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The Power of Being Present at Work

Co-Creative Process Inquiry as a Developmental Approach

Takanen Terhi

In this action research, the research task was to develop different ways of being present at work. The research is based on relational constructionism as a meta-theory, and through empirical study, this action research shows what this could mean in practice in development work. The context of co-inquiry was a long-term development project in one department of the Finnish Ministry of Finance, called the Office for the Government as Employer (later OGE). Ways of being present at work show up in different ways of relating to/with oneself and others, and the quality of relating has an impact on well-being and productivity in organizations. Studies that take being present in action not only as a subject of study but also as a research orientation have been missing in the area of development work. From this point, the work is positioned in relation to a) a philosophy of science that centers on an ongoing process in which the researcher participates (relational constructionism), b) more local theories of mindfulness and being present, and c) related methodologies and methods of participative development work. I explored the research task through five questions in this thesis. First, how did we carry on development work together OGE? Second, what kind of relating emerged in particular moments and then, how was the soft self-other relating invited in those moments? Third, how did we practice being present in our developmental work? Fourth, what kind of way of developing enabled different ways of being present at work? Finally, does Co-Creative Process Inquiry (one result of this study) differ from other developmental approaches? Through empirical work, the research illuminates how relational constructionism as a metatheory could be put into practice. It shows how relations can shift from hard differentiation (subject-object) to soft self-other relating. The research also shows how new ways of relating can be invited and facilitated by practicing being present. One result is a detailed description of Co-Creative Process Inquiry as an emerging developmental approach. Hence, the research contributes to action research methodology and the studies of development work. It also produces new practices to being present not only to research work but also to work life, and participates in discussions about mindfulness in developmental work. Another central contribution is a presentation of how the development process was carried on and how we practiced being present in action. These findings are organized under the following five themes 1) from making changes toward participating by giving space, 2) from stable structures to enabling structures, called microcosms, 3) from visioning and planning the future towards embodying it in the here and now, 4) from thinking-mode towards embodied sensing, 5) from result-oriented evaluating towards on-going storytelling in the here and now.


35 €

  • Publisher Kauppakorkeakoulu (Aalto-yliopisto)
    Release-year 2013
    Page-count 224
    Language English
    Series Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS
    Appearance B5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9789526050881
    ISSN 1799-4934