Dr Paul Tosey

Research Interests

  • `Inner space’: exploring inner worlds and facilitating individual learning and personal development through systemic modes of coaching, especially `Clean Language’ (a metaphor-based practice) and Neuro-linguistic Programming.
  • Organisational learning, especially the work of Gregory Bateson and his theory of `levels of learning’ and its applications; paradoxical features of organisational change strategies, such as unintended consequences.
  • Phenomenological research methods: innovations such as applications of `Clean Language’ to research; Psycho-phenomenology; the role of metaphor and epistemic questions.
  • Transformative learning theory and practice: enquiry-based learning, experiential learning, creativity, and complexity theory in Higher Education; Team Academy (a Finnish approach to enterprise and leadership education).

Affiliations

Chair, Programme and Qualifications sub-committee, UFHRD

Association for Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Editorial board member:

Contact Me

E-mail:

Publications

Highlights

  • Stavropoulou C, Doherty C, Tosey P. (2015) 'How Effective Are Incident-Reporting Systems for Improving Patient Safety? A Systematic Literature Review.'. The Milbank quarterly, 93 (4), pp. 826-866.
  • Tosey P, Lawley J, Meese R. (2014) 'Eliciting Metaphor through Clean Language: An Innovation in Qualitative Research'. WILEY-BLACKWELL BRITISH JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT, 25 (3), pp. 629-646.
  • Tosey PC, Visser M, Saunders MNK. (2012) 'The origins and conceptualisations of `triple-loop’ learning: a critical review'. Sage Management Learning, 43 (3), pp. 289-305.
  • Tosey P, Mathison J. (2009) Neuro-Linguistic Programming: a critical appreciation for managers and developers. Palgrave Macmillan
  • Tosey P. (2005) 'The hunting of the learning organization - A paradoxical journey'. SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD MANAGEMENT LEARNING, 36 (3), pp. 335-352.

Journal articles

  • Stavropoulou C, Doherty C, Tosey P. (2015) 'How Effective Are Incident-Reporting Systems for Improving Patient Safety? A Systematic Literature Review.'. The Milbank quarterly, 93 (4), pp. 826-866.
  • Tosey P, Lawley J, Meese R. (2014) 'Eliciting Metaphor through Clean Language: An Innovation in Qualitative Research'. WILEY-BLACKWELL BRITISH JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT, 25 (3), pp. 629-646.
  • Tosey PC, Dhaliwal S, Hassinen J. (2013) 'The Finnish Team Academy model: implications for management education'. Sage Management Learning, 46 (2), pp. 175-194.

    Abstract

    This article explores an innovative model of management education, the Team Academy based in Finland, in which teams of learners create and operate real enterprises, supported by coaches. The contributions of the article are to provide insights into how the Team Academy works, and to review its implications for theories of management learning and educational design. Based on a case study of the Team Academy model we argue that management education programmes need to be construed as artificially-created learning environments, and specifically as `micro-cultures’ - local contexts in which pedagogical and cultural practices coalesce. The concept of a micro-culture can bring together four main attributes of learning environments (social embeddedness, real-worldness, identity formation and normative). Construing learning environments in this way has likely important implications for the theory and practice of management learning and education, since a micro-culture is a complex, emergent phenomenon that is not necessarily controllable or transferable.

  • Nieswandt M, Saunders MNK, Akinci C, Tosey P. (2013) 'Erfolgreich Veränderungen gestalten durch ein starkes Mittelmanagement'. Der Betriebswirt – Management in Wissenschaft und Praxis, Germany: 54 (1), pp. 12-18.
  • Calver J, Cuthbert G, Davison S, Devins D, Gold J, Hughes I, Tosey PC. (2012) 'HRD in 2020: a hop-on, hop-off city tour'. Human Resource Development International, , pp. 1-12.
  • Tosey PC, Visser M, Saunders MNK. (2012) 'The origins and conceptualisations of `triple-loop’ learning: a critical review'. Sage Management Learning, 43 (3), pp. 289-305.
  • Day T, Tosey PC. (2011) 'Beyond SMART? A new framework for goal setting'. Tsylor & Francis The Curriculum Journal, 22 (4), pp. 515-534.

    Abstract

    This article extends currently reported theory and practice in the use of learning goals or targets with students in secondary and further education. Goal-setting and action-planning constructs are employed in personal development plans (PDPs) and personal learning plans (PLPs) and are advocated as practice within the English national policy agenda with its focus on personalisation. The article argues that frameworks widely used for goal setting and action planning by UK educational practitioners, in particular SMART targets or goals, have yet to be rigorously examined in the light of relevant theory and practice. Doing so is important given contemporary emphasis on the dimensions of the learner experience regarded by ‘learning to learn’ practitioners as underpinning effective learning in the modern classroom. The article draws from social cognitive theory and achievement goal theory, including Zimmerman’s criteria for appropriate goals, to suggest an alternative framework for goal or target setting – ‘well-formed outcomes’, a construct from the field of neurolinguistic programming (NLP). In comparison with SMART targets, the authors argue that well-formed outcomes offer a more rigorous and holistic approach, by taking greater account of the learner’s identity, affective dimensions (feelings and emotions), social relations and values, as well as encouraging mental rehearsal.

  • Doyle N, Tosey PC, Walker C. (2010) 'Systemic Modelling: installing coaching as a catalyst for organisational learning'. Organisations & People, 17 (4), pp. 13-22.
  • Tosey P, Mathison J. (2010) 'Neuro-linguistic programming as an innovation in education and teaching'. TAYLOR & FRANCIS INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION AND TEACHING INTERNATIONAL, 47 (3), pp. 317-326.

    Abstract

    Neuro‐linguistic programming (NLP) – an emergent, contested approach to communication and personal development created in the 1970s – has become increasingly familiar in education and teaching. There is little academic work on NLP to date. This article offers an informed introduction to, and appraisal of, the field for educators. We review the origins of NLP, and summarise its nature as a method of, and conceptual framework for, education and teaching, with brief examples of applications. We argue that NLP offers an innovative praxis, underpinned in principle by Bateson's epistemological thinking, which informs a distinctive methodology known as ‘modelling’. The credibility of the field relies, in our view, on its ability to address seven critical issues. These form a possible research agenda and a focus for dialogue between NLP practitioner and academic communities.

  • Mathison J, Tosey P. (2009) 'Exploring Moments of Knowing; Neuro-Linguistic Programming and enquiry into inner landscapes'. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16 (10)
  • Tosey P, Mathison J. (2008) 'Do Organisations Learn? Some implications for HRD of Bateson’s levels of learning'. SAGE Human Resource Development Review, 7 (1), pp. 13-31.

    Abstract

    This article explores and appraises Gregory Bateson’s theory of `levels of learning’ (Bateson, 2000a) and its implications for Human Resource Development, especially with reference to issues of organisational learning. In Part One, after briefly reviewing Bateson’s biography we describe the origins and contents of the theory. In Part Two, three particular features of the theory are explored, together with their practical and theoretical implications for HRD: 1. The significance of the recursive relationship between the levels; 2. Bateson’s theory is not a stage theory of learning; `higher’ levels of learning are neither superior to, nor necessarily more desirable than, lower levels; 3. Bateson’s emphasis on the notion of context, which implies that the task of management involves sensitivity to such contexts. In Part Three the discussion emphasises the holistic nature of Bateson’s theory, in that the levels of learning combine cognitive, embodied and aesthetic dimensions. We review some limitations of the theory, then conclude by considering its perspective on the question, `do organisations learn?’.

  • Mathison J, Tosey P. (2008) 'Riding into Transformative Learning'. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 15 (5), pp. 67-88.
  • Tosey PC. (2008) 'Once Upon a Time… Tales of Organisational Learning'. Emerald The Learning Organization, 15 (6), pp. 454-462.

    Abstract

    The purpose of this paper is to enrich the conceptual vocabulary of organisational learning by discussing the relevance of the interdisciplinary work of Gregory Bateson, an original and challenging twentieth century thinker.

  • Tosey P. (2008) 'Innovations in Constructivist Research: NLP, psycho-phenomenology and the exploration of inner landscapes'. The Psychotherapist, 37 (0), pp. 5-8.
  • Willoughby G, Tosey P. (2007) 'Imagine `Meadfield'. Appreciative Inquiry as a Process for Leading School Improvement'. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, Educational Management Administration & Leadership 35 (4), pp. 499-520.

    Abstract

    This article examines an application of appreciative inquiry (AI), a contemporary approach to organisational change that is increasingly evident in the business world, as a participative means of school improvement. AI appears relevant to contemporary themes in literature on school improvement such as self-evaluation, capacity-building and distributed forms of leadership.

    Appreciative inquiry is introduced and its literature reviewed, with reference to its growing use both in business and in American schools. The authors then report on `Imagine Meadfield ’, the first known large-scale appreciative inquiry undertaken in an English secondary school, with particular reference to the experience of the head teacher (first author) who led this process. The article critically reviews this experience in order to assess the potential of AI for school improvement.

  • Willoughby G, Tosey P. (2007) 'Imagine 'meadfield': Appreciative inquiry as a process for leading school improvement'. Sage Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 35 (4), pp. 499-520.

    Abstract

    This article examines an application of appreciative inquiry (AI), a contemporary approach to organisational change that is increasingly evident in the business world, as a participative means of school improvement. AI appears relevant to contemporary themes in literature on school improvement such as self-evaluation, capacity-building and distributed forms of leadership. Appreciative inquiry is introduced and its literature reviewed, with reference to its growing use both in business and in American schools. The authors then report on `Imagine Meadfield1’, the first known large-scale appreciative inquiry undertaken in an English secondary school, with particular reference to the experience of the head teacher (first author) who led this process. The article critically reviews this experience in order to assess the potential of AI for school improvement.

  • Tosey P. (2005) 'The hunting of the learning organization - A paradoxical journey'. SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD MANAGEMENT LEARNING, 36 (3), pp. 335-352.
  • Tosey PC, Robinson G. (2002) 'When change is no longer enough: What do we mean by "transformation" in organizational change work?'. Emerald TQM Magazine, 14 (2), pp. 100-109.

    Abstract

    The term `transformation’ is much used in the practice and literature of management and organizations. We are curious as to why there has been little challenge to or questioning of usage of the term.

Conference papers

  • Cairns-Lee H, Tosey PC. (2014) 'Stepping Up, Stepping Back – Metaphors of Leadership’'. Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK: International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe,
  • Tosey PC, Saunders, Doherty, Langley, D . (2014) 'Organisational Learning and the Double Bind: The case of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust'. Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK: International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe,
  • Tosey P, Mathison J. (2009) 'Transformative learning: from critical reflection to emergence through guided introspection?'. Newcastle Business School, UK: 10th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice Across Europe
    [ Status: Unpublished ]
  • Tosey P, Mathison J, Langley D. (2008) 'Flesh and Blood and Action: Organisations, Learning and Aesthetics'. Lille: 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe
    [ Status: Unpublished ]

Books

  • Tosey P, Mathison J. (2009) Neuro-Linguistic Programming: a critical appreciation for managers and developers. Palgrave Macmillan

Book chapters

  • Piggott-Irvine E, Henwood S, Tosey PC. (2014) 'Introduction: The need for a new style of leadership'. in (ed.) Practical Leadership in Nursing and Health Care: A Multi-Professional Approach Boca Raton, FL : CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group Article number 1 , pp. 1-17.
  • Tosey PC. (2014) 'Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): A Case of Unorthodox Knowledge in HRD?'. in Walton J, Valentin C (eds.) Human Resource Development: Practices and Orthodoxies Palgrave Macmillan Article number 5 , pp. 107-124.
  • Tosey P, Langley D, Mathison J. (2010) 'Bateson’s Levels of Learning as a Conceptual Framework for Workplace Learning'. in van Woerkom M, Poell R (eds.) Workplace Learning: Concepts, Measurement, and Application London : Routledge , pp. 55-68.
  • Tosey PC. (2010) 'Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Leaders and Managers'. in Gold J, Thorpe R, Mumford A (eds.) Gower Handbook of Leadership and Management Development 5 Edition. Routledge , pp. 313-329.

    Abstract

    On few occasions in the history of modern management have leadership skills been in such sharp focus as they are now. The ability to direct often very large and diverse organizations; to make sense of the complex and turbulent markets and environments in which you operate; and to adapt and learn seems at an all time premium. The premise behind the fifth edition of this influential Handbook is that leadership, management and organizational development are all parts of the same process; enhancing the capacity of organizations, whatever their size, and the people within them to achieve their purpose. To this end, the editors have brought together a who's who of current writers on leadership and development and

  • Tosey P, McDonnell J, Airey DW. (2009) 'Emergent conceptions of enquiry-based learning'. in (ed.) FDTL Voices: Drawing from Learning and Teaching Projects York : Higher Education Academy , pp. 68-78.

Reports

  • Carey J, Churches R, Hutchinson G, Jones J, Tosey PC. (2009) Neuro-linguistic programming and learning: teacher case studies on the impact of NLP in education. in (ed.) Neuro-linguistic programming and learning: teacher case studies on the impact of NLP in education Reading :

Theses and dissertations

  • De Rijk L. (2018) Marginalised from mainstream health and social care services : a grounded theory study of the therapy relationship in non-therapy trained workers and vulnerable clients..
    [ Status: Approved ]

    Abstract

    This thesis explores the experience of the working relationships for clients and their non-therapist workers who are marginalised from main stream health and social care in the third sector. Addressing psychological and emotional problems is traditionally the domain of trained psychotherapists, psychologists and counsellors - professions that draw upon clinical and practice based evidence. Third sector workers are often less qualified yet still provide psychosocial support to others, particularly the more vulnerable in society. Little research has explored the subjective experience of client and worker using brief therapy approaches in non-clinical third sector settings which support those who do not have access to mainstream health and social care services. This thesis explores the subjective experience of clients and their workers within the charity sector in three studies. Study 1 and 2 used thematic analysis and continued into study 3, using grounded theory methodology. Study 1 (n=8) explored the experiences of young people who were marginalised from mainstream education and mental health services and were accessing a workshop and manualised programme utilising brief therapy tools. Study 2 (n=5) explored the experiences of workers who had used the manualised workbook and programme to help these young people to manage their behaviour, with a view to returning to mainstream education. The findings of study 1 and 2 informed the development of a grounded theory exploration with an adult age population in study 3. This population were being supported by workers in a veterans Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) charity. In addition, study 3 (n=11) also explored workers experiences in a veterans’ homeless charity and two addictions charities. The workers were using a range of brief therapy interventions from a range of approaches: Brief Solution Focussed Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Neurolinguistic Programming. The data from all 3 studies in this thesis were then synthesised to develop a middle range grounded theory. The findings of the thesis suggest that a therapeutic working relationship based on self-maturational models develops between worker and client. Both the workers and their clients have had disrupted attachment histories and see similarities in each other as part of their own healing journey. The relationship is sometimes uncontained with the workers lacking aspects of self-reflective functioning that would normally be supported through training, personal therapy and supervision of the qualified worker. The charity sector is an increasingly important economic contributor to the health and social care system. This thesis recommends a quality commissioning process that enables education and supervision of non-clinically trained workers to help develop and support their reflexive functioning.

  • Cairns-Lee H. (2017) An exploration of leadership and its development through the inner worlds of leaders using metaphor..
    [ Status: Approved ]

    Abstract

    This research explores the naturally occurring metaphors of 30 business leaders from fifteen nationalities to discover what insight can be gained from a personalised approach to leader development. Building on the assertion that part of the complexity of leadership is its subjective and symbolic nature, this research explores the meaning that individuals make about their leadership and its development. This approach supports the development of authenticity in leaders, viewing authenticity as making one’s own meaning, relational and elusive. This longitudinal, phenomenological enquiry, situated in the social constructivist paradigm, seeks to explore how leaders construct and make sense of their world at an intra-personal level. It addresses the question; what can leaders learn about their leadership and development from an exploration of their inner worlds through metaphor? Using Clean Language, an innovative interview method to elicit naturally occurring metaphors, leaders were invited to surface and explore their metaphors of leadership verbally and in drawings. Results suggest leaders make meaning through surfacing and exploring their metaphors, gain clarity and confirmation about their leadership and view development as an on-going journey of becoming, rather than a fixed destination. Diverse conceptualisations of leadership are revealed in multiple and idiosyncratic metaphors, yet ten ‘key’ metaphors appear to underlie these diverse expressions. Moreover, the importance of relationship to provide subtle guidance and comfort during exploration of the inner world was revealed. In tandem with the purpose of this study, methodological advances are proposed for qualitative interviews that aim to surface individuals’ metaphors. This seeks to contribute to approaches for eliciting and analysing metaphors that can illuminate sensemaking within the management and organisational field.

  • Wuellner E. (2015) Frontier working in Luxembourg : a talent management perspective.
    [ Status: Approved ]

    Abstract

    This doctoral thesis examines the experiences of frontier workers in Luxembourg and the issues and implications of frontier working in Luxembourg, viewed from a Talent Management perspective. Adopting an interview research strategy, the study involved key informants from the three bordering countries, Germany, France and Belgium. Although Talent Management, as a theme in business and management, has recently received growing attention, academic activities dealing with the experiences of the participating stakeholders do not reflect its importance. To date, there is scarce evidence or research on frontier working, and what little data that exist is mainly numerical. This study aims to address this gap. The research topic appears in the frameworks of International Human Resources Management and Global Talent Management, and is based on an underlying practical issue originating from the necessity of employing talented frontier workers to fill the gap in talent supply in Luxembourg. Looking at Talent Management as an HR practice, a qualitative, inductive research approach was adopted, using semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with two groups of key informants, frontier workers and HR managers. The interviews were conducted in the participan mother tongue either German, French or Luxembourgish hence exploring Talent Management in languages other than English, which, up until now, has been dominant in research. Furthermore, the study offers a novel approach to the so far US- and UK-focused research, as it explores Talent Management in Luxembourg, where almost fifty percent of the workforce iscomposed of frontier workers. In order to answer the research question, the data collected were analysed through thematic analysis to identify significant patterns and themes in each of the 35 interviews. In response to the research question, the findings reveal that frontier working in Luxembourg can be categorized as a dominant and relevant phenomenon. It can be concluded that frontier working does have a significant impact on the Talent Management practices as applied by organizations. Overall, this research provides insights into the increasing importance of frontier working and develops an understanding of the issues in order to inform practice. The study therefore helps to close the gap in the research about the phenomenon of frontier working and its implications for HR practice in relation to Talent Management. This work responds to Collings and Mellahi´s (2009) call for more empirical research on the experiences of talented employees and suggests that TM in Luxembourg is an as yet under-researched topic. The conclusions of this study inform empirical research, theory about frontier working and related concepts. Hence it contributes to a better understanding of frontier working as a thus-far under-explored phenomenon. This study has implications for business and management, as it is relevant for practitioners as well as academic research in International Human Resource Management and Global Talent Management. The study concludes with implications for both existing or future frontier workers and HR departments in organizations in Luxembourg that employ frontier workers and outlines the conclusions for future research.

Working Papers

  • Tosey PC, Sullivan W, Meyer M. (2013) Clean Sources: Six Metaphors a Minute?. University of Surrey not applicable; ISBN: 978-1-84469-029-9,

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