About Alison Donaldson
My consulting work
My consulting practice has two main strands these days: I work as a writing coach and also as a narrative writer.
I have worked with people in many walks of life, including management consultants, lawyers academics and business people.
Creating narrative accounts and
My professional interest in stories and narrative goes back years, but I really honed my skills in this area while working with Macmillan Cancer Support. from about 2004 to 2014, I helped the charity capture the story of its work with groups of doctors, patients and nurses respectively. This work culminated in a co-authored book titled "Communities of Influence", published in 2011.
More recently, I collaborated with Rob Warwick of the University of Chichester on a research project on "Building Trusting Relationships", funded by Roffey Park Institute. Together we published a research report called "The emergence of trusting relationships: stories and reflections" and a "Croner strategic briefing" called "Trust and the emotional bank account: using stories to prompt learning".
My own writing
Apart from my own blog on human relating, I am now working on a book on the same subject, which is emerging rather organically - I consciously decided not to start from an "outline". Each chapter takes its inspiration from a work of literature or fiction, starting with Kafka's The Castle.
2000-2003: I experienced a watershed in my career when I undertook a doctorate in organisational change with Professor Ralph Stacey at the University of Hertfordshire. This introduced me to a completely different way of thinking about management, leadership, change and communication, informed by new thinking on complexity and emergence. My thesis title was "The part played by writing in the organisational conversation".
1990s: independent writer, consultant and writing coach
1987-1990: employed as Communications Specialist by McKinsey & Company in London
1984-7: employed as researcher and writer by Which? magazine, Consumers' Association, London
1976-83: three years working for the International Institute of Management Berlin; two years at the Free University Berlin; and two years as a freelance researcher, journalist and translator
1975-76: research assistant at Political and Economic Planning (later swallowed by the Policy Studies Institute) in London
Doctor of Management in organisational change (with Professor Ralph Stacey at the Business School, University of Hertfordshire, 2003)
First degrees in economics (Bath 1975) and sociology (Berlin 1980)
Born in England
Based in Hove, England, and Charroux, France
Fluent German, competent French
How I got interested in intelligent ways of interweaving writing and conversation.