Preparing systemic change agents for sustainable development: What skills and understanding do change agents need to develop?

Wilkinson, Jane (2015) Preparing systemic change agents for sustainable development: What skills and understanding do change agents need to develop? Masters thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

The research for this paper is based in Forum for the Future, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to pioneer and share practical approaches to system change for sustainability globally. This project takes the existing Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development course and examines how it can be changed to meet current organisational goals through investigating: 1. What features need to be included in a course that enables change agents to be ready to bring about change for sustainable development; 2. By what means expert practitioners in sustainability can contribute to course development. The project considers how the course can be a central point of learning and knowledge transfer within Forum, to effectively prepare change agents to bring about change in their own context and second, it aims to consider the involvement of practitioners and learners in the co-development of the programme. The strengths of the current Masters programme that could be built on were identified: the product envisaged was a proposal for a learning programme to evolve in parallel with the organisation. The approach was qualitative, using Appreciative Inquiry. Desk research included a two stage literature review along with semi-structured interviews and focus groups. My findings were that whilst the current Masters programme has many strengths, the aim and target audience are no longer the best fit with Forum’s strategy nor have the necessary elements to be able to scale up internationally. I discovered instead, the need for a learning programme for early career change agents in sustainability working in incumbent organisations who are keen to collaborate to create change and require support in workplace implementation. The skills set required through such a learning programme can be summarised as: Skills to understand one’s own worldview and connect and communicate with others; Skills to interpret and analyse the system and; Skills to create – innovation and design thinking. In trying to answer the question of how expert practitioners in sustainability can contribute to course development, my findings point to the need for a spirit of co-enquiry: a flexible, modular design whereby stakeholders can pose real life challenges for participants to tackle together, along with a climate allowing stakeholders to be both learners and contributors at different times. My aim is to gain the endorsement of Forum’s Senior Management Team to market test, develop and pilot the proposed programme.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Theses
Item ID: 17363
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2015 15:49
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2019 13:12
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/17363

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