Working Towards Institutional Change
: An Investigation of the Transformations and Learning in a Further Education College Merger Project Team in Barbados

  • Chesterfield Browne

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This study examined the work practices of a project team that was engaged in the implementation of shared services at three tertiary level educational institutions in Barbados.Using Activity Theory as the underpinning theoretical framework, the researcher employed Development Work Research (DWR) and the Engestromian Change Labs to reveal the tensions and contradictions that occurred in the project team’s work environment. The intent was to reframe their understanding of the work practices from the everyday to the scientific, and develop new work practices to generate organisational change. The study also explored the expansive transformation that took place during the intervention process.The aim of the study was to answer the following question:In what ways, if any, did changes in the work practices of a project team contribute to changes in the planning and implementation of shared services in three Barbadian educational institutions?The research found that there were ruptures and disturbances in the work environment. These were attributed to the historically bureaucratic practices of Government which impacted negatively on the project team by impeding the development of innovative practices. The DWR intervention resulted in the resolution of the contradictions and led to effective change and expansive learning in the staff as well as a change in the approach to the implementation strategies that were being used by the project team.The team was able through dialogue and debate in the Change Labs to create a new form of practice which involved a new communication strategy and model. The new practice was used to overcome the challenge of providing timely and effective communication with the stakeholder institutions with which they were working to implement the shared services.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorHarry Daniels (Supervisor)


  • activity theory
  • institutional change

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