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Arkell PhD Thesis.pdf (2.43 MB)

Reflective practitioning into emotion in an organisation

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posted on 2023-08-30, 13:49 authored by David Arkell
This thesis develops a new way of engaging emotion in a large organisation and develops a new form of organisational practice entitled “Reflective Emotional Practitioning.” The thesis argues that the concept of emotional intelligence as accepted in organisations represses rather than embraces emotion. The conceptual framework centres the inquiry on the problem of organisational power as an obstacle to the creative harnessing of emotion at work. The thesis reverses the organisations’ centralised power by placing the individual at the centre so that the individual learns to reflect upon and embrace emotion in collective and self inquiry, and demonstrates how this may lead to creative and ethical work. The thesis is divided into two parts: in the first, the author carried out action research workshops on emotional intelligence and performance management, but it became clear that power was an issue, repressing emotions. But through reflection this became a turning point after the author engaged in deep self-reflection in meditative supervisions, writing and reflective practice. This enabled the author to process experience into a methodological shift towards a self-ethnography and research action applied to the work situation in what became called Reflective Emotional Practitioning (REP). The REP model was used as a tool to venture further on a visceral pathway, uncovering the author’s relationship with emotion. The author began to recognise that the self and the other could be held in reflexive practice and writing. In the second part evidence comes through further vignettes representing the author’s pathway and shone a light on a dialogical process between the self and others. Freedom and space were revealed and the research began to demonstrate the inner- and outer-selves working through emotion. Through this process emotion became conceptualised as “felt energy”. Felt energy was triggered by the outer world, but also a place of knowing from which further action could be taken, and then further reflected upon. The reflexive writing process used vignettes to illustrate how emotion was engaged, fed back and stored as a “return to the self” in a continual learning process. Through illuminating a new way of both conceptualising and working with emotions, the author shows how, over several years of reflective practice, the method underpinned some major innovative and sustainable work projects. The thesis concludes by defining the contribution of this research as a transferable approach that can engage emotion in self-empowered actions within an organisation’s power regime. The contribution is to both methodology and knowledge about the way emotion is experienced, used and conceptualised, although the author acknowledges and discusses the difficulty of producing knowledge through writing the self, particularly within the confines of a large public sector organisation. However, the struggle to write the self has produced a rich text that conveys the possibilities of transferring the approach for other organisational researchers and reflective practitioners engaging emotion in their different personal and organisational contexts.



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