Bennett, Anthony Joseph William
July 1st 1993 witnessed the creation of UNISON, with 1.3 million members, the largest trade union in Britain. The thesis analyses the effects of this merger between NUPE, NALGO and COHSE on the grassroots activists of the union. Much valuable industrial relations research exists on the causes and consequences of trade union mergers at the macro-level of the movement and at the meso-level of the individual union. The thesis complements and builds on this knowledge by focusing on the experiences and feelings of the lay activists at two UNISON branches over a two-and-a-half-year period following the amalgamation of their former union branches. Although also drawing on secondary data, the study is based primarily on a qualitative analysis of empirical data. In identifying that few theoretical and analytical constructs currently exist in trade union literature to study the implications of merger at the micro-level, the thesis employs theories and concepts drawn from the field of organisation studies. In this way, the thesis also offered an opportunity to test the efficacy of applying analytical tools to an organisation seldom considered in organisation studies. Specifically, the thesis utilises perspectives of organisational culture to analyse the aspects of consensus, conflict and ambiguity that arose out of the merger. Furthermore, in order to consider the subjective elements of a merger for the individual activist, the thesis draws on the theoretical and analytical concepts of ideology, metaphor, power and identity. The thesis demonstrates that only through the utilisation of such tools and theories of organisation analysis can the experiences and feelings of the lay activists with respect to the merger become more fully understood. The thesis further highlights the centrality of the values and beliefs an activist draws from their trade union ideology, the role conflict that they must often manage, the importance of knowledge acquisition for the individual, and the strategies of identity construction individuals undertake when confronted by an organisational change such as merger.
Higher Education Institutions are worth £45 billion to the UK economy, according to a report published in 2006 by Universities UK (UUK), the representative organization of the United Kingdom’s universities. The higher education sector has undergone considerable change with the introduction of the marketplace, tuition fees and business management structures and methods. Managing change as a middle manager is acknowledged to be important activity (see for example, Beer, Eisenstat and Spector, 1990) and yet there is a limited amount of empirically research that has been conducted to discover how change is managed in the higher education sector in England by these staff. This study explores the perceptions of higher education managers about their role in managing change in the higher education sector. It is an exploratory study based on thirty-one interviews with managers in nine universities from across the higher education sector in England. The universities were chosen to ensure there was a representative sample from the main groups within the sector and a geographical spread across the country’s regions. The literature review found a wide range of contrasting viewpoints that provided a myriad of support and confusing messages. There was a lack of information about how higher education managers manage and, in particular, how they manage change. Managers, and those who seek to help them, face challenges in seeking and providing guidance and improving practice. The middle manager has to manage change and use a variety of means to achieve it. They are caught in the middle between senior managers and staff and other stakeholders. They have primarily learned from experience but need support and guidance when they come across change projects of which they have no knowledge. This can be provided by access to case based practice and a network of experienced experts. This research recommends the creation of such support using new media available via the internet provided through professional associations such as the Association of University Administrators (AUA).
This research focuses on the perspectives and capabilities held by leaders as they seek to develop an effective engagement strategy when leading change. It has brought together aspects of change, leadership, engagement and leadership development theory in seeking to understand what helps and hinders leaders in developing engagement capabilities. The concept of engagement has taken on increasing significance in recent years, due to its link with higher performance and profitability in organisations. Much existing literature focuses on processes that encourage the involvement of others, and measuring engagement using survey questions. The surveys tend to focus on identifying if someone finds meaning in their role, and whether the environment they operate in enables engagement. This research has sought to use research methodologies based on action learning that encourages the development of capabilities enabling engagement, whilst examining the psychological and contextual factors that help and hinder development. The research draws on adult maturity theory which is used as a framework to aid analysis. This theory suggests that the capability to engage may unfold with the maturing process. This theory aligned with the findings resulting in a profile of what engagement looked like at various levels of maturity. This is useful in that by understanding the capabilities associated with engagement at various levels of maturity it supports leaders and HR consultants to identify development required, and potentially can aid the choice of leader for running change programmes. Four key themes were identified during the analysis. Firstly, the impact of context and how it impacts choices made. Secondly, the importance of capabilities associated with authenticity. Thirdly, the link with emotional intelligence. Finally, the importance of developing a learning practice. The implication of this research is that intent to engage is insufficient as is the focus on process and policy aspects of engagement. Engagement capabilities can be developed and the development of the individual needs as much consideration as the need to ensure strategy, policy and process is appropriate for the engagement strategy. It suggests that when considering major change in organisations focus should be placed on the mindset and capabilities of potential change leaders, to identify whether they have the capabilities likely to align to a particular engagement strategy and to support their understanding of their development needs.
This thesis is about how systems thinking might contribute to the successful management of change (MOC). The motivation is the increasing importance of MOC in an environment where competition and internationalisation of markets are ever intensifying: organisations either "change or die", yet MOC suffers adversely with unacceptably high failure rates. A critique of MOC literature shows that current MOe methodology is characterised by reductionist approaches with a diversity of confusing and contradictory suggestions and recipes. This is seen to be impoverished where different types of organisational change are interacting. All these suggest that MOC methodology itself needs to be improved and a systemic approach is more appropriate. In search of methodological underpinnings for proposing a systemic approach to MOC, literature on systems thinking is reviewed, indicating that systems approaches, especially critical systems thinking, are potentially powerful to inform the development of MOC. Nevertheless, important questions are raised about applying systems ideas to MOC. Further research is needed. And this has been done by triangulating data, theory and method to develop a fuller understanding of systems perspectives and their relevance to MOC. By combining MOC and systems thinking together in a theoretically informed way, a systemic MOC framework is suggested and revised. This framework is seen to provide a characterisation of MOC by identifying the conceptual components, a coherent theoretical structure by specifying and ordering the relationships between these components, and a way of helping understand and manage the diversity in organisational change systemically. This framework is theoretically underpinned and applied to a case study where different types of organisational change and their interactions are surfaced. The outcomes firmly support the view that MOe is characterised by different types of organisational change and their interactions, for which systemic approaches are more appropriate; thus the systemic MOC framework developed is seen to be useful in helping understand and manage organisational change more effectively. The findings are critiqued within the study, and from this come out the conclusions, and recommendations for future research.
This thesis is an action research investigation into the influence of my Christian habitus on my consultancy practice. My research question: How does my Christian faith inform the work I do? is located within the academic field of Spirit at Work. The complexity and difficulties of my professional practice are explored using the literature on Christian spirituality. My investigation uses the research method of practical theology to explore: my own Christian perspective; my role as a spiritual mentor; the nature of spiritual formation; and, faith in relation to work. The analytical methods of theological reflection, narrative inquiry, and autoethnography support the critical reflection. Five themes emerge: the evangelical basis of my Christian perspective; an understanding of the grace of God; the consideration of resistance as sin; strategies to enable spiritual formation; and complex combinations of faith in relation to work. This study has enabled me to interrogate my approach to spiritual formation in relation to work. My inquiry in a variety of contexts – with colleagues, one individual, and with a client –has developed my ability as a reflexive practitioner, and has strengthened my vocation as a spiritual mentor. I have used the Holistic Development Model (HDM) to underpin my approach to spiritual mentoring, and created a Christian interpretation of it. Spiritual formation is explored through the topics of: church, faith, purpose and mission using scripture, adventure and leadership, and difficulty and struggle. The research provides insights into my work as a professional consultant in the area of leadership development. My reflexive learning, combined with participative inquiry, provides an insider perspective on living within an evangelical Christian worldview. Difficulties over how to interpret Christian faith in work contexts are explored, particularly with regard to inclusivity. The research links spiritual formation with leadership, concluding that, in my practice, faith takes precedence.
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