Inside International Development Organisations: Socially Constructing Judgement in-the-Moment

Vincett, Joanne (2013). Inside International Development Organisations: Socially Constructing Judgement in-the-Moment. MRes thesis The Open University.



This exploratory study aimed, first, to build new knowledge on how senior managers of international development organisations defined judgement and how they made sense of it in the context of their leadership roles and work environments. A secondary aim was to explore methodologies and methods, specifically unstructured interviews and observations, to be used in the PhD phase to study the social phenomenon of judgement. Using an ethnographic and reflexive approach, this study addressed the question: How do managers understand their use of judgement ‘in-the-moment’ in practice? Results from the two participating organisations suggest that there are diverse interpretations of the meaning of ‘judgement’; it is a socially constructed process; used in uncertain situations; and influenced by time and space. These findings contribute to our understanding of how judgement in-the-moment is perceived inside an understudied area: the everyday context of small international development organisations. Theoretically, this study complements the existing literature with a social constructionist perspective and draws linkages to judgement as a constitutive element of sensemaking. Methodologically, the reflexive approach taken builds awareness of examining the ‘multiple selves’ and how researchers influence their research and are influenced by it as subject and object. The validity, methodological issues, limitations and implications for future research are also discussed.

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