Head, Heart and Guts; towards a holistic model for management development educators

The experiential learning literature has seen a shift in focus over the last thirty years from ‘novelty of experience’ to an increasing interest in the holistic approach and with this in mind, the research focuses on three key domains; 1) cognition, 2) affect and 3) intuitive/tacit knowledge as a framework for understanding learning. The author argues that the notion of logic and reason, over intuition and emotion is becoming an outmoded view, and calls for a shift in attention in the facilitation of reflection/review. Out of the current research a new model has been created using the three domains noted above, entitled ‘Head, Heart & Gut’ (see fig. 1). The model is a self-awareness tool, which helps individuals to recognise their strengths when working in teams and understand how they might develop a more holistic approach to leading, facilitating, or learning. Unlike a psychometric tool which may highlight a personal preference towards a particular domain, this model suggests that the user should use an appropriate blend of behaviours tailored to a particular situation, which changes depending on the context. This requires the user to be fluid in their ability to move between each of the three domains. The outcome of the research has provided a working document for facilitators and a template upon which to lead dialogues with participants of experiential learning and professional development programmes. Furthermore, the development of reviewing cards serves to bring to life the reviewing process, not only for the facilitator, but also for the learner. Several innovative ideas have been developed to include one to one and group feedback, facilitator feedback, 360° feedback and a coaching model. Finally, the simplicity of this mode ensures that the learner has a self-awareness framework which is easily accessible, and can be utilised in a broad variety of management situations.

Jowitt, A. (2009) Head, Heart and Guts; towards a holistic model for management development educators, Masters Dissertation with Sheffield University