Since I undertook my own doctoral studies, where I looked into the ways that we can recover our sense of creative identity, I've been developing my interest in research that actually changes things! Today, I am the director of the Hult/Ashridge Executive Doctorate in Organisational Change (EDOC) where there are nearly 100 of us; faculty, candidates and support staff all working together to create a 'dint' in the world.
EDOC is a different way of working with research; it is an 'action research' doctorate where our aim is to promote change that is concerned with real, pressing issues and brings about flourishing, sustainable individuals and communities. We are very serious about walking our talk as researchers; each of our doctoral 'inquiries' centers first on who we are are as practitioners, how we habitually 'see 'the world, the questions raised by our experiences in and around organisations, how we engage with change and how we can work with others to encourage helpful shifts in our relationships, groups, and organisations. Importantly, this is work that is done 'with' fellow inquirers rather than research done 'on' others as they go about their work.
Action research is always a work in progress; it includes a wide range of traditions and approaches. At Ashridge we hold a 'reflexive' stance as we consider the ways in which we make sense of patterns of feeling, emotion, meaning and action within the relational processes that make up our organisations. We are also keen to extend the our 'ways' of knowing' the world, looking beyond theory, intellect and rationalty to include artful, expressive, practical, intuited and tacit ways of working with change.