My presentation at this year’s University of Bedfordshire International Systemic Winter School

In case this is of interest, here is the proposal for my presentation at this year’s Systemic Winter School to be held in the beautiful lake district from 3-5 February 2016:

Leadership as the curating of workplace communities in the Third Sector

Description of seminar:

wise womenI was intrigued by this rather witty illustration on social media over Christmas. It re-imagines an alternative view of leadership that’s traditionally depicted, i.e., performed by three wise men/kings, bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. In my view, this modernist legacy of an elitist, gendered, hierarchical and commercially driven discourse of leadership is still very much in evidence today.

That this illustration is considered parody speaks volumes. Social/people oriented (soft) approaches – as the hard-soft vocabulary suggest – continues either to be the exception or subsumed into the business discourse of organisational branding and competitive advantage.


My presentation will be in two parts. In the first half, I will be share my research proposal, in particular, my reading and writing so far on developing an alternative to managerialism for non-profit organisations. Using a vignette from my practice and insights from social constructionism, I will attempt to point to what I perceive as social consequences of commercial managerial practice, and begin to articulate what a communitarian model for organising and leading might look like.

Secondly, I will invite participants who have experience of, or are currently working in, a not-for-profit setting, to reflect on, and discuss the proposition that managerialism can inadvertently lead to social strife, mission drift and loss of idealism in organisations that do share its ideological view.

“Just because it’s always done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done”.

Cinderella on stag hunting, in the 2015 movie adaption

About me:

A Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development, with post graduate degrees in Human Resource Management and Organisation Development, I’ve worked in HR for over about 25 years. I came to England as a diplomat and having decided to settle in the UK, went to work for British Airways. In the last 22 years I’ve been practising in the faith-based, charity sector. I’m currently the second year of the Professional Doctorate in Systemic practice at the University of Bedfordshire.

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