Independent scholar, cat addict, tattoo lover

Since decades, outsiders criticize The Ivory Tower for its seclusion. Today, insiders proclaim a crisis within the tower itself. Staff publicly criticize conditions for research and teaching. Here I reflect as on my experiences as an action researcher within academia and address the question of espoused theories and theories-in-use in academic practice. My starting point is the case of an academic business school that was renowned for successful educational innovations. I wondered its success could be explained by the organizational theories of its staff.

In this article I address two interrelated questions. The first question is, what role do external PhD. candidates play in the emergence of paradigms? The second question is, if anything, what do external PhD. candidates actually contribute to the process of emerging paradigms? In order to answer these questions, I conducted an exploratory study into the vicissitudes of external PhD. candidates in the Netherlands. As my findings suggest, they display a fully-fledged academic habitus.

Hallo. Ja, u daar. Degene die over de schouder van de geadresseerde van deze nieuwsbrief mee leest. Ik weet dat u er bent. Dat heeft diegene me namelijk verteld. Ik richt me nooit rechtstreeks tot u, want ik ken alleen de geadresseerde. Maar bij deze: welkom in de CO Times lezerskring! Goed om te horen dat deze nieuwsbrief ook buiten mijn eigen adressenlijst aftrek vindt. Ik doe daar in elk geval steeds weer mijn best voor. Roland Barthes was een denker en schrijver die graag afzag van zijn eigen verantwoordelijkheid voor teksten. Hij verklaarde simpelweg de schrijver dood.

presentatie van het Eurodoc onderzoek naar promovendi in Europa

Afgelopen juli was ik op een conferentie voor promovendi in humanities en social sciences te Aberdeen. Ik had de organisatie namelijk geschreven dat ze met “Impact or impasse, postgraduate research beyond academia” volgens mij een interessant onderwerp te pakken hadden en dat ik graag de presentaties van de keynote speakers na afloop wilde ontvangen. Prompt kreeg ik de uitnodiging om zelf aan te schuiven in een paneldiscussie en om de closing address te geven tijdens de borrel.

Microstructures are networks that aim to solve persistent social problems in rural or urban areas. These are transdisciplinary networks of inhabitants, entrepreneurs, professionals, and academics who bind their forces to realize an ambition they share in the area concerned. They require small investments in governance which we expect to result in social entrepreneurship and self organisation.

How to explain an academic community that theorises about knowledge intensive organisations whilst creating practical knowledge about living in this community that negates these theories? I constructed a learning history of an academic business school and found some answers. Confronting the collective narrative of the organisation about itself with analyses and recommendations written for others, I found little correspondence between the two. To find out why, I deconstructed the organisational narrative and searched for dominant metaphors that guided everyday practice.

“When April with its sweet showers has pierced the drought of March to the root, and bathed every vein of earth with that liquid by whose power the flowers are engendered; when the zephyr, too, with its dulcet breath, has breathed life into the tender new shoots in every corpse and on every heath, and the young sun has run half his course in the sign of the Ram, and the little birds that sleep all night with their eyes open give song (so Nature prompts them in their hearts), then, as the poet Geoffrey Chaucer observed many years ago, folk long to go on pilgrimages.

The learning history is designed to describe the coming about of best practices, with their reproduction in mind. In this paper, I discuss the implications of this instrument and present a modified version. I use a so-called discursive learning history to zoom in on the interaction between a convergent, official, organisational narrative on the one hand, and people acting according to their own stories on the other. Narrative structures help to create an inner logic that help people to make sense of their organisation.

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