The Use of Metaphors With LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY ® For Harmony and Innovation

Sean McCusker, Joanne Clifford Swan

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Organisational changes within Higher Education Institutions (HEI) over recent years have had a great effect on the roles of Higher Education (HE) staff and their attitudes, experience and satisfaction within those roles. The changes in the way HEIs are funded have resulted in institutional policies that are strongly market driven. Alongside this, policies of widening access to HE have led to the ‘massification’ of student numbers and the intensification of the workload of HE staff.

The increasing focus on measures and evaluations between and within institutions, with league tables and in the UK at least, Research Excellence Framework (REF) and its previous incarnations along with the recently introduced Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), has led to a culture of audit and managerialism both at the level of institutional policy and at the micro level within faculties and departments. These effects have been particularly acute in traditionally practice-based programmes and post-92 institutions, where these drivers are at times at odds with the motivations and expertise of many of the staff who joined these institutions under different conditions.

This paper presents LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® as a method of enabling members of staff with diverse expertise, experience and expectations to come together to work towards a shared strategic plan in the light of the changing HE culture. The method is applied to a teacher education department within a post-92 university, where despite differing views of the challenges facing the department, consensus is achieved through the building of shared metaphors and joint narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)174-192
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Management and Applied Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2018


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