There, at the end of the last post, my reflections in the 1990s petered out! So it seems, I acted out the struggle in the way I wrote about it. I began with scepticism of attempts to bring about changes in behaviour – staff behaviour in the context of a discussion of management – by objective mechanisms and intellectual tools and preferred an approach that used personal reflection and stories that engaged the emotional worlds in which we operate to nurture change. In the process, I end up with something of a rambling discourse with no clear conclusions.
What I then did not see clearly enough was that I was in many ways arguing with myself. I was an intellectual but knew that this tendency was a potential weakness that needed to be challenged by the world of emotions, relationships and the unconscious. I imagined that the good outcome of that challenge would be some kind of synthesis of the different sides of my personality. I did not see that it was the ‘argument’ that was needed. So, I was wrong to resist the management action plan, just as it was wrong to believe that an action plan was a sufficient method for delivering organisational change. The heart of the response to the inspection that opened this article needed to be an approach that prompted good arguments between an action plan and the instincts and stories of staff. This would not be achieving a ‘balance’ between different management approaches but would be involving ourselves in arguments, be entering the emotional worlds within the organisation and bringing academic, intellectual and structural skills to bear on those worlds.