Individual Article

  • Title of Article
  • Type of Article
  • Author/s
  • Reference
  • Date of Publication
  • DOI
  • Keywords
  • The compassion gap in UK universities
  • Critical Reflection on Practice Development
  • Kathryn Waddington
  • Volume 6, Issue 1, Article 10
  • May 2016
  • https://doi.org/10.19043/ipdj.61.010
  • Compassion, emotion, higher education, narratives, reflexive inquiry
  • Context: This critical reflection is set in the context of increasing marketisation in UK higher education, where students are seen as consumers, rather than learners with power. The paper explores the dark side of academic work and the compassion gap in universities, in order to make recommendations for practice development in higher education and the human services.

    Aims: The paper aims to show how reflexive dialogue can be used to enable the development of compassionate academic practice.

    Conclusions and implications for practice:

    • Toxic environments and organisational cultures in higher education have compounded the crisis in compassionate care in the NHS. Implications for practice are:
    • Narrative approaches and critical appreciative inquiry are useful methods with which to reveal, and rectify, failures of compassion
    • Courageous conversations are required to challenge dysfunctional organisational systems and processes
    • Leadership development programmes should include the application of skills of compassion in organisational settings


  • This article by Kathryn Waddington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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