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Title: The impact of individual and contextual factors upon experiential learning team events : a case study
Author: Gardner, Martin John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 6378
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2014
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Whilst much focus in recent years has been given to the learning process involved in Experiential Learning (ELT) and related Action Learning (AL) theories, very little academic study has been given to the contextual elements that surround them. Using the practical setting of an experiential learning team event, this thesis considers the academic ambiguities relating to such contextual elements, and examines the possible impact these can have on the overall development experience. Experiential learning team events are primarily designed to provide a series of action centred challenges which can support both individual and team development. The research firstly considers ELT together with AL and their relationship with related theories including: humanist, team, personality, cognitive and social. From this broad-base review, four contextual factors emerge which were considered suitable for further study: sponsor role, subcultures, facilitation and personality profiling. The empirical study focused on a three day residential experiential learning team event, with six teams of eight managers taking part. The managers were all from one company, a petrochemical organisation employing 3000 people, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Data was collected from a series of questionnaires, observations and focus group sessions. Findings identified that the sponsor role can prove to be a strong influence, particularly through attendance of events and supporting follow up actions. Subcultures proved to have a positive effect, which was in contrast to the more negative impacts highlighted by the majority of academics. Using individual personality profiling to provide a balanced representation across teams proved insignificant. Comparing teams with a balance of personality types with those of a more unbalanced composition revealed that individuals can adapt their personality preference to match contextual requirements. The role of the facilitator and the style they adopted in supporting the event proved to be a strong influence. The empowering style was seen to be particularly effective in supporting the principles of ELT and AL. Given the findings of this study, the implications clearly indicate that for future ELT and AL research: the sponsor role can prove a strong contributory factor to the learning experience and should not be ignored; the diversity of subcultures can be used in a constructive way given common purpose and values are in place; the facilitator role can prove a positive influence provided the style of support is in keeping with the principles of ELT and AL for individual empowerment.
Supervisor: Bishop, Daniel; Andrijasevic, Rutvica Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Soc.Sci.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available