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Professor Dopson awarded Col. Lyndall F Urwick Memorial Prize

Sue Dopson, Rhodes Trust Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford has been awarded the prestigious Col. Lyndall F Urwick Memorial Prize for her research paper The Silent Politics of Temporal Work: A Case Study of a Management Consultancy Project to Redesign Public Health Care.  The prize is organised and awarded by the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants, a modern livery company, and it commemorates the life and work of the distinguished management consultant, writer and educator Colonel Lyndall Fownes Urwick.

The paper, published in Organization Studies, was written in conjunction with Gerry McGivern, Ewan Ferlie, Michael Fischer, Louise Fitzgerald, Jean Ledger and Chris Bennett. It draws on a case study of a management consultancy project to discuss temporal work and politics situated between groups with different orientations, and the authors argue that more attention needs to be paid to covert and unarticulated silent politics during temporal work.

‘Management consultants and managers/clinicians in the client organisation drew upon different time frames and were interested in achieving outcomes in different points in time, so viewed the project and the problem it addressed in different ways,’ explained Gerry McGivern, Professor of Organisational Analysis at Warwick Business School. ‘However, these different orientations towards time and the way they framed the project remained “silent" and unarticulated. We suggest that overlooking discussion of the way stakeholders’ time frames affected how they viewed the project enabled them to avoid overt conflict… this ultimately undermined the sustainability of the solution developed during the consulting project, leaving the key problems to be addressed in the future.’

Lead authors McGivern, Dopson and Ferlie were invited to a prize giving ceremony at an Education Supper at the historic Guildhall in London on 25 April, where they were presented with the Urwick Cup by the Master of the Company, David Johnson.