Shrek, Saunders and the Onion Myth: Using Myths, Metaphors and Storytelling.

Title of our paper Presented at the: – European Conference of Research Methods (ECRM) – Rome 2018.

Susanne Clarke has recently returned from the ECRM Conference in Rome after submitting a conference paper in partnership with Dr Lois Farquharson. The wider team also included our brilliant Student Research Assistant, Nancy Sheppard and a colleague from the University of Winchester, Dr Tammi Sinha.

Our working paper outlined our research method focused on Appreciative Action Research and the role that narrative has in embedding successful organisational change. The overall aim of our research is to develop a new model for leading organisational change specifically designed for Higher Education.  Our research suggests that existing management models to support organisational change are not easily adaptable for Higher Education.  We are not quite there yet but the research is shaping up nicely, largely due to the support Nancy (Nan) is giving us.  We are so proud and fortunate to be part of an organisation that supports student and staff co-creation in this way through  the Student Research Assistantship scheme.

The trip and the conference was hugely successful and great connections were made with colleagues from across the globe, a surprising number of whom who have similar research interests. One familiar face was The Mark Saunders who was a great sport and didn’t seem to mind his part in our title.

When we presented our paper the audience were supportive and provided lots of incredibly helpful feedback. One common factor was the pace of organisational change and the need to embed a culture of continuous improvement to meet the opportunities coming our way.

We did ask our audience one of our research questions which we have previously used in ‘World Café Events’ both locally and during a ‘Higher Education Transformation Network event’ hosted by Kings College London.   The question is the one we most enjoy asking: – “On a good day working in higher education, what is happening?’ We get a range of responses as well as understandable concerns that Appreciative Inquiry – learning from what works ignores problems.

This will be a good topic for my next blog as it is a common concern that I feel ready to tackle.

The conference was hosted by Roma Tre University, together with the ECRM team they did a great job in welcoming us all and running an inspiring agenda. If you want to know more about the conference do get in touch.

ECRM Future and Past • Academic Conferences and Publishing International

If you want to know more about our research get in touch too!


Susanne Clarke

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