The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the application of action research in the design of a degree‐level leadership skills programme in the English social care sector.
The action research study involved four formal semi‐structured interviews with strategic leaders in the social care sector and three focus groups with managers. The paper captures some of the reflections of university lecturers who are both researchers and collaborative partners in the project in its early stages.
The findings demonstrate consensus in the sector at regional strategic and organisational level about leadership skills required for future service models.
The sample remains small; however, the findings may have relevance for leadership development planning for social care in other regions of England, as the personalised care agenda gains momentum and services need to realign. Service users were not part of the focus groups and future activity that builds on this preliminary study may need to redress this. The implications of the research are that it offers a model of collaboration between a university and the workplace to support change through learning.
There is potential for a sector or an organisation to access management development accredited by a university that meets its needs, is focused, relevant and provides a model for continuing learning beyond the programme.
The paper brings together a range of well‐established concepts in action research, reflective practice and learning to help deliver change through collaboration. It explores the new demands being placed on care leaders in the independent social care sector when many international governments are facing fiscal challenges which may require care sector reform.
McCray, J. and Palmer, A. (2009), "Developing a work‐based leadership programme in the UK social care sector", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 465-476. https://doi.org/10.1108/13665620910976748Download as .RIS
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