up another iterative cycle. . The key themes relate, surprise surprise, to underpinning contradictions in their practice viz : Target centred v process centred; Top-down led v collaboration; customer-centric v performance led. I
It is our hope that the cycles of inquiry continue in the organisation through the vehicle of conversations at all levels in and across the organisation.
Turning now to our professional Doctorate programme I believe it has the potential of generating new theory and practices and lead to the emergence of new professions. The extract below from a current DProf student demonstrates the process and how that process, in Whitehead’s words, is ‘living theory’
‘..you have the opportunity of reflecting on your own profession and in an academic sense articulating what it is your learning has been. And in the case of the doctoral project, looking for ways of helping your own profession to move into a place that it’s not at currently’
The last statement about ‘place’ is an interesting concept . It can be compared to Nonaka’s refernce to the Japanese concept ‘ba’ which ‘is here defined as a shared context in which knowledge is shared, created and utilised’ (Nonaka et al 2005)
Ba does not necessarily mean a physical space. In the Japanese ba means not just a physical space but a specific time and space ‘It is a concept that unifies physical space such as an office space, virtual space such as email and mental space such as shared ideals’ It is individuals’ ‘interaction’ within this notion of space which is key to understanding ba. ‘Ba is the context shared by those who interact with each other, and through such interactions, those who participate in ba and the context itself evolve through self-transcendence to create knowledge’ (Nonaka et al 2005:31)
It is also interesting that one of the MA students commented in his final project: ‘ I have a sense that after the Masters programme I am in a different place but probably not the place the organization wanted ‘
The Doctoral subject of the DProf student quoted above is ‘Global Account Selling’. He has international clients and the ‘educative influence’ can therefore be global.. But he is also proposing that the subject he is reframing in his research could also be taught within the Business School as a validated MA programme. He notes that as far as he can see the subject of ‘Global Account Selling’ isn’t offered anywhere else as a post-graduate programme. He is proposing that the MA be run in partnership with his own company and would have at its heart ‘living theory’ and ‘ be grounded in the workplace and [use] live data and enquiry with clients and co-workers at its heart’. For me this is the kind of influence I hope our post-graduate workbased learning programmes will have where theory and practice can inform each other.