• Playful ambiguity for adaptive capacity

      Wall, Tony; Evans, Vicky; Hindley, Ann; University of Chester
      The need for managers to develop adaptive capacities is now widely documented; it not only enables the potential for organisations to flex in relation to environmental shocks, but it can be a protective factor for stress for the manager and employees more broadly (Ogden et al, 2006; Tökkäri, 2015; Kinder et al, 2019). There are various experiential, simulation, problem based, and live-realtime educational strategies that might promote aspects of adaptive capacity (Hurst et al, 2018; Bosomworth & Gaillard 2019 – in press). For some of these, ambiguity can play a role in navigating or negotiating the task; for example, not knowing how competitors may respond to a strategic move in a simulation task, or not knowing whether or how new group members will deliver their respective tasks for a group task (Wall et al, 2019). Such ambiguities are not necessarily valued or appreciated by students given the potential impact on their individual academic achievement (Wall and Perrin, 2015). Indeed, the "serious play" concept itself is "a practice characterised by the paradox of intentionality" (Statler et al, 2011: 236). This QIC pushes the intellectual and practical ambition of how far and in what ways ambiguity can feature as an intentional instructional design principle in developing adaptive capacities. For example, whereas many educational approaches may introduce ambiguity in the process of delivering a task (the pedagogic scaffold), many approaches do not introduce it around what the task actually is. Here, 'the task as scaffold' might be replaced by 'serious play as scaffold' whereas a particular mindset or attitudinal frame provides the behavioural coordinates for engagement in educational activity (Spraggon and Bodolica, 2018). This QIC therefore aims to explore playful ambiguity for adaptive capacity, and specifically asks: How can we create the conditions to foster and maintain the paradox of serious play (such as subjectively ‘safe’ spaces), especially set against contexts where learners can be instrumental in their learning? The QIC ultimately aims to pull together examples as well as developing new ideas to be tested in practice. References Bosomworth, K. & Gaillard, E. (2019 – in press) Engaging with uncertainty and ambiguity through participatory ‘Adaptive Pathways’ approaches: scoping the literature. Environmental Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab3095. Hurst D., Azevedo A., & Hawranik P. (2018) Building Adaptive Capacity in Online Graduate Management Education. In: Khare A. & Hurst D. (eds) On the Line. Springer, Cham Kinder, T., Stenvall, J., & Memon, A. (2019). Play at work, learning and innovation. Public Management Review, 21(3), 376-399. doi:10.1080/14719037.2018.1487578 Ogden, P., Minton, K. & Pain, C. (2006). Trauma and the body. New York: W.W.Norton & Company. Spraggon, M., & Bodolica, V. (2018). A practice-based framework for understanding (informal) play as practice phenomena in organizations. Journal of Management & Organization, 24(6), 846-869. doi:10.1017/jmo.2018.30 Statler, M., Heracleous, L., & Jacobs, C. D. (2011). Serious play as a practice of paradox. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 47(2), 236-256. Tökkäri, V. (2015). Organizational play: Within and beyond managing. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 10(2), 86-104. doi:10.1108/QROM-11-2013-1181. Wall, T. & Perrin, D. (2015) Žižek: A Žižekian Gaze at Education, London, Springer. Wall, T., Clough, D., Österlind, E., & Hindley, A. (2019) Conjuring a ‘Spirit’ for Sustainability: A Review of the Socio-Materialist Effects of Provocative Pedagogies. In: Leal Filho W., Consorte McCrea A. (eds) Sustainability and the Humanities. Springer, Cham.