Privatised profit inside prisons: real work for prisoners or invisible exploitation?

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Dr Jenna Pandeli has recently published a blog post for the American Sociological Association. The blog piece is a condensed article of Dr Pandeli’s paper published in Work Employment and Society this summer.

This summer we have seen what could be considered one of the largest prison strikes in US history, where prisoners are undertaking nineteen days of peaceful protest.

Some of the demands that underpin these protests are the need for improved prison conditions and greater funding in rehabilitation. But at the heart of this protest is a demonstration against imposed prison labour and the disturbingly low wages that accompany such work. This approach to prison work, an approach where profit is becoming more prevalent and private organisations are becoming more and more involved in the prison system, is not isolated to the US.

The research discussed here is based on a study conducted in the UK and is particularly pertinent in helping us to understand the reasoning behind the strikes and the feelings and experiences of those prisoners protesting.
Employment has been singled out as an important factor in reducing reoffending.

Read the full blog post online here.

 

Ethical moments in International Development research with Professor Peter Case

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Professor Peter Case gave a seminar paper last week entitled, ‘Ethical moments in International Development research: Aporia, undecidability and the unintended consequences of ethnocentric ethics’, as part of the Ethics Seminar Series run by the University of Technology Sydney’s Business School. This was the last Business Ethics Research seminar for the year at UTS.

Professor Peter Case works between James Cook University and UWE Bristol.

Reflections on the Aspire People Development Programme with Avon and Somerset Police

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By Holly Poole, Policy and Support Coordinator for Avon and Somerset Police.

When I was asked to write this blog, I was a little hesitant to broadcast myself to the whole of the Force but I hope my blog may inspire others to take a step out of their comfort zone and put yourself forward to help make a positive difference.

I joined the force nearly two years ago fresh out of University after recommendations of opportunities within the organisation and have undertaken Clerical and Personal Assistant roles within Criminal Justice. I am currently undertaking a role within the Citizens in Policing department in Business Improvement working with our Police Support Volunteers, Special Constables and Police Cadets. You may also recognise my name from running the Citizens Academy and I am also a volunteer Specials Assessor. I enjoy engaging with volunteers and communities, being a representative for the force and being part of the wider organisation and learning more about how each element of our organisation works together to reach our mission to be outstanding.

During my short time within the force, I have constantly looked for ways to improve the way I work and to support others. I have always taken on tasks and work above my role responsibilities and offer my assistance wherever I can. I have a need to be constantly challenged and I am always looking for ways to develop and this is why I put myself forward for the Aspire People Development Programme (PDP). The programmes ambition is to develop potential leaders and is tailored to those who exceed expectations, have the desire to develop and seek posts at a higher level. At the end of the programme, an academic accreditation in leadership and management will be awarded.

The programme is in partnership with UWE and its format runs over nine months and features monthly lectures on a range of areas including effective leadership, understanding change and building effective workplace relationships. To gain the academic accreditation at the conclusion of the programme, two academic assignments and a project are required to be completed.

During my first day on the programme, I had a severe case of imposter syndrome. Not only was I the youngest on the programme, but I was also the lowest ranked staff member and had little/no management experience unlike my peers. During the day team activities were carried out, learning styles were analysed, the project options were discussed and work packages that had been identified in need areas of business over the force were presented. The realisation that not only would my project be implemented to make improvements within the force but that at the programmes conclusion I would present my recommendations to COG overwhelmed me. Surely it was a mistake I had been shortlisted for this PDP programme? I felt as though I didn’t deserve my place and there was definitely someone out there with more skill than I to carry out a project at such a strategic level!

Four months on since that first session, supported by my UWE lecturer, line manager, mentor, HR and my project business lead I no longer feel like an imposter. The programme has helped me to identify the leadership qualities I already possess and enhance them alongside learning new skills and tools I will be able to use in both my current and future roles. Following a personal development plan I have been able to identify areas of improvement within myself including problem solving and presentation skills. I am due to carry out a number of presentations over the course of the next few months to various stakeholders which I have volunteered for…I never thought I would be confident enough to volunteer to present, let alone on a project of this scale!

I am passionate about my chosen project and I am progressing well, my aspiration is that my project will improve the way we work in a large area of business and support us on our journey to be outstanding. Taking part in the PDP Programme has been challenging at times and having my role responsibilities alongside managing assignments and projects has truly tested my time management skills.

Both the PDP programme and the project have enabled me to network with a variety of departments, roles and partnership agencies which I would have not had the opportunity to in my current role. No matter what role or rank, the programmes main aim is to develop you personally and provide you with the skills to take into higher or more demanding roles.

The experience and skills the Aspire Personal Development Programme has provided me with has been invaluable, I feel what I have learnt has developed me as a person and will help me to make a positive difference. I look forward to completing the remainder of the programme, whatever challenges may lie ahead.

“Rethinking Malaria” at Chatham House.

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Professor Peter Case (UWE Bristol) was invited by Dr David Heymann, Director of the Centre on Global Health Security, to act as a discussant for a ‘Rethinking Malaria’ conference held at Chatham House on Wednesday 10 October. The conference focussed on tackling malaria in Africa and presenters included a delegation of Anglican bishops from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. The church plays a vital role in the region because of its ability to inform and influence congregations and communities with respect to public health issues. In his reflections on the presentations, Peter spoke about his ‘Organization Development for Malaria Elimination’ (ODME) work in Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia, emphasising the importance of improving front-line services and paying fine-grained attention to operational challenges; a message that chimed with that of the bishops. Also in attendance was Chris Flowers of the JC Flowers Foundation – a New York-based philanthropic organization that has offered to support Peter’s research team in Zimbabwe this coming malaria season.

10th Developing Leadership Capacity Conference hosted by UWE Bristol

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Last week saw the Business School host the 10th Developing Leadership Capacity Conference (DLCC)with around 70 participants attending to present ideas and share knowledge. The DLCC was originally developed with the aim of having a combination of those interested in researching the area of leadership learning and development and those interested in new ideas for practice, and this year, on the conference’s 10th anniversary, we believe we had a healthy mix of both. We also introduced a case study stream and a workshop stream this year to really engage practice with academic ideas discussed in a third stream.

We also had an  international feel to the conference this year with participants coming from as far afield as Canada, Ghana, Saudi Arabia and Australia. This year we were particularly interested in innovative and creative approaches to learning and developing leadership and we had a stimulating conversation across all groups over the two days on this theme. We also had keynotes from Professor Carole Elliot (Roehampton University) on Women’s Leadership Development, Dr Kevin Flinn (Hertfordshire University) presenting on a complexity approach to leadership learning and Professor Paul Hibbert (St Andrews University) who presented on an aesthetic approach to understanding leadership experiences. The keynotes are pictured below with the conference hosts and founders Dr Doris Schedlitzki and Dr Gareth Edwards and the Director of the Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, Professor Richard Bolden.

 

 

“Becoming enterprising”: a collaborative workshop

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By Dr Pam Seanor.

 

On Monday 11 June, BLCC hosted the “Becoming enterprising” collaborative workshop.

The workshop was attended by differing practitioners: those taking a critical approach in our teaching and research, those new to roles at UWE Bristol embedding enterprise in to the curriculum, practitioners who facilitate sessions on our modules or are part of the advisory board, artists and students. We also had our youngest attendee being under 1 years old.

It was a day of talking, listening, walking and creative approaches and proved a fun and engaging. It was structured to the following 3 scenarios:

Scenario 1: What do we mean by critical approaches to situated learning?

Facilitator: Karen Verduijn

Karen shared her views of what critical entrepreneurship means to her, challenging some assumptions, along with her experiences of teaching students and developing a community across facilities at VU University Amsterdam.

Scenario 2: Making connections between practitioner and academic views

Facilitator: Jayne Purcell

Jayne is a design thinker and worked with imagines and artefact participants brought of ‘what “becoming enterprising” means to you’  –  what you do, or your dreams and ambitions. We shared differing views, as well of experiences, of resistance and challenges in practices, of being inclusive, sustainability, and/or bringing in creative practices.

Scenario 3: Creative practices

Facilitator: Arthur Turner

After lunch, Arthur Turner facilitated a walk and we talked about the ideas and questions that came up on the day.

Refreshments Drawing it all together

We ended with the Visual Sketchnotes of key points of shared understanding of what others do, questions and imaginings arising from the discussion points and considering next steps.

We hope this to be the beginnings of a conversation where we see entrepreneurship-leadership-sustainability, particularly becoming inclusive, as more connected.

The workshop scenarios had a common theme of movement:

Moving the conversation from the “heroic” (white) male towards creative processes.

Of note, a comment was made in the workshop that there is a place for the “heroic” in practices. We are thoughtful in advocating the alternative approach that we do not seek to replace the dominant view, instead we seek to question the taken-for-granted assumptions. Thus, we take a pluralistic stance and do not seek one definition or one approach.

We hold a common understanding that entrepreneurship is about social change.

Doris and I intend to continue taking an affirmative critical approach in our teaching and research and helping our students to recognise the dominant views and then to question these assumptions so that they can find their voice and identify the alternative practices that they seek to change.

I end by offering the questions we worked through in the scenarios in the workshop:

  • What future are you going to want to create (what society are you going to wanting to live in?)?
  • What – if anything – do you feel needs to be changed from the status quo?
  • (How) can entrepreneurship provide a way forward?

The following link is to the sketch notes of the 3 scenarios

New assets here

On behalf fo Doris and my colleagues at BLCC, we look forward to collaborating.

 

 

Sustainability in the curriculum for responsible management education

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This year, the UWE Student Union introduced for the first time ever the ‘Sustainability Teaching Award’ as part of their student experience award scheme. This is also a demonstration of their quest for integrating sustainability in the University curriculum at large. A member of BLCC, Dr Svetlana Cicmil,  was among the 6 academics shortlisted for this award following the nominations by UWE students. An educational activist and scholar passionate about responsible business and management education, Svetlana experiments with pedagogies which address, in a critical and participatory way, the global sustainability agenda and international development. The ultimate aim is to offer the students a truly multidisciplinary dialogical learning experience in the class which is, in turn, a mix of UWE masters students from different fields (MBA, Environmental Management, global political economy,  sustainable development) . A student’s comment illustrates this :

“…. As an MBA student, … I had little to no exposure to sustainable development, … theory, perspectives, models or initiatives that were in this field. Not only has Svetlana shone a light and provided knowledge of sustainable development …, she has provided me the space to develop my own growing perspective, interpretation and definitions.”

Reflecting the spirit and the ethos of BLCC, Svetlana is convinced that we “cannot develop global leaders without addressing in the curriculum some of the most pertinent issues of our time, such as: ecological crisis, global ethics, and corporate responsibility related to equitable sustainable development. Being a complex and multifaceted concept, a mixture of technological, moral, political and sociological concerns, sustainability is relevant and can be linked, to every aspect of the business and management curriculum”.

More information about this award and the related UWE SU initiatives.

 

Talking Leadership on Ujima Radi.

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In March 2018 the topic of the month at Ujima Radio was Leadership. Alongside a range of local and national speakers Professor Richard Bolden, Director of Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, discussed the work that he and colleagues are doing in Bristol and beyond. In a wide-ranging conversation Gail Bowen-Huggett, presenter of The Babbers Show, invited his views on topics including African leadership, distributed leadership, leadership of place and inclusive leadership.

Amongst the initiatives discussed were UWE’s role in developing and delivering the Bristol Leadership Challenge and their involvement as academic partner in the Bristol Golden Key and Building Leadership for Inclusion initiatives.

The interview was first broadcast on 19th March 2018 and can be listened to in full by clicking here.

‘Of course, trust is not the whole story; narratives of dancing with a critical friend in social enterprise-public sector collaboration’

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Hot off the press! Our BLCC member Dr Pam Seanor has published the following chapter:

‘Of course, trust is not the whole story; narratives of dancing with a critical friend in social enterprise-public sector collaboration’  in Pascal Day and Chris Steyaert (Eds) Social entrepreneurship: An affirmative Critique, Cheltenham UK and Northampton, MA, USA, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 159-181

Pam tells us, “The chapter began from hearing a story told at an academic conference. The story stayed with me and led me to query the adequacy of academic narratives which frame trust in univocally positive terms by conceiving it as an essential lubricant in collaborative relations between social enterprises and government. Based on interviews with social entrepreneurial practitioners and government officials in England, it shares the “everyday” stories where trust, rather the forming a linear and stable “thing”, is a fluid, constantly changing and contested social practice. Shedding light on the co-implication of trust and control, and the ubiquity of distrust, “calculative trust” and practitioner resistance, the chapter works as an injunction to rethink the centrality of trust in everyday life of social enterprises.”

Pam welcomes conversations with practitioners of their everyday aspects of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship: Pam.Seanor@uwe.ac.uk

Behaviour change in the illegal wildlife trade.

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By Dr Fiona Spotswood.

 

Recently I was invited to speak and take part in a policy workshop at Cambridge University on the Illegal Wildlife Trade. The event was coordinated by Cambridge University’s Science and Policy Research Centre, TRAFFIC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The idea was to explore ideas in the run up to the main conference on the IWT, this autumn in London. This was the first time I had been involved in this topic, and it was a fascinating few days.

My contribution was as the expert in behaviour change. I presented some ideas around different theoretical assumptions underpinning behaviour change interventions and policies. I have presented this same talk in many different contexts, but normally it relates to physical activity or sustainability. The context of pangolins and rosewood was a first for me. However, the same theoretical contexts were highly prevalent. Can we think about the consumption of pangolin scales or rhino horn as a deliberated, conscious consumer decision, or is that decision embedded in established routines? These questions are at the heart of all my research into the way people enact everyday behaviours and answers many of our questions about why people get ‘stuck’ into different habits. Often, the people want to budge those habits, but sometimes they don’t.

The consumer context of the illegal wildlife trade is complex. For some consumption activities, the illegality of the purchase is part of the appeal. For others, there is confusion and mystery about the law. Rosewood is a good example. We know little about the consumer demand for illegal rosewood. It may be that rosewood furniture is part of a set of traditions that have nothing to do with its protected status. Understanding the practices in which rosewood furniture consumption is a significant moment would be a first step in identifying how to shape these practices and kerb consumption to within sustainable limits.

Practice theory offers insights into how behaviours happen and how they can be tackled. Often, the answer does not lie with persuasive approaches, although these can be an important ongoing focus. However, persuasion alone is unlikely to shift ingrained cultural routines and collective conventions. A good example of an intervention for the IWT which could easily have been designed using practice theory (although I should note was not) relates to the tradition use of shark fin in large, formal Chinese banquets. Shark fin has connotations of wealth, status and grandeur, so attempting to persuade banquet consumers, such as the ‘mother of the bride’ to forgo the tradition is unlikely to work. However, working with conference, wedding and party organisers has seen a shift in the way the banquets are planned and ‘framed’ to consumers. Alternatives have been offered and shark fin has gradually been consumed less and less on these occasions. Gradually, the collective conventions surrounding shark fin consumption have shifted so that its consumption is seen as outmoded.

Behaviour change is a complex area, but practice theories show time and again how embedded our ‘decisions’ are into our culturally significant routines, and how little we ‘decide’ about consumption activities which are just part of how our worlds work.

Dr Fiona Spotswood

@fispotswood

www.fionaspotswood.uk

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