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Masters in People and Organisation Development Q&A Podcast Episode

James Traeger and Carolyn Norgate answer your questions in this Masters in People and Organisation Development Q&A.
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In a couple of months time Mayvin is starting it's new MA in People and Organisation Development Programme, which we are very excited about. It will give participants a post-graduate certificate after year 1 and the opportunity to take it all the way to a full MA after year 3. Programme Director James Traeger and Year 1 Lead Carolyn Norgate have been hosting online open days. They have also been having one to one chats with prospective participants for about six months now. They know what questions people have been asking. So we decided to lock them in a room to talk through this MA in People and Organisation Development Q&A.

So if you're interested, but haven't been able to make any of the open days yet; or perhaps aren't feeling brave enough to get in touch with us yet; or maybe a little bit curious as to what we're up to, this podcast is for you.

Hopefully after listening you'll leave with a clearer sense of the environment we're trying to build here. You can also find out more information on our Masters pages including when our next open day is. But if you have any further questions or any queries, please do get in touch with us on [email protected] 

Transcript for the MA in People and Organisation Development Q&A

1. How and why the programme started

Carolyn Norgate  3:05  
So we're starting a master's programme.

James Traeger  3:07  
We are starting a master's programme. And actually, we've been starting a master's programme for a while, haven't we. And that has meant developing a kind of community around this programme, which supports it, nurtures it. That's been going on for a couple of years now, if not a bit more.

And one of the things from an OD point of view to notice is how the deadline in the sand start is actually a bit of a of a mirage. Actually, the whole ecosystem of developing the programme has been the thing. And that's been going on since we started running the PG dip really well the PG cert, I should say. This was seven, eight years ago. So it's sort of evolved over a long period of time. So we've kind of been doing this for a while. But this is the first time we've offered it as a standalone, full Master's.

Carolyn Norgate  3:59  
We've done that programme for the civil service. We've done it with other clients. And we've talked with various of our clients, and with alumni from the programme about how they can build it up to a master's. And we've noticed that there's a huge amount of energy for it. But there's a huge amount of energy from different places. 

James Traeger  4:16  

Carolyn Norgate  4:17  
So we've taken the step to sort of see where that energy comes together. And we've chosen to be the nexus point. Because none of our clients I think, feel that they they can hold it on their own. Or need to hold it on their own. And I suppose we're seeing something in the field right now. 

James Traeger  4:34  

2. Who the programme is for

Carolyn Norgate  4:35  
We've been nurturing that community of people. And this is building on how we've been working in development of. We have we've been working in the field of developing people in OD and change practice for a number of years now. But doing it in this format is is part of our ongoing experiment. So yeah, we want to have conversations with people from all over So different areas of practice. So thinking about sorts of people who might come on this programme. We've been talking to people who are independent, OD change practitioners, consultants. We've been talking to people who's, who do that do those kinds of roles as internal practitioners. People who are leaders, but work a lot with change at different points in their careers.

James Traeger  5:22  
I'm particularly interested in people in OD practice as a as a leadership and management skills. So in a sense, the programme's open to anyone who has that interest in. Particularly if they're a senior leader. Or manager in a large organisation, and want to really figure out how do you get work done?

3. The synergies of it being an MA

Carolyn Norgate  5:44  
Yeah. It's a master's. It's an MA, yes, then then it's not an MSc? And we people who know Mayvin, we talk a lot about artful practice. You've written a pamphlet with Rob from Chichester on artful practice. Is that why we've gone down the AMA route?

James Traeger  6:03  
Well, to a certain extent, it's slightly arbitrary. It depends on the university that you're linked to tends to use as their masters level track. And clearly when you've got something like OD. Well, there's one of the key debates in OD as dialogic versus diagnostic, you know, is it an art or a science, but we we would call it a craft wouldn't we. And what you're doing is learning your craft. It's a master's level qualification, which an MSc is as well. It's level seven, which is actually the thing that people look at. Yeah. And it's giving you a level of professional recognition.

Carolyn Norgate  6:37  
Yeah, had we been working with a different partner they may have, they may have pushed more than MSC role. But I do think there's, there's a nice synergy with the way in which we practice at Mayvin and the way in which our clients,

4. It's an inquiry based programme with action research at the heart

James Traeger  6:50  
What I would move towards, and this is a whole question in the field of organisational change practice is that it's an inquiry based programme. So inquiry in art, or in science, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the nature and quality of the inquiry. And the inquiry is about both my own internal learning and self awareness and reflexivity. But it's also about the difference I make in the world. So, again, I keep coming back to that craft word, you know. Making a difference in the service of learning and vice versa, learning about myself and learning about the nature of change.

So if you look at the detail of the programme, the programme takes you through a question based approach. An inquiry based approach to your own practice, through the lenses of mapping the field. Doing a practical piece of project work in a in a real organisation. Which will be one of our clients probably in the third sector, or in the NGO sector, which, you know, is a contribution to the world. Which is important in this in this day and age, when we've got the planet to save.

And then we look at your inquiry through the lens of groups and teams and team dynamics; which is an ongoing, kind of huge level of skill in change process. A facilitation type skill. And then we look at the future of organising and organisations. And then you do a dissertation and your dissertation is also inquiry based. It's your question that takes you through all the way to the dissertation. So all of that amounts to, you know, curiosity, rather than a clear answer. It's all about the nature of the question we're asking.

Carolyn Norgate  8:45  
Yeah, what what are the what are the insights? What are the findings about you in the world you're in right now it's contextual.

James Traeger  8:53  
And it's, and it's a having done change. So you don't just do change at the end of it, you're doing it all the way through, you're delivering real useful stuff, both for yourself and for your organisation. And for a client and NGO client organisation that we might help you have and supply in the in module two, and so on. So it's make a difference programme,really? 

Carolyn Norgate  9:16  
Yeah. Yeah. And it's it's action research based. That that that classic action research, perspective taking around first person, second person, third person, me, us. And the us might be us in our practice based learning group. It might be us in the whole community of practice on the programme might be us. Your team that you're working with us, us, the team of the client you're working with, but then there's that wider world application. So what is it saying about the wider world, the organisation on part of the sector, I'm part of the OD.

James Traeger  9:54  
Coming back to that community point that we started with, you get a huge amount of support from tutors. As you know, from the faculty, mostly through the process of the action learning, practice based learning, as we call it, set up, which is a small group. Which is, to use the phrase that we wrote a paper on is a safe place to stay sharp. You also have the support of your peers in that process, which is really, really important. So that's part of the community.

And then we've got this extended community of the Mayvin community through the events and programmes that we run. And then you've got the university community as well, and the client communities that you'll be involved in. So you're, you're in this kind of network, through the programme, which you know, holds you and supports you and challenges you in, in a in a really useful way through practice. So it's, it's more about practice and theory. And the theory comes through, really how you apply yourself in the practice?

Carolyn Norgate  10:59  
Well, and I think that there is in service of, so that, you know, you don't know what you don't know. You don't know what you haven't read, as a community. And as faculty, we help people find the things that are useful in service of their questions. In service of their inquiry in service of the work they're seeking to do, giving them alternative perspectives allowing into critique their own practice and service of their collective practice. 

James Traeger  11:23  

Carolyn Norgate  11:24  
So yeah, so I think I think there's something around how we work with theory. And how we create our own theories of practice.

5. The reasons for doing a masters, such as professional recognition and the kudos in gaining a qualification. As well as the usefulness of the skills acquired

James Traeger  11:32  
Yeah, the very skills and qualities that you need in order to get a level seven programme. Which is essentially around critical reflection; critical practice; critical thinking; the ability to kind of think around the problem and through complexity of that into something useful on the ground; is precisely the experience that people, the skill that people need to develop through the experience.

So, so the reason for doing Masters is both because of what it gets you at the end. Butut it's also through the the actual experience of doing it and the usefulness of the skills that you develop in doing it for your practice in change in organisations. 

Carolyn Norgate  12:19  
Yeah, but and there is kudos in that. And a lot of employers look for it, there's a certain point, from a professional perspective where you expect your 

James Traeger  12:28  
yeah recognised, 

Carolyn Norgate  12:29  
to be to be recognised through some kind of accreditation process and the Masters gives people that

6. The paradigm of this programme is that it's about the process itself

James Traeger  12:36  
And it does have a level of professional recognition about it. But actually, what we find is that there are quite a few people who apply and are interested, even in our in house master's level programmes, who've already got a Master's. They've already got an MBA or something like that. But because of the paradigm of the programme is very different. It's much more about how we show up in our practice in change.

That people are quite happy with the idea of doing it for the process of doing it, rather than just getting a level of qualification. And of course, because we've mapped to the CIPD, and accredited by the CIPD, as well as others, it does actually have that level of professional recognition in the relevant field, HR, independent Personnel and Development.

7. The future of organisations or the future of organising module. And what this might mean in a potentially hopefully, post pandemic world with Gen Z employees

Carolyn Norgate  13:24  
I think for leaders. It's really interesting, that fourth module about the future of organisations. We're calling it the future of organisations, but we're also talking about it the future of organising, you know, how's your, your work in the organisation you lead or the part that you lead already changed in the last couple of years? The impact of external events on your organisation? I mean, I don't just mean pandemic, there's huge amount of different external pressures on organisations. And how will it need to continue to change? And what's your role in that?

James Traeger  13:55  
We're very excited by that module. Because in a way, the, it strikes us that post Covid. Or hopefully post Covid coming out of the Covid world. And there's a kind of a paucity of creative thinking about how employers respond to the different expectations now of, of people who work in organisations, you know.

Their their lack of willingness to go back on the commute on the five day commute. And, you know, the, what's called in very narrow terms work life balance and all of that kind of thing. There is, there needs to be a much more kind of creative inquiry into how people will be working in future and we know that also from the Gen Z kind of expectations who have a very different sense of a deal between them and their employer, as I know myself when with two Gen Z children.

So it is actually something we're very excited by. As to kind of have a space In the programme for people to inquire into that, not just by talking about it, but by having a go. Designing a future way of organising that can be immediately applicable to their, to their organisational practice. There's some practical questions aren't there around funding and the learning environment and how we work with. Shall we, have a look at some of those

8. The practicalities of the programme. You can enter or exit at different levels. There is the certificate, the diploma and the dissertation

Carolyn Norgate  15:26  
Practical questions. How are we going to work this programme, it's going to be a combination of face to face and online. So each module, essentially each module is half half a year. So we've got the first year creates the post grad cert certificate. The second year is the postgraduate diploma, and the third year is a time for writing dissertation.

I think what's important to say about this; the reason I brought out those distinctions about PG cert PGDip and full Masters, is you you might sign up for the whole masters from the start, that might be your clear goal in doing this. You may just sign up for the first year. We're offering this as a bit of a hop on hop off, if that's what you want. You know, it might be life stage. It might be career stage, there might be a whole range of reasons why you have an ultimate aim to do a masters. But taking the whole thing on right now might not be for you. Yeah. And if that's the case, then that's fine. Join us for the first year and see where you are. Go on.

James Traeger  16:37  
What also recognises people's current career realities, which is that you know, people change jobs fairly frequently. Now they move to different employers. You might only get funding from your first employer for guaranteed for the first year. If you leave you might need to renegotiate that. And so you've got the option of continuing the   masters at a later date. So you know that flexibility recognises the nature of the current world of work that people face at the moment.

Carolyn Norgate  17:06  
Yeah, absolutely. And then within so within that, each module, so roughly half a year, so each each each year is made up of two modules. Starts with the residential, which our plan is to be face to face. And then we have webinars, things like critical thinking; artful critical writing; we have online community day's; practice based learning groups. So working in a learning set, type environment, those that will be online is again is the plan. Again, those are coming together for a shortish two hour period of time for a webinar or a day. So it's cutting down on travel for people, it's, you know. Hopefully meaning it making it easier to again, from a funding perspective, you're not needing to do overnights, travel, those sorts of things. But we do bring people together at the starts and ends of modules.

And we'll have some guest modules as well, which will be residential, which are from NTL all this first, run of the masters. So halfway through each year, the PG cert, it's the NTL strategic interventions module. And for the second year, it's the Human Interaction Lab, the HAI Lab, which is based on T group. Yeah, so those are residential. And that's our plan. I think it's worth saying that we've worked necessarily. We've been doing all our development programmes, including the ones that we mentioned earlier on, which are the, you know, existing post grad certs. And you know, along these lines, with existing clients, other similar inquiry based programmes, have been completely online where they've needed to be because of the pandemic. And we will work with circumstances of the change.

9. The MA is a combination of online and face to face activities. Plus this is a flexible programme and we are keen to develop it in hand with you

James Traeger  18:51  
So I mean, I think the key here is flexibility. We have a plan, which is to have a good mix of face to face and virtual modules. Minimising travel, we've got a great venue, which you can talk about in a minute. For the face to face work, as is essential in OD practice, we have a plan. And also we're very flexible and adaptable and able to shift. As we have been doing in our PG cert programmes. So

Carolyn Norgate  19:21  
Yeah, and that plan might also involve hybrid at points. Yeah, and most people can be in the room. But you know, there's certain issues which mean we'll need to have a hybrid version of different elements of it. And we'll be experimenting together on that. And so that's not just gonna be our decision. This will be you know, the community forms, and then we work out how to work together. Yeah, so again, that's just like our client work. Our practice with OD.

James Traeger  19:44  
We talk in Mayvin about everything being an experiment. 

Carolyn Norgate  19:47  

James Traeger  19:47  
And everything is in a sense, you know, we're. There's an expression we usually there's always beta you know, which comes from the tech world, which is this idea of a beta test, you know, is a test to see if something will fly. And, you know, use good learning environments now are beta tests, they're always evolving and changing and growing, with a kind of core stable, kind of proposition in the middle of them, which for us is the inquiry process that people get into.

So it's all grist to the mill, I suppose whatever happens is good learning for us as a community in terms of how the uh, both how the programme can function so that people get the most out of it, but also, how we learn to adjust in, in a world of complexity, which is a people and OD , people in organisational development question.

Carolyn Norgate  20:37  
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think the one thing I wanted to say earlier about the inquiry process is, is I think, often when people think masters, they think, research, there must be a research component to it. The inquiry, when we say inquiry, that's the research.

So we use the phrase, I mean, not not our phrase, but, but living life as inquiry in a researcher in your own life. Being a researcher in your organisation, you know, this, this all comes from, from action research. So that's, that's our research orientation.

And the research starts, well, I was about to say from day one, day one, but you know, for those who already signed up, don't want us happen to you know, day one isn't the 20th of April, when we first we first meet at Lane End. Those those have already joined the open mornings we've been having about this. And there's a couple more coming up.

We are starting the conversations there about practice using an artful process. If you were drawing, you know, do a quick sketch of your practice. How is it now, how do you want to develop it? How is the Masters part of developing the boundaries of this learning process, I think are very fluid.

James Traeger  21:55  
Yeah. Which again, reflects, you know, the future of organisations where we have to deal with a lot more fluidity in our, in our experience. Should we talk a bit about the venue? 

10. Our face to face venue Lane End

Carolyn Norgate  22:06  
Yeah. Lane End. There's a practical reasons why we chose Lane End, it's not far from London, it's not far from Heathrow that people are coming in, from the far ends of UK from outside the UK. Yeah, so we're near airport hubs we are near rail hubs. And it's a very, it's a very nice setting, English countryside and Buckinghamshire. It's also become a bit of a home for all other OD programmes.

So we mentioned NTL earlier, who are runnning residentials for us, they use it for their programmes already. Tavistock use it for their programmes. So it's a name for the kind of. If you're going to be doing a residential OD programme, Lane End's, where you would do it.

And I think one of the things that I really liked; we spent some time there trying it out; it can cater, it caters for quite a lot of people at any one time. But it's it's been small, small hubs, there's about four or five parts of the building. And four or five rest areas in each of those buildings and as well as the rooms to work in. And the breakout rooms and different spaces for the community to be together in all the different times of the day and night that there'll be there. So yeah, it feels quite nurturing as a space for a community to start to find itself.

James Traeger  23:20  
Yeah, I think it's important for people to feel like they have a home for this process. And of course, there's the online experience and the learning group and the practice based learning set and that kind of thing. But also that sense of a place that you come back to, that you return to from time to time to be as well as to do I think Lane End is good for that, you know, really appropriate for that and it's got a good reputation in that sense.

11. Finance, pricing, bursaries and payments for the programme

Carolyn Norgate  23:47  
What else practically be good finances, money.

James Traeger  23:52  
In relation to what we were talking about earlier about the flexibility of the programme. I think there's similar flexibility about the money. 

Carolyn Norgate  24:00  

James Traeger  24:00  
This programme for us is a contribution to the field of people in OD practice. One of the articles that we'll be sharing on the programme at the start is a programme by Judy Marshall, who you mentioned in relation to living life as inquiry. And Paul Tozi, who is it Surrey University where I did my post grad diploma 30 years ago. Their paper is on the decline of inquiry based Master's programmes.

And one of the reasons why Mayvin's choosing to do this is because we feel that kind of educational experience and an inquiry based master's level programme into people and organisational change. They're far fewer of them than they used to be. Partly because of the pressure for universities to do much more kind of vocationally, kind of very instrumental type programmes and programmes that get measured in certain ways. And this programme, as we said, is more of a craft, than a science.

So we'll be sharing that paper as part of the programme. But the reason why we're doing this is because we really think the field needs it. And there's a demand for it and an interest in it and, and a gap. And so we're not looking to make loads of money out of this, we won't be making loads of money out of this.

We're doing it in order to make it accessible for people. So we have an active bursary programme, we have an active process of really matching the ability for people to pay, to the programme so that we've gotten a good mix of people on the programme, not just people who can afford it.

Carolyn Norgate  25:36  
Employers can as well 

James Traeger  25:38  
So employers can. Absolutely, that's my way of saying, you know, talk to us about what's possible, what you can afford, whether you can afford the first year or three years,

Carolyn Norgate  25:50  
And also how to pay

James Traeger  25:53  
Absolutely,  in stage payments and making the processes flexible and, and as accessible as possible to a diverse range of people. 

Carolyn Norgate  26:04  
Yeah. So the rates are on prospectus, we have a whole masters rate or the you know, the buying in parts rate. But if you're if you're looking at that and thinking I'd love to do this programme, and I'm really not sure my employer can stretch, to it all between us, you know, where I can't stretch to just give a shout, have a conversation, let's see what we can do. The diversity of the community is really important to us.

So if you didn't already know about this, or maybe even you knew a little bit about it, and that's whetted your appetite, have a look at prospectus, give us a shout, have a chat during the open day. And that process will continue. We start the first one in April, but the process of having conversations about joining the Masters in the future or at a certain point, it's going to be a continuing conversation. So yeah, I look forward to continuing this conversation with whoever's listening. Thanks, James. 

James Traeger  26:57  
Thank you

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