• Practitioner enquiry for busy professionals: An accelerated learning model

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2011-11-04)
      Leaders and managers need robust data and analyses in order to make strategic decisions, though often have to act without this data in practice. Yet traditional forms of academic research have struggled to appeal and deliver for professional leaders and managers undertaking real decisions in complex, changing workplace environments. Professionals can perceive academic research (or research as part of an university programme) as a lengthy, costly and generally irrelevant process – representative of the ongoing, so-called ‘relevance gap’ (between higher education and the ‘real’ world) in many countries. In addition, managers can make decisions about research (more specifically, a data collection method such as a survey), without wider strategic thinking about their position (and hence research utility) or what they are trying to achieve. In order to resolve this, a model has been developed for the rapid management learning of practitioner research methodology. The model has been strategically designed to focus on the practical challenges of professional managers in the workplace, so it draws on a ‘critical-practical’ philosophical underpinning (enabling emancipatory approaches to be selected when desirable for the professional), and has been constructed through an appreciative-inquiry and grounded-theory approach to action research. The conceptual starting point of the facilitation model is a key “change / problem / development” that is important in the managers’ professional context - and clearly specifying 'who needs to be convinced of what'. This is then creatively and critically explored from different positions and perspectives (both as-professional and as-researcher) – and includes appreciative scanning of existing sources of knowledge currently available to the practitioner, inside or outside of their organisation. This is then used to specify a precise research purpose and precise research questions. In turn, this helps the practitioner decide a desirable and feasible research strategy, followed by data requirements, methods for data collection and analysis, and finally, a schedule. This model has been tested and developed in practice, as part of an ongoing appreciative inquiry process, and the findings are presented. Amongst other findings, managers have found that their confidence in their capacity to make methodological decisions has increased. The findings and model are critiqued further and new directions are identified.
    • Praxes of Academic Activism: Exploring Pluralities and Perspectives

      Wall, Tony; Robinson, Sarah; Elliott, Carole; Blasco, Maribel; Kjærgaard, Annemette; Callahan, Jamie; Padan, Tali; Bergmann, Rasmus; University of Chester; University of Glasgow; Roehampton University; Copenhagen Business School; Northumbria University; University College Copenhagen (British Academy of Management, 2019-09-03)
      The performative imperatives of being and becoming a business school academic in contemporary neoliberal circumstances are fraught with critiques and contestations, especially when set against intense and urgent calls to address global scale, societal and climactic crises. Within this context, there is a plurality of ways in which academics attempt to challenge, resist, and de-construct in order to re-construct possibilities for futures which embody sustainable sensitivities and action. However, the literature has not yet documented this plurality, so this workshop aims to collate and map the alternative praxes of academic activism, that is, the different perspectives and possibilities of how theory-practice is imbricated and expressed in practice. This participatory workshop invites and welcomes a range of scholars to experiment and explore the praxes of academic activism in a supportive environment, and consider future individual and collaborative agendas and acts.
    • Prefiguring higher education as action inquiry

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2010-09-09)
      Metaphorically, Storytelling can be used as an approach for personal or group development. The process of re-telling is particularly important in challenging practice, and shaping new practices. I offer a re-telling here in my own context of mass higher education. About how it could be? Moji glanced at her watch - she had a mentoring session at 2pm with Tom. She put down the latest issue of a leadership journal, and re-focused and re-framed her mind on Tom's learning journey. She found it difficult as she was frustrated that her field was still so positivistic and deterministic - it didn't feel like it had changed much since she was at university. Tom had already completed two years of his Honours degree. As Moji looked over his profile, she wished she had done Tom's programme at university. Tom had decided the structure of his degree, decided the contents, and decided the title of it. It truly was his degree. Moji remembered his last project at work... he had changed a workflow process in his department, using operations management theory, and wanted to know what impact it had made. It was fascinating. Tom had unleashed major controversy about thejjeoples' roles in that process - surely affected by the global economic crunch. He found it hard to deal with at the time... his learning emerged way beyond operations management, into how to draw on personal strength and resource in personally tough times. His use of motivation theory was inspired. A knock at the door disrupts Moji's reflections... Tom enters... Moji and Tom talk like friends that haven't spoken for years; they clearly know each other's life histories. Tom then gets straight in to his ideas about his next inquiiy around change management. A natural progression from the last project... 3pm arrives, and Moji has to end the dialogue with Tom. She wants to be at the dialogue group. She won't say anything in the group, as usual, but she wants to be there in case the group wants her to action anything. It's a positive group, now, but they had a rocky start... This paper visions the possibility of whole degrees through action inquires in a mass higher education system, and shares some of the lived opportunities and challenges this story holds, from practice across various UK universities. Questions will be asked of our practices, but new ones will be co-created.
    • Principles of Responsible Management Education

      Wall, Tony; Mburayi, Langton; Johnson, Nerise D.; University of Chester (Springer, 2020)
      Business and management education has received stark criticism over the last decade on a number of grounds including the extent to which it is producing leaders and managers who are effective, efficient, and more importantly, ethical (Ghoshal, 2005). This includes the claim that business and management education is not doing enough to promote the sorts of awareness and capacities for sustainability which transpire into practice (Crawford-Lee and Wall, 2018). Indeed, there is an ongoing view that current forms of business and management education promote dispassionate and detached perspectives in favour of profit, despite the development of social responsibility and triple bottom line paradigms (Wall, 2017; Wall, Tran and Soejatminah, 2017). Empirical work now seemingly supports this with evidence which suggests that business and management students are less ethical and are more corruptible than students from other disciplines (e.g. Haski-Leventhal, 2014), and that the Master of Business Administration (MBA) – the supposed flagship postgraduate programme of business schools – produces graduates which are demonstrably more self-serving than others (Miller and Xu, 2016).
    • Provocative Education: From Buddhism for Busy People® to Dismal Land®

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (University of Wyoming, 2016-03-14)
      In 2015, the OECD reported global investments in expanding and enhancing work-based education to better meet the needs of employers (indeed, the US Department for Labor has just announced its highest ever investment in apprenticeships). Within this ongoing trend towards conceptualising education through an economic lens, what do our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours tell us about how we (unconsciously) conceptualise contemporary education? This presentation experiments with a form of Žižekian ideology critique as a research methodology to examine (and intentionally provoke) how we relate to and engage with education as a student and customer, or teacher and service provider. Two examples of how education is commodified are examined: the "Buddhism for Busy People®" book, and the "Dismal Land®" theme park. Consistent with the research methodology, the presentation seeks to provoke sparks of insight and ideas rather than dictate learning outcomes.
    • Re-purposing MOOCs and OER for academic credit in the UK using the Work Based and Integrated Studies programme at the University of Chester

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (IGI Global, 2015-08-17)
      The chapter reviews the development of MOOCs and their relationship with formal learning (ie accredited) frameworks and qualifications. It cites a case study where the use of a flexible Work based learning framework enables accreditation for MOOC learning.
    • Re-purposing MOOCs for academic credit: a student and tutor perspective

      Talbot, Jon; Christensen, Tim; University of Chester (2015-09-10)
      The presentation briefly outlines practices in respect of the Accreditation of Prior Learning and their use in awarding credit for students who complete an automated assessment from a Massive Online Learning Course (MOOC). The presentation tells the story of how this was achieved for the first time from the perspective of the tutor and student. Some preliminary research findings indicate that this is probably unique in the UK.
    • Redressing Small Firm Resilience: Exploring Owner-Manager Resources for Resilience

      Wall, Tony; Bellamy, Lawrence; University of Chester; University of Sunderland (Emerald, 2019-04-24)
      Purpose: The owner-manager of small firms is recognised as having a potentially significant role in the small firm’s competitiveness, growth and failure. However, the owner-manager’s own resilience has been largely overlooked in the small firm resilience literature. The purpose of this paper is to redress this and expand the debate and empirical basis of small firm owner-managers’ personal resources for resilience. Design/methodology/approach: This longitudinal qualitative study deployed semi-structured interviews with nine owner-managers, each being interviewed three or four times. Analytical procedures were employed utilising an established framework which conceptualised four key personal resources for resilience as adaptability, confidence, social support, and purposefulness. Findings: There were four key findings: (1) owner-manager adaptability can appear in extremes including a sense of helplessness or optimism where disruptive circumstances are not sensed as problematic, (2) owner-manager confidence levels often echo their own mindset of adaptability, that is, from helplessness to positive ambition, (3) owner-managers can utilise discursive tactics with strong/weak ties for a range of affective as well as technical resources for resilience, and (4) purposefulness tended to be framed in terms of a necessity for a longer term future state related to own or family lifestyle, rather than profit. It is also noted that the owner-manager and the firm are closely interrelated and therefore enhancement of personal resilience resources is likely to positively influence their resilience, and therefore the resilience of the organisation and strategic capability of the firm. Originality/value: The small firm resilience literature typically focuses on the organisational level which de-emphasises the salient role of the owner-manager and their resilience. This study attempts to redress this.
    • Reflecting upon reflection: Beyond reflective cycles for study at doctoral level

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2009-11)
      The poster presents a case study on the way students on the newly accredited Professional Doctorate (DProf) programme at the University of Chester are engaged in a deeper, more critical approach to reflective learning. The programme, which draws upon over a decade of experience with the use of reflective models, examines the issue of progression in respect of reflective learning and contains a critique of existing models, where ‘reflection’ is regarded as rational and hence unproblematic.
    • Reflective practice for sustainable development

      Wall, Tony; Meakin, Denise; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-09-30)
      The efficacy of developing institutional approaches for, and curriculum content about, sustainable development, has been criticised as insufficient to change behaviour in practice (Wall et al, 2017). This partly reflects the deeply engrained nature of educational practices and systems and their effects on learners, and how these are an intimate part of how (un)sustainable futures are perpetuated. As Orr (1994, p. 5) articulates it, “[t]he truth is that without significant precautions, education can equip people merely to be more effective vandals of the Earth”. Against this backdrop, scholars have called for approaches which employ a deeper link between individuals’ knowledge and their critical attributes, that is, a greater need to facilitate the capacities of learners to engage in critical reflection to help transform how they view their responsibilities regarding a sustainable future (Viegas et al, 2016)...
    • The Reflective Practitioner: The challenges of supporting Public Sector Senior Leaders as they engage in reflective practice

      Rowe, Lisa; Moore, Neil; McKie, Paul; University of Chester (Emerald, 2020-10-13)
      This paper explores the challenges, issues and benefits of reflective practice faced by work-based practitioners undertaking negotiated experiential learning. The study focuses upon the case of a ground-breaking UK based Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) programme which requires learners to develop and apply reflective practice skills through comprehensive work-based learning and research activities. Degree apprenticeships represent a significant opportunity for providers and employers to become more closely aligned in the joint development and promotion of innovative learning opportunities, yet the efficacy of individually negotiated, experiential learning and reflective practice for senior leaders within a challenging healthcare environment remains relatively unexplored from a tripartite perspective. This paper investigates the role of reflective practice within a leading degree apprenticeship programme which embraces this pedagogic approach and considers the potential barriers and benefits for learners and their organisations. The paper begins by discussing the nature of reflective practice in the workplace and explores the growing importance of this activity in contemporary organisations. Theoretical and conceptual foundations relating to experiential learning and reflective practice are analysed and discussed. The SLMDA programme and NHS case organisation are described in detail. Qualitative data drawn from semi-structured interviews undertaken with learners, employers and Personal Academic Tutors (PATs) is then analysed to identify the key issues and challenges encountered. The study identifies the benefits of reflective practice, explores the challenges and issues that act as barriers to reflective practice and highlights the importance of the role of the Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) and that of employers in supporting and developing reflective practice in one of the first SLMDA programmes to launch within the UK. Although reflective practice and work-based research have attracted considerable scholarly activity, investigations have overwhelmingly been focused upon professions such as teaching and nursing and have explored challenges and issues from the perspective of the provider. This study explores reflective practice from the viewpoint of learners, employers and PATs and thereby seeks to compliment and expand current understanding by developing a more holistic approach. This work will inform future programme design, practitioner skills development and employer support procedures as learners plan and prepare to facilitate work- based research projects within their organisations.
    • 'Regeneration for practitioners' at the University of Chester: Using a flexible, work based framework to deliver demand based education for professional regenerators

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2008-10-21)
      This conference paper discusses the development of a regeneration programme at the University of Chester.
    • 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.
    • Repurposing MOOCs for the Accreditation of Prior Learning: A survey of practice in university Work Based Learning departments

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (Universities Association for Lifelong Learning, 2016-03-18)
      The presentation summarises a small survey of APL practices in work based learning departments in universities in England and Wales in respect of willingness to accept completion of a MOOC learning programme. The study found few students with MOOC certificates approached universities for accreditation and that few were likely to accept them in any case. The study highlights how many students are now engaged in work based learning and the varieties of practice associated with the Accreditation/ Recognition of Prior Learning.
    • Research methods

      Wall, Tony; Stokes, Peter; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014-12-05)
      This book explains what is required for carrying out a successful research project. Clear and well-structured, it allows students to quickly grasp key concepts in research methodology, taking them through the various stages of developing a dissertation in a step-by-step guide.
    • Research Policy and Practice Provocations – Towards Research that Sparks and Connects

      Wall, Tony; Hawley, Rachel; Iordanou, Ioanna; Csigás, Zoltan; University of Chester; European Mentoring & Coaching Council (European Mentoring and Coaching Coucil, 2016-06)
      The Research Policy & Practice Provocations reports offer a forum to engage in cooperative curiosity and to question some of the underlying assumptions our profession may hold about itself and about coaching and mentoring research. We hope you find some new energy, sparks, creative insight and connectivity by engaging with this new series. We extend a warm welcome to another opportunity to co-create our future profession. The first in the series, the June 2016 Research Policy & Practice Provocations Report aims to influence how we think about and how we conduct coaching and mentoring research. This report shares: 1. A snapshot of a study to investigate the perceived ‘gap’ between scholarly research in coaching and mentoring and the reality of everyday practice, and 2. Provocative ways of potentially responding to and dealing with the results of the survey – in terms of EMCC, researchers, and practitioners...
    • Research Policy and Practice Provocations: Coaching evaluation in diverse landscapes of practice – towards enriching toolkits and professional judgement

      Wall, Tony; Jamieson, Mark; Csigás, Zoltan; Kiss, Olga; University of Chester; European Mentoring and Coaching Council (European Mentoring and Coaching Council, 2017-03-31)
      The European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), with its vision to be the ‘go to’ body for coaching and mentoring across the globe, considers research to be a cornerstone of its strategy to spur the enhancement of practice, to spur innovation, and to drive the highest standards in professionalisation...
    • 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.
    • Resilience Education and Training

      Cregan, Karen; Rowe, Lisa; Wall, Tony (Springer, 2019-10-01)
      Gilligan (2000) describes resilience as process which engenders a sense of strength and confidence to succeed despite individual challenges faced and Noble and McGraph, (2011a; p.79) define it as "the ability to persist, cope adaptively and bounce back after encountering change, challenges, setback, disappointments, difficult situations or adversity and to return to a reasonable level of wellbeing". It has been suggested that these challenges can be controlled by an individual’s behaviours, thoughts and actions which, can be taught (American Psychological Association, 2018). However, Wu et al (2013) argue that developing resilience in individuals requires several ‘factors’ not least, an understanding of the genetic, epigenetic, developmental, psychological and neurochemical processes, as these can contribute to how an individual can cope with and develop resilience in the face of stress and trauma. In this way, resilience education and training is about building the capacities to cope as well as adapt to changes in generative ways, and includes a diverse range of strategies to develop personal purpose, confidence, flexibility and social support networks.
    • 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.