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    Practice, Interrupted Narratively exploring a pedagogy for leadership development with emphasis on knowledge and power

    Conroy, Maeve (2021) Practice, Interrupted Narratively exploring a pedagogy for leadership development with emphasis on knowledge and power. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The choice of Practice, Interrupted as thesis title encapsulates the profoundly personal nature of this scholarly journey for me as a practitioner and researcher as I seek to go to the heart of my life's work in a way I never have before. As a Leadership Development (LD) Practitioner, I create and facilitate learning workspace for leadership in commercial learning environments. Through the process of unearthing and exploring concerns of a pedagogic nature, I challenge my sense of self, my understanding of how knowledge is created, and by whom, and the impact of power on the space for leadership learning. Adopting a critically reflexive stance significantly enhances my ability to deeply and at times painfully explore these aspects of my practice of LD. This inquiry is located in an LD programme entitled ‘Managers And Leaders Together’ or ‘MALT’, which I delivered at a production facility over seven months. The espoused normative assumptions behind the 'MALT' programme design include leadership being viewed as collective, situated, dialectic and privileging ‘wisdom in action.’ It includes a view of leadership in organisations as neither position nor possession, which it claims is humanising. In this way, ‘MALT’ favours a view of leadership as practice (Raelin, 2016), emerging and unfolding from daily experience. This study differentiates itself from prior research in three ways. Firstly, most research into LD has focused on concerns of a macro nature ʹ models, competencies, curriculum design and financial return. To date, there has been significantly less attention paid to how leadership development occurs within LD programmes, in particular, how LD practitioners prepare for and work with participant learners and their learning in workplace settings. Literature and research concerning the orientation and positioning of the LD practitioner as a pedagogue are to be found in higher education, public education, nursing and medical education. There is little evidence of such research in the commercial workplace learning environment. I identify this as a significant gap in the literature which this study seeks to address. Accordingly, the central purpose of the inquiry is an in-depth exploration of a pedagogy for LD. Pedagogy, as so used, focuses attention on that which takes place at the intersection of the practitioner, participants and the knowledge they produce, attending in particular to the conditions and means through which this occurs (Lather, 1994). Practice-based pedagogic choices are embedded in the MALT programme include experiential learning, reflective dialogue, meaning-oriented reflection and more. Emphasis is placed on using real-life experience as the basis for knowledge generation and meaning-making. Secondly, concerning methodology, I take the position of insider-researcher, drawing upon narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) to critically and reflexively explore my experience of delivering ‘MALT’ over seven months to Ϯε participants. Narrative methods are less frequently used in LD research. In this instance, the desire to access and understand the LD lived experience guided the choice of a story-telling methodology rich in detail and context. The third aspect that differentiates this study is that I draw on adult education literature and learning to examine my pedagogic thinking and decision making. Echoing the predominant concerns of adult educators, I pay particular attention to discourses of knowledge and power throughout. This study makes a claim to knowledge from several perspectives. There is a substantive contribution in offering a fuller understanding of the lived experience of an LD practitioner as she navigates and facilitates her way through an LD programme with the concomitant insights into knowledge and power that this research positioning reveals. The methodological contribution concerns a novel use of first-person inquiry along with critical reflexivity in a field that has been previously dominated by texts relating to macro models and frameworks.There is a significant impact on my practice, illustrating the value of engagement with ongoing critical reflexivity in LD practice and understanding the impact of pedagogic choices on knowledge creation and ways of knowing in leadership learning workspaces. As an LD practitioner, my capacity for agency and to foster agency in the participants is continually impacted by hidden discourses of power, which wind their way through the narratives. Drawing on adult learning perspectives supports the critical awareness of the impact of power in commercial learning workspace as it unfolds, enabling it to be interrogated and potentially transformed.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Practice; Interrupted Narratively; pedagogy; leadership development; knowledge and power;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 16030
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 31 May 2022 15:05
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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