A story of participants’ learning experiences: Illuminating the complexity and multi-dimensional process of learning on a postgraduate executive action learning programme

Ruane, Meadbh (2018) A story of participants’ learning experiences: Illuminating the complexity and multi-dimensional process of learning on a postgraduate executive action learning programme. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

This research presents a story of learning, a story that illuminates the complexity and multi-dimensional process of learning on an accredited executive Master of Business Studies programme, a programme underpinned by an action learning philosophy. The voices and perspectives of the participants are privileged. The research is underpinned by a social constructionist epistemology adopting a qualitative approach. Data were generated using individual and group interviews with 13 participants across four cohorts that had completed the programme.

Analysis adopted a narrative approach, the process was both iterative and messy, and culminated in developing a conceptual framework of learning and crafting a story of learning. The story of learning was crafted around themes that emerged during analysis: a trusted safe space; honesty and openness; emotion and feelings; being and becoming reflective; being supported; learning with and from each other; change and transformation. This research provides novel insights into the depth and richness of learning that can occur when adopting an action learning approach to executive management higher education. The research illuminates the role of emotion during the learning process and the importance for executive participants of having a trusted supported space for their learning.

This research extends the current body of knowledge of action learning, conceptually and methodologically. It presents a story of participant learning, sharing what it looks and feels like to be a learner on an executive management action learning programme. Practically, it is of value to academics, action learning facilitators and participants engaging with action learning in higher education by providing them with an insightful and holistic understanding from a participant perspective. Methodologically it makes a contribution vis-à-vis the use of story writing during the analysis process, as a way to make sense of the data, and as a means to present the findings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: N200 Management studies
X300 Academic studies in Education
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 15:25
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 09:47
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/39623

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