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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

We had no choice. It was inevitable. Some thoughts on parallel processes between researcher and researched in response to organisational change.

I need to make it very clear from the start that what follows is very much a 'works - in - progress' paper. And despite the anxiety that this has invoked, and continues to invoke, I have consciously chosen to present my paper in this way. As a participant I would much rather engage with the material presented by someone grappling with issues than be presented with a definitive and polished product. I believe there is more life in the struggle for meaning than in the retelling of an achieved position. I must also declare this as a 'works in progress' because this paper is drawn from research I am currently conducting for my doctoral thesis. My current situation is one where I feel immersed (almost lost) in the minutiae of detail of the research and find it difficult to draw much more than speculative and tentative analysis from the material I am currently experiencing. This paper has many parts which hopefully will create a coherent whole. I have tried to present this paper in a way that reveals the process of learning as I grapple with my issues, the issues of the organisation and the issues that emerge in the relationship between myself as the researcher and the organisation as the object of my research. I'm not sure if the title of the paper is accurate; that is, I don't know if this is the process of parallel process. I am however becoming increasingly aware of the interdependence of the relationship and the difficulty this creates in claiming validity of the research.Last week I had to present part of this paper to a doctoral seminar. Although the paper at that time had essentially two sections - the first an examination of the self in the research and the second a report on the research itself, I talked only of the research. The discussion that followed was desultory and polite. A friend, in response to my request for feedback later said it was fine, but she added that it lacked something because I wasn't in the paper. I thought about this. I didn't want to be - I wanted to be considered a professional who had some academic rigour. I didn't want to be the person who exposed my self for public scrutiny.I then reflected on the paper I had written and the section I had presented. I said I wanted to discover the truth/s of the organisation; I was confronted with what I had chosen not to report in my research findings. I was confronted by the omissions, by the deletions and the half-truths. I decided to re-work the paper, and rather than cover-up my initial position, use it to illustrate the relationship between myself and the organisation. In so doing, I attempt some analysis of the research I first presented. Stylistically all that which has been added is in italics, parts of the original paper are in normal script. In order to remain within the required word length I have deleted some of the original paper - the deletions are of detail.'