Learning to be an Insider Agent of Change in a Brazilian Rural University
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AbstractThe “University” is under pressure to address both local and general requirements from society towards a phenomenon called globalisation. In Brazil, the Ministry of Education has tried, without success, to promote institutional change. Confronted by this situation a process initiated by an internal change agent and based upon the introduction of Action Research was itself the subject of this AR Study by the change agent. This thesis draws upon the findings of that AR and uses it to critically examine the potential to foster change within the higher education context in Brazil using AR. The research was designed in two synchronous processes taking place at two different levels. The first is the facilitation of the uptake of Action Research by a group of academic staff, and the second is the research into that process as a piece of Action Research in its own right by the change agent/facilitator. Facilitation of change has been described as taking place in three phases: a) Mobilization; b) Implementation; and c) Continuation. Throughout such phases in this case data were systematically gathered by the use of five instruments of data collection: 1) Observation; 2) Diary; 3) Questionnaires; 4) Interviews; and 5) Sociogram. Results show my personal learning in facilitating this process of change and two main contributions to knowledge. The first is one which, though local and specific, may nevertheless speak to the challenges faced by other practitioners. Exemplified in this study by the critical exploration of the ‘Daisy Model’ of introducing AR that led to its modification into the ‘Flower Model’. The second is that new knowledge which appears to be more generalisable and for which a case can be made for its wider applicability. Again exemplified in the continuous and disruptive process of change that unfolded to reveal a suitable framework for the use of Action Research as a vehicle of change in a rural university in Brazil where all actions were based on four central principles that emerged from the research: neutrality, voluntary participation, time and motivation. The future success and sustainability of the change processes begun are contingent upon the reaction of the current management of the institution. Five scenarios are examined and a second phase for this AR project is suggested that attempts to address the issues raised.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy