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A narrative inquiry of how people in management positions in a Singapore institution of higher learning (IHL) learn and how they develop their professional identities

Yin, Hee Soo (2007) A narrative inquiry of how people in management positions in a Singapore institution of higher learning (IHL) learn and how they develop their professional identities. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

This narrative inquiry investigates how ten people in management positions in a Singapore institution of higher learning (IHL) learn and how they develop their professional identities. Learning is defined as sense or meaning making (Bruner, 1990; Greenfield, 2004; Mezirow, 2000; Simkins, 2005; Weick, 1995) and development of professional identity is defined as how these ten people in management construct meaning in narratives of their life and professional experiences (Connelly and Clandinin, 1999; Olesen, 2001 ).The uncertainties and complexities of a rapidly changing external environment make sense and meaning making vital in leadership and management in education. Research questions relate to how meaning is constructed of significant learning experiences over time; the internal mental structures or frames of reference used to construct meaning; and the internal dialectics involved in meaning construction. Narrative constructions of significant learning experiences over time obtained in in-depth interviews of ten people in management positions in the research site were analysed using a synthesis of narrative analysis approaches relevant to the research questions. Narrative analysis of the narrative constructions showed the construction of a distinct self by each interviewee and the development of agency over time. Frames of reference used in meaning construction comprised inter-related dimensions of cognition, affect and conation and were found to be adaptable in different contexts. The internal dialectics of meaning construction involved an "outside-in" process of internalisation of knowledge and an "inside-out” process of self construction. Research findings also showed the inter relationships of the development of consciousness and self-responsibility in agency development in narrative constructions; how self-construction is involved in meaning construction, the use and adaptation of frames of reference in different contexts, and the internal dialectics of meaning making. Implications of the research findings for practice include the need to use narratives and create contexts for learning from experience to focus student learning, staff professional development and management development in higher education on the development of consciousness and self-responsibility; and self-construction in agency development, the use and adaptation of frames of reference and internal dialectics of meaning making.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:33

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