Boats, caves, spies and stories : a narrative study of outdoor management development programmes in the United Kingdom
The thesis develops new understanding in relation to Outdoor Management Development (OMD). The argument is in three parts. Part One reviews notions of management development within which OMD is conventionally located. It underlines the powerful influence of a modernistic positivistic-objectivist methodological paradigm in much of the OMD commentary, manifesting itself as an objectivised corporate imperative of optimum effectiveness and efficiency. Complementary critical perspective paradigms are introduced including comments on narrative and social construction. In relation to this context, the argument presents a contemporary set of images sourced from prima facie conceptualisations of the OMD domain. Part Two considers possibilities for revisiting the contextualisation of OMD. This is undertaken through a contemporaneous and diachronic look at OMD. This involves a novel debate on the "origins" of OMD and comments on the neglected influences important to how individuals construct narrative. Certain narrative accounts in OMD writing are reviewed. These are shown to be very influenced by the predominant positivist paradigm. The third and final Part of the argument presents: Methodology, Stories and Conclusion. The debate develops a qualitative participant observer approach that facilitates the writing of narratives that underline the reflexive and deeply personal experience that the research involves. The Stories are accompanied by reflective commentaries. The argument concludes and contributes a number of points. The contemporaneous conceptualisation of OMD is positivistic and this is a consequence of its close association with modernistic perspectives of management thinking. Also, modernistic meta-narratives have been apparent in the historical accounts in the field. Consequently, stoned and narrative accounts have been marginalised but where written they are imbued with positivism also. Bearing the above in mind the thesis writes fresh socially constructive accounts of experiences in OMD contexts and provides reflective commentary on them.