Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Philosophy of Management

The title of this post is not going to foretell any attempt by me to try and write about philosophy, in management or anywhere else. It refers to a conference that was recently held at St Anne's College, Oxford on this topic, mainly for tenured academics but with a day built in for doctoral students who are directly or (like me) indirectly interested.

I attended one of the four days of the conference, at which various academics (drawn from an eclectic mix of disciplines and countries) presented papers, held discussions and occasionally went off on mind-twistingly difficult to follow side discussions about, surprise surprise, philosophy.

I was definitely at both the novice and practitioner end of the pool but nevertheless I enjoyed getting an insight into the processes that lie behind working your way up in academia; for which there seem to be just three simple rules:
  • a strong publishing record always outranks teaching and collegiate service
  • who you know matters almost as much as (and eventually more than) what you know
  • not acknowledging the truth of the above statements will result in slow progression
The Magpie in me did find a few nuggets from my day there. For example, I picked up a very neat idea, which I may use, of providing research subjects in a longitudinal and qualitative study with a digital camera and a brief in order to capture images as part of their reflection process. A colleague from Sweden demonstrated a group process method, using narratives, which I thought will probably work in other training situations. In addition, there were two or three individuals there whose eloquence, grace and charm in communication were great exemplars for the others.

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