• Educating for the modern world: a report review

      Rowe, Lisa; University of Chester
      Purpose This review explores the Confederation of British Industry Education and Skills Annual Report (2018), which considers the issues and challenges facing employers in managing future workforce requirements against a backdrop of unprecedented global change. The review examines the evolvement towards the broader competencies of problem solving, resilience, communication and leadership to address concerns of a growing talent shortage. The review incorporates debate surrounding the relevance of student-owned identity, work-based learning, degree apprenticeships, lifelong learning and reflective practice. The purpose of this paper is to share a practitioner’s view of the report and provide a range of recommendations to develop and improve employer and higher education institutions practice. Design/methodology/approach This review combines desk research combining an industry-based perspective with a literature review to effectively consider the implications upon current and emerging higher education institutions and employer practice. Findings There were a number of key themes which emerged from the report. These include the need for effective, employer-led curriculum design, resilience building strategies, effectively situated workplace learning, the creation of time and space for reflective practice and normalising lifelong learning. Research limitations/implications As global change and technology continues to gather pace, skills demands will shift, new programmes and competitors will enter the higher education market and opportunities, funding and resourcing will rapidly change in the context of government policy, impacting upon employer appetite and strategies for supporting lifelong learning. This means that additional findings, beyond those highlighted within this review may emerge in the near future. Practical implications There are a number of practical implications in supporting skills development in the workplace from this research. These are reflected in the recommendations and include the development of flexible, innovative and collaborative curricula and effective work-based pedagogies. Social implications This review is of particular social relevance at this time because of the alarming fall in part-time and lifelong learning numbers juxtaposed with the threat of funding cuts and United Kingdom Government’s failed initiative to expand the number of apprenticeships in the workplace to 3m new starts by 2020. Originality/value This review is based upon one of the first published skills reports of the employers’ perspective within the new apprenticeship policy context in the United Kingdom. As a result, the work offers a unique insight into the emerging challenges and issues encountered by higher education institutions and employers working collaboratively in the twenty-first century business environment.
    • Entrepreneurial stories, narratives and reading – Their role in building entrepreneurial being and behaviour

      Manning, Paul; Stokes, Peter; Rodgers, Peter; Shlomo Yedidia, Tarba; University of Chester; De Montfort University; University of Birmingham; The University of Leicester (Sage, 2019-12-03)
      The article undertakes an innovative study focusing on the choices and manners of entrepreneur reading as a means of developing resilience and responding to the challenges and crises that entrepreneurial activity presents. The article explores predominant patterns of entrepreneurial learning and challenges the assumptions on which these are grounded. This allows original insights and perspectives to be developed with which to enhance understanding of entrepreneurial sense-making. The study employs a qualitative methodology involving purposive semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurs to determine the ways in which they identify, engage with and operationalize entrepreneurial behaviour based on their reading. The ensuing fieldwork provided a range of findings and discussion themes centred on dynamic and non-linear behaviour, reading and transformative learning events, and social interaction and reading. The study concludes with a range of observations on the power of reading in assisting entrepreneurs to develop resilience and behaviours for coping with the challenges and crises which are an integral aspect of entrepreneurial activity.
    • 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.