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Article
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Lee Fergusson

Work-based research is the applied form of work-based learning (WBL) and has been described as the systematic and methodical process of investigating work-related “problems

Abstract

Purpose

Work-based research is the applied form of work-based learning (WBL) and has been described as the systematic and methodical process of investigating work-related “problems”. Such problems can either be associated with specific workplaces and domains of practice or may more broadly be described as practical, social or real-world in nature. However, the specific characteristics of work-related problems for organisations and society have yet to be explained, and inadequate problem definition, multiple and competing goals, and lack of agreement on cause-effect relationships have hampered understanding. The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of work-related problems and provides examples from real-world contexts in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides models and examples of standard and non-standard work-related problems based on prior research and current practice.

Findings

Research paradigms view work-related problems as either definable and solvable or ill-defined, complex, difficult to describe and not easily rectified. The former view is concerned with “high ground problems” associated with traditional research methods; the latter with “lowland, messy, confusing problems” more frequently associated with the social sciences. Irrespective of orientation and definition, work-related problems have one thing in common: they are typically messy, constantly changing and complex, and many are co-produced and wicked.

Originality/value

Despite difficulties with identifying and isolating the various types of work-related problem, the paper establishes the importance of doing so for the practitioner. The definition and examination of work-related problems contribute to an evolving formulation of WBL and its application to private organisations, government agencies and work more generally.

Details

Journal of Work-Applied Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2205-2062

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 31 January 2020

Lee Fergusson, Luke van der Laan, Bradley Shallies and Matthew Baird

This paper examines the relationship between work, resilience and sustainable futures for organisations and communities by considering the nature of work-related problems

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the relationship between work, resilience and sustainable futures for organisations and communities by considering the nature of work-related problems (WRPs) and the work-based research designed to investigate them. The authors explore the axis of work environment > work-related problem > resilience > sustainable futures as it might be impacted by work-based research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper introduces two current real-world examples, one in Australia and one in Asia, of work-based research projects associated with higher education aimed at promoting resilience and sustainability, and discusses the research problems, questions, designs, methods, resilience markers and sustainability markers used by these projects.

Findings

Work-based research, when conducted rigorously using mixed methods, may contribute to increased resilience of organisations and communities and thereby seeks to promote more sustainable organisational and social futures.

Practical implications

Work-based research conducted in higher education seeks to investigate, address and solve WRP, even when such problems occur in unstable, changing, complex and messy environments.

Social implications

Resilience and sustainable futures are ambiguous and disputed terms, but if work-based research can be brought to bear on them, organisations and communities might better adapt and recover from challenging situations, thus reducing their susceptibility to shock and adversity.

Originality/value

While resilience and sustainability are commonly referred to in the research literature, their association to work, and specifically problems associated with work, have yet to be examined. This paper goes some of the way to addressing this need.

Details

Journal of Work-Applied Management, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2205-2062

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Donal Carroll

Suggests that in order to meet the new challenges of the Learning and Skills Council, post‐compulsory education and training organisations need to develop a new…

Abstract

Suggests that in order to meet the new challenges of the Learning and Skills Council, post‐compulsory education and training organisations need to develop a new organisational culture which is more open, informing and entrusting. As part of this, and enabling a more creative climate, organisations can extend their problem solving “toolkit” beyond the orthodox and traditional, by embracing creative problem solving (CPS) techniques. At a more structural level, they will need to develop idea generating systems as part of managing innovation. The bottom line benefits of CPS approaches are outlined. Examples of using CPS techniques are given and a means of developing critical practice in using them. A second article deals with more systematic organisational ways of using creative ideas and approaches to manage innovation. Some examples of the benefits and outcomes of this approach are given along with an organisational “primer” for managing innovation.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 20 October 2014

Judith K. Shawcross and Tom W. Ridgman

This paper identifies the activities to be undertaken by students during short industrial placements. The purpose of this paper is to obtain a better understanding of what…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper identifies the activities to be undertaken by students during short industrial placements. The purpose of this paper is to obtain a better understanding of what students do during their placements and provide a framework that supports both teaching and learning. This research focuses on a masters-level programme that contains a series of four, two week industrial placements where groups of two students work on a real and significant issue for the host company.

Design/methodology/approach

A framework, developed from literature, describes a placement in terms of 17 high-level activity groups. A multi-stage action research method was applied to test the framework and develop a more detailed level framework. This used insights gathered from students, tutors and researchers on all 80 placements undertaken during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Findings

The 17 high-level activity groups and their configuration in the framework were confirmed. For the 12 process activity groups, 64 activities were identified and included into a detailed level framework. For the five through-placement activity groups some specific activities were captured and further work remains to capture the others.

Originality/value

These complex industrial placements can now be described consistently to students, companies and tutors using an evidence-based framework. Literature searches have not identified any other equivalent research-based frameworks. Other HE programmes also use similar industrial placements and this framework will provide a basis to support these and add to the body of knowledge in work integrated learning.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Benedikte Borgström

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyse a methodology for studying the practice of logistics and supply chain management (SCM), namely the mystery methodology.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyse a methodology for studying the practice of logistics and supply chain management (SCM), namely the mystery methodology.

Design/methodology/approach

Many SCM and logistics researchers share methodological presuppositions concerning the “reality status” that are usually unspoken and deviating from presuppositions of the methodology here investigated. By proposing an alternative methodology, the paper stimulates further ideas that will advance the discussion of research methodologies in SCM.

Findings

The methodology facilitates exploration and elaboration of anomalies in theory and in practice. The mystery construction process facilitates SCM research in three ways: as a consistent methodology for practice research; for learning and responsiveness to new insights; and with the problem of bounding the case.

Research limitations/implications

The methodology is delimited by its constructivist/interpretivist assumptions in order to provide accurate representations. It makes possible richer insights into, and the meaning of, SCM phenomena in which social action can be understood in an intelligible way.

Practical implications

Construction of mysteries opens up for learning during the research process by refining the research question and the literature base. Under the assumption that the researcher is knowledgeable about the literature in a variety of areas, the methodology implies rigour and relevance in SCM research.

Originality/value

This paper is grounded in contemporary supply chain integration problems and develops the discipline further with its alternative approach in which practice of action is in focus.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 42 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 24 May 2011

David J. Teece

This paper aims to recommend dynamic capabilities as an integrative framework for the business school curriculum.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to recommend dynamic capabilities as an integrative framework for the business school curriculum.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discusses the history, sources, and consequences of the disciplinary fragmentation of most curricula. There is a determined effort to draw on all the relevant social science disciplines along with practice to create an intellectually coherent, interdisciplinary framework.

Findings

The dynamic capabilities framework can provide guidance for integrating the curriculum across disciplines and between theory and practice.

Social implications

Implementation along the lines proposed will give students more of what they need and allow business schools to graduate individuals with a better chance of managing organizations in fast‐changing environments exposed to strong global competition.

Originality/value

The application of one of the dominant paradigms in management studies is proposed as a framework for integrating and enhancing the entire business school curriculum. There is no other framework that purports to do so in an intellectually coherent manner.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2011

Jocelyn Small and Derek Walker

The purpose of this paper is to emphasise projects as being part of a social process. It aims to move away from the traditional views that lay emphases on linear and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to emphasise projects as being part of a social process. It aims to move away from the traditional views that lay emphases on linear and predictable models of project practice to one that better highlights the complex nature of human interrelations.

Design/methodology/approach

The work reported upon involved a case study where one of the authors was embedded as a reflective practitioner undertaking action learning and elicitation of knowledge from colleagues using soft systems methodology as a primary research method.

Findings

Findings from the doctoral research implemented in the Middle East, indicate that socio‐cultural factors in project contexts affect knowledge creation processes critical to organisational change.

Research limitations/implications

Research results benefited from viewing the project organization as a “complex adaptive system” with a structurally open project entity facilitating the contextual interconnections necessary for detecting and creating environmental change.

Practical implications

Pragmatic knowledge was seen as emergent through movement of human interactions and contributed to the portrayal of the project organisation as a “becoming” cognitive system whose resilience is dependent upon producing meaning as opposed to processing information. When change management is viewed in a multicultural context such as this, within this paradigm, then greater emphasis will likely be placed upon complexity and uncertainty issues arising out of the interplay of culture and the political aspects of managing change in a more empathic way.

Originality/value

Complexity in project management and theory has traditionally focussed on technical and structural aspects of project practice; but given the heterogeneous nature of human capital residing in today's organisations, aligning social systems with nature where disorder and uncertainty prevail, provides a more relevant ecological model of social analysis. The paper shows that the challenge today for those working in culturally pluralistic project environments is to make sense of such multiple realities and disparities in language to effectively manage the inherent power relationships that influence project outcomes.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 20 February 2018

Anthony Alexander, Maneesh Kumar and Helen Walker

The purpose of this paper is to apply the aspects of decision theory (DT) to performance measurement and management (PMM), thereby enabling the theoretical elaboration of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply the aspects of decision theory (DT) to performance measurement and management (PMM), thereby enabling the theoretical elaboration of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in the business environment, which are identified as barriers to effective PMM.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of decision theory and PMM literature establishes the Cynefin framework as the basis for extending the performance alignment matrix. Case research with seven companies explores the relationship between two concepts under-examined in the performance alignment matrix – internal dominant logic (DL) as the attribute of organisational culture affecting decision making, and the external environment – in line with the concept of alignment or fit in PMM. A focus area is PMM related to sustainable operations and sustainable supply chain management.

Findings

Alignment between DL, external environment and PMM is found, as are instances of misalignment. The Cynefin framework offers a deeper theoretical explanation about the nature of this alignment. Other findings consider the nature of organisational ownership on DL.

Research limitations/implications

The cases are exploratory not exhaustive, and limited in number. Organisations showing contested logic were excluded.

Practical implications

Some organisations have cultures of predictability and control; others have cultures that recognise their external environment as fundamentally unpredictable, and hence there is a need for responsive, decentralised PMM. Some have sought to change their culture and PMM. Being attentive to how cultural logic affects decision making can help reduce the misalignment in PMM.

Originality/value

A novel contribution is made by applying decision theory to PMM, extending the theoretical depth of the subject.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2011

Hans Losscher

The purpose of this paper is to provide a platform to improve leadership practices through variety engineering in terms of amplifying and attenuating variety.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a platform to improve leadership practices through variety engineering in terms of amplifying and attenuating variety.

Design/methodology/approach

Chemers's functional integration of image management, relation development and resource deployment as the building blocks of leadership is mapped onto Espejo et al.'s variety engineering individual‐task loop, consisting of cognitive, interactive and task venues.

Findings

It is found that traditional leadership can be usefully mapped onto the language of variety engineering.

Originality/value

Management is distinguished from leadership. The paper is an early attempt to translate a leadership model into the language of cybernetics.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 40 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 July 2021

Tashmin Khamis, Azra Naseem, Anil Khamis and Pammla Petrucka

The purpose of this research is to focus on work-based problems catalysed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, based on a case study of a multi-continental, multi-campus…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to focus on work-based problems catalysed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, based on a case study of a multi-continental, multi-campus university distributed across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Pakistan. Higher education institutions (HEIs) in developing countries lacked pre-existing infrastructure to support online education and/or policy and regulatory frameworks during the pandemic. The university's programmes in Pakistan and East Africa provide lessons to other developing countries' HEIs. The university's focus on teaching and learning and staff development has had a transformational organisational effect.

Design/methodology/approach

Case study with participatory approaches aimed at co-production of responsive systems and co-creation of effective curriculum and faculty training is used.

Findings

Systems and processes developed across the university in the effort to ensure educational continuity. From the disruption to all educational programmes and the disarray of regulatory bodies' responses, collaboration emerged as a key driver of positive change. The findings reiterate the value of trust and provision of opportunities for those with the requisite competencies to lead in a participatory and distributive manner whilst addressing limited human and financial resources. The findings reflect on previous work respecting organisational change recast in the digital age.

Originality/value

This paper reflects the authors' work in real-time as they led and managed changes encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper will be of value to management and leadership cadres, particularly in developing contexts, responsible for recovery and sustainability of the higher education sector.

Details

Journal of Work-Applied Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2205-2062

Keywords

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