Professor Patricia Shaw is an Associate Director of the Complexity and Management Centre at the Business School of the University of Hertfordshire, which she helped to found in 1995. She is author of Changing the Conversation in Organisations.
With her colleagues at CMC she has developed approaches to organisational leadership, learning and change based on insights emerging from what are now known as the Complexity Sciences. In particular this approach pays attention to the conversational life that emerges in everyday organisational relating and how we all participate in sustaining and potentially transforming the kind of possibilities the future may hold. As well as a thriving research and consulting practice, with links to many other universities, the Centre has established one of the first professional doctorate programmes in the UK, which draws experienced managers from all over the world seeking to develop their capacity as practitioners in leading organisational change.
Patricia has worked as an organisational coach and consultant for 20 years, helping both public and private sector executives rethink their approach to leadership. She tends to discourage reliance on the abstractions of 2 by 2 matrices, idealised schemas and simplified typologies that characterise much of the management literature with their emphasis on large scale programmatic approaches to strategic change. Instead she encourages people to live with the immediate paradoxes and complexities of organisational leadership where we must act with intention into the essentially unknowable. She concentrates on helping people convene and participate in more emergent organising processes in which lively sense-making may flourish, paying particular attention to the part they play in constructing the cultural and political contexts of their organisations and institutions.