• Exploring the Impact of Reflective and Work Applied Approaches

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      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, 2017-12-04)
      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.
    • 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, 2017-12-04)
      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.
    • Reviving the Ubuntu Spirit in Landscapes of Practice: Evidence from Deep within The Forest

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2016-12-01)
      Contemporary being is framed and marred by commodification and individualism according to many scholars (for example Žižek, 2015; Furedi 2006, 2010). Walk around any large city and you will see advert, upon advert, upon advert, targeting individuals, with commodified items or experiences which aspire to make the individual feel better. Adverts for family health insurance do not target the collective family unit – they target and appeal to the concerns, values, or feelings of the purchaser to act as a responsible individual towards their family. You can walk past a faith establishment and find how they have been commodified – “Church for Hire!” (see Wall and Perrin, 2015: p16)...
    • 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, 2017-12-04)
      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, 2017-12-04)
      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, 2017-12-04)
      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.
    • Žižekian ideas in critical reflection: the tricks and traps of mobilising radical management insight

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2016-04-01)
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine how deeper psychosocial structures can be examined utilising a contemporary provocative theory within workplace reflection to generate more radical insights and innovation. Design/methodology/approach This paper outlines a provocative theory and then presents case examples of how deeper structures can be examined at the micro, meso and macro levels. Findings Deeper psychosocial structures are the forces that keep the status quo firmly in place, but deeper examination of these structures enable radical insights and therefore the possibility of innovation. Research limitations/implications Deep psychosocial structures shape and constitute daily action, and so work based and practitioner researchers can be tricked into thinking they have identified new ways of working, but maybe demonstrating the same workplace behaviours/outcomes. Workplace behaviours, including emotional responses to apparent change, are key indicators of deeper structures. Practical implications Ideas and processes for examining deeper structures can be integrated into daily reflective practices by individuals, within organisational processes, and wider, system processes. However, because deeper structures can appear in different forms, we can be tricked into reproducing old structures. Social implications (if applicable) Examining deeper structures increases the possibilities for more radical insights into workplace structures, and therefore, how to potentially mobilise innovations which may better serve people and planet. Originality/value (mandatory) This paper is the first to examine the work of Slavoj Žižek in the context of work based learning.