…thoughts on and about my PhD journey and beyond…


Pedagogical Creed

Image by technovore via Flickr

Please forgive me, it has been several months since my last confession–oh…I mean posting!!  There are quite a few reasons for this ranging from writer’s block, to shifting into the ‘doing’ part of my research, and as my supervisor pointed out to me–that I am moving from one stage of my research to another and perhaps I don’t have such a need for the writing-as-thinking outlet.

The blog has been instrumental to the conceptual stage of my research, both as the writing-as-thinking platform and a way to share my learnings and in many cases un-learnings with my peers.  As a practictioner-researcher, this sharing of information and the opportunity to receive feedback has been an important part of my personal research journey.

As I enter into the data collection stage this blog might be rather quiet, but no doubt when I get into the analysis stage it will re-emerge as I wrestle with and make sense of my thoughts and the data.

Today then is quite an important marker in my PhD journey as my data collection has officially begun, and I’ve just received notification that an abstract has been accepted for a conference next February, see the following abstract.

Until next time….

Abstract accepted for the Spirituality, Leadership & Management Conference, Sydney, February 11-14, 2010.  Conference theme is “Leadership for the emerging world”

Other-Centredness and kindred mindful approaches to leadership in an emerging world
Heather Davis, PhD Candidate, School of Management, RMIT Australia

This paper discusses the significance of other-centredness to leadership in an emerging world signified by the convergence of the natural and social worlds and where the means of production is knowledge. We are currently witnessing the collapse of neo-liberal arguments viewing the world and world events as disparate, unrelated or ‘none of our concern’ through the pressures of the current global financial crisis. Despite not being privileged within the hegemony of neo-liberalism, intangible qualities like other-centredness and these more mindful approaches to leading ourselves and others are indeed central to leadership literacies appropriate for the knowledge-intensive era we are now experiencing.

Where a common metaphor for the industrial era was the ‘machine’, a recurring metaphor for the knowledge-intensive era is an ecological one. Metaphors emanate from mindsets appropriate for the times within which they were set. However, the speed of change experienced in the last 50 years has added to the complexity already associated with paradigmatic change leaving us with little space to process these changes. This has allowed archaic patterns of thought, values and culture to linger and intermingle with those appropriate for the emerging world.

Other-centredness is one theme emerging from a PhD study investigating appropriate leadership literacies for the knowledge era and presents through the literature in many guises, for example, servant and distributed leadership, systems thinking and Maslow’s lens of self actualization. As people become more mindful of their own actions and interactions, an expanded—and in some cases new—sense of other-centredness surfaces as they recognize and take up responsibility for how these actions impact on their lifeworlds. Paradoxically, the seemingly selfish act of spending time and energy reflexively seeking to know who we are often leads to growth—not contraction—of our sense of responsibility to others and the environment allowing us to see the world as the interconnected whole that it has always been.

Keywords: Other-Centredness; leadership literacies; knowledge-intensive era

Conference Stream B: Ecological Leadership – the natural and the social worlds

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