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Seminar series explores the management of change

The management of change is an unavoidable feature in the contemporary world of business, government and professional bodies and in the lives of individual professionals within those worlds. The ESRC Seminar Series aims to bring together practitioners from both public and private sectors who are engaged in change management and academics with a range of views on such change in order to develop new understandings of change management, both theoretical and practical.

Seminar 5 of the series, entitled Identities and Change, takes place on March 23, when the subject will be Professional Expertise and New Identity: Knowledge-based Change and Professional Transformation. 

This seminar focuses on change within the professions, and in particular how the knowledge involved in becoming and being a professional is itself changing, and how this change may be constructing new identities both for professions and their professionals. In sharing observations about the ways that professions and professionals are experiencing forms of 'knowledge-led change' it is hoped to shed light on how far these are shared or distinct experiences. Possible ways for successfully harnessing such change to personal and professional ends will be explored.

It can be argued that, for professional groups, the ability to manage knowledge change has been a central quality of the identities produced by professionals that have led to individual and collective success. The organisers start from the possibly provocative thesis that knowledge-led change is generated from within the professional field or translated from other expert fields (and whether in each case it emanates from academic or practitioner-based locales).

The organisers see a particular and growing role for forms of disciplinary knowledge (defined both as single-discipline knowledge and multi-disciplinary and even 'transdisciplinary' knowledge). Professional success can be seen as including the successful integration, alongside relevant specialist expertise, of transdisciplinary forms of understanding.

Therefore, insofar as this is a knowledge-led change environment, professional competitive advantage is increasingly sought through combinations of disciplinary and transdisciplinary innovation, thereby engendering new difinitions of the profession and new identities for its professionals, while also constituting new strategies for resisting challenges from competitor professions.

The results - for professions and professionals both - include developing new concatenations of flexibility with stability, and newly-emergent and perhaps as yet ill-grasped ways of living out the professional identity game 'correctly', whether in private or public sector settings.

In preparation for the March 23 event, speakers and participants are asked to reflect on:

  • How far is knowledge-based change the key feature of professional work today?
  • What features of such change currently enable good work to be done by professions and professionals, and what features threaten such work?

Staff from the University of Leicester confirmed to speak are Fiona Anderson-Gough, Gerry Hanlon and Frank Mueller. Other speakers include Peter Anderson from The Financial Training Company, Andy Coleman and Sarah Harris from the National College for School Leadership,, and Keith Hoskin from Warwick Business School.

For more details about this and future events contact Fiona Anderson-Gough on 0116 223 1869, email Bursaries to cover/contribute to travel expenses are available for PhD students.

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Last updated: 17 March 2004 12:00
Created by: Barbara Whiteman

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