Implementing Educational Innovations: A Staff Perspective of Personal Development Planning




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Research in Higher Education



Peer reviewed



The aim of this study has been to explore and understand the implementation of Personal Development Planning, hereafter to be titled PDP, as an educational innovation in a single institutional context. Adopting a Sartrean ontology (1956, 2007) in which the subjective individual takes precedence over the systems within which that same individual exists and works, an interview process sought to understand the attitudes and beliefs of educational members of staff to PDP, and the ways in which those attitudes and beliefs have impacted on the implementation process as a whole. As an innovation based around the concepts of academic and professional identity, and the ability of a community of practice to shape and drive the implementation process, the key barrier to the implementation of the innovation in question proved to be a failure to account for personal differences at a fundamental level. These were not found to be just socio-political differences but psychological incongruences between the notions underpinning the concept of PDP and the multitude of worlds through which those notions were to be both interpreted by members of staff and presented to students. In Sartrean terms, by focusing on a systems model of managing change the negotiated power relationship between self and context had been lost within over-deterministic goals (2007: 79), with the subsequent loss of practitioner support for the innovation.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.


Innovation, Personal Development Planning, Sartre, Community, Identity, Barriers


Tymms, M. (2018) Implementing Educational Innovations: A Staff Perspective of Personal Development Planning. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 23 (4), pp. 463-478


Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice