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Addressing pedagogical solitude : a realist evaluation of organisation development at a German higher education institution

Vogel, Michael; (2014) Addressing pedagogical solitude : a realist evaluation of organisation development at a German higher education institution. Doctoral thesis , University of London Institute of Education. Green open access

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Abstract

To establish a culture of collegial exchange about teaching and learning among its academic staff, a German higher education institution is running a seemingly quite successful organisation development (OD) programme, comprising professional learning communities, conferences and other interventions. But how fit for purpose is the programme? A formative realist evaluation is conducted to establish whether and why the programme works for whom and in what circumstances. On the basis of Coleman’s (1987; 1990) social macro-micro-macro scheme, a programme theory is developed and generalised as a framework for theorising, planning, visualising and evaluating OD. Pawson & Tilley’s (1997) Realistic Evaluation is chosen as research methodology, modified to match the programme theory’s structure and applied to a large data pool covering the OD programme’s first four years. Using an explanatory sequential mixed methods research design involving path analysis, content analysis and realist interviews, the programme theory is tested and gradually refined. The detailed realist evaluation reveals a number of problems at the level of the social mechanisms on which the OD programme’s effectiveness and sustainability depend. Unintended self-selection mechanisms limit the programme’s prospective fitness for purpose. Also the programme’s own history and organisational ramifications interfere with its regular functioning. Various possibilities for improvements are considered and thoughts on the programme’s transferability to other contexts are offered. The thesis concludes with critical reflections on Realistic Evaluation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Addressing pedagogical solitude : a realist evaluation of organisation development at a German higher education institution
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Higher Education, Germany, organisation development, realist evaluation, critical realism
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10021593
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