A narrative approach to knowledge and communication in multi-level governance structures in the public services: the case of education

Baxter, Jacqueline (2017). A narrative approach to knowledge and communication in multi-level governance structures in the public services: the case of education. In: British Academy of Management Conference, 2017, Reconnecting management research with the disciplines: Shaping the Research Agenda for the social sciences, 5-9 Sep 2017, University of Warwick.

URL: https://www.bam.ac.uk/sites/bam.ac.uk/files/BAM201...

Abstract

The form and shape of public education in England has undergone seismic changes particularly since 2010. Many schools have converted to become academies, with the concomitant curricular and financial freedoms this status confers, and more still have joined or been taken over by Multi- Academy Trusts. These large organizational collaborations involve multi-level governance structures and present complex challenges for boards and senior leadership teams. One particular area of challenge is the ability of the MAT to remain in touch with the numerous and diverse school communities that fall within its remit. This paper employs a narrative approach to strategic decision making to investigate a specific area of strategic decision making in multi-level governance structures in the public services : community knowledge. It investigates not only the sources of this knowledge but also the relative legitimacy and credibility placed on these differing sources. In so doing it also evaluates the narrative approach, and examines what particular contributions it makes to research in this area. It concludes that the narrative approach has yielded insights into the role of trust and the ostensibly de valuing of the role of parent knowledge. It also concludes that in order to explore this area more fully, the follow on project will need to include analysis on trust within the organizations and how this impacts on information flow through each tier of the hierarchy within MATs. As such it contributes to knowledge in the role of narrative in strategy research whilst also emphasising its ability to link into powerful identity work of individuals who take on board roles in such organisations.

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