Organisational culture, knowledge and learning: A case study of workplace learning in a high performance centre

Phelan, Simon Edward (2016). Organisational culture, knowledge and learning: A case study of workplace learning in a high performance centre. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This aim of this thesis was to critically examine the features of an elite performance centre in facilitating coaches’ professional learning experiences. In response to existing coach development literature that is negative about the formal education experiences coaches encounter, contemporary research has suggested a conceptual and practical shift towards professional learning (e.g. learning as form of social practice), which in turn has led to a greater focus on the workplace as a legitimate site for the development of professional knowledge. A focus on workplace learning requires an understanding of the social, structural, and cultural factors that facilitate or inhibit coach learning. Drawing on an ethnographic case study approach, 6 professional coaches and 3 administrative staff within an Olympic High Performance centre participated in the project over an 8 month period. Utilising a constructivist version of grounded theory, the findings build upon current understandings of coach education, suggested learning experiences are a condition of the interrelationship between negotiated personal engagement, workplace structures, and contextual mediating conditions. This relationship is captured within the model ‘Negotiated Community Transitions’, characterising coaches’ as individuals that move and participate across communities, each with its own distinct culture. As such, the coaching workplace is portrayed as a contested and fluid landscape.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Q Science > QP Physiology


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