• Transforming a toxic workplace: Organisational development through action research in a TVET college.

    Rod Waddington (see profile)
    School management and organization, Methodology
    Item Type:
    Meeting Title:
    South African Education Reserach Association Conference
    Meeting Org.:
    Stellenbosch UIniversity
    Meeting Loc.:
    Cape Town
    Meeting Date:
    Oct 2016
    Educational administration, Methodologies
    Permanent URL:
    TVET colleges in South Africa face various systemic challenges which impact negatively on employee wellbeing. As an HRD manager in a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college, I have first-hand experience of workplace toxicity. I was thus driven to undertake a self-study action research enquiry to generate a living theory of organisational development aimed at improving my practice and influencing the practice of other managers in the organisation to enable us to improve the work climate by embodying more life-enhancing values into our practice. I met with eight managers in an action learning set over a period of two years, and in this presentation I focus on the influence the collaborative action research enquiry had on the improvement of the organisational climate. I draw on Padilla’s theory of toxicity, complexity theory, dialogic organisational development and open space technology to interpret the findings. I present evidence to validate my claim that this approach has helped to improve individual wellness, contribute to organisational healing and improve workplace communication. The data points to an increase in collegial support, leading to more hopeful and positive attitudes of managers. Managers also took action to change the climate within their specific campuses by mounting poster campaigns to advocate the embodiment of more life-enhancing values by employees. This led to the initiation of critical and caring conversations which helped to challenge toxicity in a non-threatening way. This study highlights how critical reflection on the practice of organizational development led to individual change, which in turn influenced change in organisational conversations and relationships. The findings, encapsulated in a living theory of organisational development, will be of interest to those who are engaged in educational transformation at institutional and system levels.
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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    Item Name: pptx saera-ct-oct-2016.pptx
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