change agents in practice. This chapter aspires to revitalise and rejuvenate academic activism as a legitimate catalyst of educational transformation on a global platform.
  • Resilience and the (Micro-)Dynamics of Organizational Ambidexterity: Implications for Strategic HRM

    Stokes, Peter; Smith, Simon M.; Wall, Tony; Moore, Neil; Rowland, Caroline A.; Ward, Tony; Cronshaw, Suzanne; University of Chester; University of Winchester; University of Central Lancashire; Liverpool Hope University (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-17)
    In the twenty-first century, resilience has emerged as an important topic linked to calls for adaptability, well-being and organizational performance. Extant strategic human resource management (HRM) literature and practices have developed many insights into resilience. However, overall, they have a propensity to conceptualise resilience as being associated with ‘macro-’ and ‘extreme’ situations. This paper complements the prevailing perspective by developing a micro-focus on resilience through the conceptual framework of organizational ambidexterity surfacing under-examined individual resilience in connection with HRM practices. Methodologically, the paper adopts a qualitative approach presenting data from two illustrative contexts: an ‘everyday’ quasi-governmental institution and a prima facie ‘extreme’ pan-international military organization. Using template analysis, a number of valuable themes and similarities are identified. The findings and discussion underline the managerial challenges in handling organizational ambidextrous dynamics and tensions surrounding resilience, positive and sceptical approaches in relation to individual and organizational stances towards HRM practices. As such, the results point at value in HRM managers and practices recontextualising and appreciating ‘extremes’ and resilience more as an everyday (rather than exceptional) phenomenon wherein myriad micro-moments are highly significant in constructing and influencing macro-contexts. This also implies a need to see cynical resistance as normative rather than automatically negatively.
  • Sustainability 2030: a policy perspective from the University Vocational Awards Council

    Wall, Tony; Crawford-Lee, Mandy; University of Chester; University of Bolton (Emerald, 2018)
    Purpose: The policy and practice sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning has become increasingly problematic in the last few years, and the extent to which sustainability and sustainable development are embedded in policy and practice spaces is a cause for concern. This paper posits a policy perspective from the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC), the national representative organisation for universities committed to the vocational agenda and an independent voice in the sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is a reflective policy and practice piece which draws on the latest policy moves by the UK government and associated organisations and engages the latest literature to examine the issues in policy and practice that need to be tackled. Findings: This paper argues for a greater integration of sustainable development into higher education, skills and work-based learning policy and practice, and specifically in relation to (1) creating inclusive workplaces, (2) promoting social mobility, (3) a balanced approach to productivity, health and wellbeing, and (4) embedding educational approaches and methods which promote inequality in workplaces. Originality/value: The paper is the only UK policy perspective explicitly dedicated to sustainability and sustainable development in the context of the sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning. Although it is focused on UK policy context, it will be of interest to international readers wishing to learn about UK developments and the sustainable development challenges in relation to its apprenticeship, technical and vocational education system.
  • Work integrated learning for sustainability education

    Wall, Tony; Hindley, Ann; University of Chester (Springer, 2018)
    An encyclopedia article related to work-integrated learning as a form of education for sustainable development.
  • Обзор практики применения программ обучения, совмещенного с работой, (WBL) в высшем образовании Великобритании, Талбот Джон, Костли Кэрол, Дремина Мария Анатольевна, Копнов Виталий Анатольевич

    Talbot, Jon; Costley, Carol; Dremina, A.; Kopnov, V.; University of Chester; Middlesex University; Russian State Vocational Pedagogical University (2017-02-15)
    The aim of the study is to review the practice of work-based learning (WBL), based on the experience of higher education institutions in the United Kingdom. Methods. The methods of system and comparative analysis, synthesis and generalization are used. Results. The background and development of WBL is given; the importance and value of this form of education in the modern, rapidly changing society is shown. The main characteristics are selected and basic aspects of WBL programs profitable different from traditional university programs are designated: relevance to real production processes; student centricity; flexibility of content which is built proceeding from interests of an employer and a student; high extent of integration of various disciplines and fields of knowledge; recognition of the prior certified and independent training; optimization of time expenditure; possibility of the choice of the place of training, its sequence, schedule of control actions, and other advantages. Options of a program implementation of WBL, complexity of their implementation and methods of their overcoming are described. A few critical remarks concerning WBL programs are also presented. Scientific novelty. For the first time the analytical review of WBL practice at a higher education level, which is widespread in English-speaking countries over the last 25 years, is presented in the Russian scientific literature in education. Practical significance. The materials provided in the article can be useful to heads and teachers of institutions of higher education; methodologists of structures of vocational preparation and advanced training of personnel of high technology productions; the employers heading large-scale industries and interested in upgrading of employees’ educational level.
  • Repurposing MOOC learning for academic credit: A survey of practice in University Work Based Learning departments in England and Wales

    Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2017-11-30)
    This small study is an investigation into the potential for converting learning from MOOCs into credit bearing qualifications in universities. The mechanism for achieving such conversion is the use of what is variously known as the Accreditation or Recognition of Prior Learning (A/RPL). The evidence suggests such practices in the UK are heavily concentrated in Work Based Learning (WBL) departments. This study investigated practices in 26 WBL departments in England and Wales. The results indicate there is very little awareness of the potential of MOOC learning as the basis for A/RPL claims among tutors in WBL departments. Moreover there are relatively few departments which have sufficiently flexible procedures to integrate MOOC learning into curricula. At a time when policy makers are seeking the removal of barriers to the recognition of informal and non-formal learning it seems there are few opportunities for those completing MOOC courses in England and Wales to convert them into recognised qualifications. The study provides evidence that in the UK completion of MOOC courses is unlikely to result in accredited qualifications.
  • Revisiting impact in the context of workplace research: a review and possible directions

    Wall, Tony; Bellamy, Lawrence; Evans, Vicky; Hopkins, Sandra; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12)
    The purpose of this paper is to revisit the scholarly impact agenda in the context of work-based and workplace research, and to propose new directions for research and practice. This paper combines a contemporary literature review with case vignettes and reflections from practice to develop more nuanced understandings, and highlight future directions for making sense of impact in the context of work-based learning research approaches. This paper argues that three dimensions to making sense of impact need to be more nuanced in relation to workplace research: (1) that interactional elements of workplace research processes have the potential for discursive pathways to impact, (2) that presence (and perhaps non-action) can act as a pathway to impact, and (3) that the narrative nature of time means there is instability in making sense of impact over time. The paper proposes a number of implications for practitioner-researchers, universities/research organisations, and focus on three key areas: the amplification of research ethics in workplace research, the need for axiological shifts towards sustainability, and the need to explicate axiological orientation in research. This paper offers a contemporary review of the international impact debate in the specific context of work-based and workplace research approaches.
  • Exploring the Impact of Reflective and Work Applied Approaches

    Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12)
    The impact agenda is now a global phenomenon with great expectations for ‘transformational’ impacts in the wider world (Gravem et al 2017). Paradoxically, such demands can hinder discovery through the avoidance unpredictable outcomes (ibid), and problematically, there is an over reliance on very narrow conceptualisations of impact, oftentimes adopting the metrics used by research councils or governments to allocate research monies. Such metrics are fiercely debated, partly because of a disconnect with practice, and their significance in creating and shaping industries whose primary purpose it is to administer and optimise the administration of research assessment activity...
  • Positive emotion in workplace impact: the case of a work-based learning project utilising appreciative inquiry

    Wall, Tony; Russell, Jayne; Moore, Neil; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017)
    The purpose of this paper is to highlight the role of positive emotions in generating workplace impacts and examine it through the application of an adapted appreciative inquiry process in the context of a work-based project aimed at promoting integrated working under challenging organisational circumstances. The paper adopts a case study methodology which highlights how an organisation facing difficult circumstances (such as austerity measures, siloed cultures, constant threats of reorganisation, and requirement to work across occupational boundaries) adapted an appreciative inquiry intervention/method. This paper found (1) that the utilisation of appreciative inquiry in the context of an adapted work-based project in difficult organisational circumstances generated positive emotions manifest through a compelling vision and action plans, (2) that the impacts (such as a vision) can become entangled and therefore part of the wider ecological context which promotes pathways to such impact, but that (3) there are a various cultural and climate features which may limit the implementation of actions or the continuation of psychological states beyond the time-bound nature of the work-based project. The paper illustrates how an organisation adapted a form of appreciative inquiry to facilitate organisational change and generated outcomes which were meaningful to the various occupational groupings involved. This paper offers new evidence and insight into the adaptation of appreciative inquiry under challenging circumstances in the context of a work-based learning project. It also provides a richer picture of how positive emotion can manifest in ways which are meaningful to a localised context.
  • The challenges of managing degree apprentices in the workplace: a manager’s perspective

    Rowe, Lisa; Moss, Danny; Moore, Neil; Perrin, David; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-11)
    This paper explores the issues and challenges facing employers as they manage degree apprentices in the workplace. It examines the relationship between managers and apprentices undertaking a work-based degree. This research is of particular relevance at this time because of the UK government’s initiative to expand the number of apprenticeships in the workplace to three million new starts by 2020 inevitably bringing a range of pressures to bear on employers (BIS, 2015). The purpose is to share early experiences of employer management of degree apprenticeships, and provide a range of recommendations to develop and improve employer and HEI practice. This paper combines desk research with qualitative data drawn from interviews with a range of cross-sector organisations to investigate the employer’s experience of developing the new Degree Apprenticeships. The data is explored inductively using thematic analysis in order to surface dominant patterns and considers the implications of findings upon current and emerging HEI and employer practice and research. There were a number of key themes which emerged from the data collected. These included the need for effective, employer-led recruitment processes, careful management of expectations, sound HEI retention strategies, employer involvement and board level motivators to ensure organisational benefits are derived from effectively situated workplace learning and a focus upon effective, empowering mentoring and support strategies. As degree apprenticeship standards and programmes are currently at the early stages of implementation, and opportunities, funding and resourcing are rapidly changing in the context of government policy, so too will employer appetite and strategies for supporting degree apprentices, along with apprentice behaviour. This means that additional findings, beyond those highlighted within this paper may emerge in the near future. There are a number of practical implications supporting managerial development and support of degree apprentices in the workplace from this research. These are reflected in the findings, and include the development of flexible and collaborative processes, resources, mentor training and networks. This paper is one of the first published accounts of the employers’ perspective of managing a Degree Apprenticeship within the new policy context in the UK. As a result the work offers a unique insight into the emerging challenges and issues encountered by managers working with degree apprentices in the twenty first century business environment.
  • The ignorant manager: conceptualising impact with Rancière

    Scott, Deborah S.; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017)
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to offer a response to expressions in the literature concerning the limitations of critical reflection, using Rancière’s exposition of the role of values and reasonableness to examine how forms of negotiated work based learning can support learners’ pathways to impact in their organisation. The implications for work applied management in terms of enabling these employees to make an impact are considered. Design/ methodology/ approach Vignettes illuminate and articulate Rancière’s (1991; 2010) ideas, the vignettes constructed through events experienced and narrated, perhaps imagined, tutorial conversations, assignments and work practices. Such construction of ‘multiple layers of fiction and narrative imaginings’ draws on Sparkes (2007, p. 522). They consider individuals’ negotiation of working practices using ideas developed during their studies, and personal and professional development prompted by unexpected insights into their capabilities, interests and possible roles. Findings Negotiated work based learning appears to offer the individual opportunity to take responsibility for action in their learning and in their workplace, but effect depends on several factors, and can be perceived in different ways. Students’ encounter with autonomy in their studies resonates with Rancière’s belief in equality. In the workplace (becoming ‘citizens’ alongside ‘reasonable’ individuals) their agency might, at best, lead to ‘reasonable moments’, as they encounter both negative and positive challenges of work applied management. Practical implications Successful utilisation of agency in learning prompts expectations of responsibility and equality in the workplace. Such equality can lead to diverse, unpredicted insights and consequent opportunities for changes in practice. Originality/ value This is the first paper to utilise Ranciére’s ideas to offer a critical consideration of both learning provision and workplace practice. Consideration of his profound stance on individuals’ freedom and agency provides rich (but challenging) prompts for analysis of one’s own practice, and the potential for impact when the manager is ‘ignorant’.
  • The impact of story: measuring the impact of story for organisational change

    Wall, Tony; Rossetti, Lisa; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-12)
    Purpose: The role of dialogue has recently been identified as being important in generating impact in organisations, but the purposeful use of narrative or story-based approaches to effect organisational change and service improvement is still relatively innovative. This paper documents and examines two projects in health and social care settings which aim to generate organisational development and service improvement. Design/methodology approach: The paper evaluates and compares two case studies of story based organisational development and service improvement projects in the UK. This involved developing an appropriate evaluation framework and assessing the impacts in each case using semi-structured interviews and thematic content analysis. Findings: This paper reports the diversity of impacts and outcomes that were generated by the projects. Specifically, it is argued that there is a strong indication that story-based projects best achieve their objectives when clearly linked to key organisational strategic drivers or pathways, as evidenced by robust evaluation. Practical implications: This paper recommends that researchers and practitioners, working with story-based methods, design credible and robust evaluative practices, in order to evidence how their work supports organisations to meet current sector challenges. The paper recommends a flexible evaluation framework for evaluating story-based projects in the workplace. Originality/value: This paper offers new evidence and insight into the impacts and outcomes of using story-based approaches, and a new evaluation framework for these sorts of projects.

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