Trust in the Museum: aligning the internal and external values of the organisation
thesisposted on 28.11.2017, 15:59 by Victoria Linden Claire Hollows
Little is known about the impact of undertaking social justice work on museums and their staff. The consideration of staff is central to my research, as current scholarship positions social justice in museums as an outward-facing concern, something to be done with communities ‘out there’ rather than ‘in here’. Museums are social places and catalysts for interaction with other humans across time and space and culture. The research therefore critiques the ethics of, and the value we place on, relationships with ourselves as well as our communities, and whether we recognise staff as a community. If not, this thesis argues that we diminish trust in the museum. Using the frame of critical community practice, the thesis explores how social justice values intersect between organisational and staff group constructs, and the individuals that comprise them, and their connection to trust as a critically conscious practice. The thesis encompasses many elements of key change management theories, and attributes of the learning organisation, within a social justice frame. In the museum specific context of this research, citizens and communities are conceived as employees and organisations. Is trust actively and consciously considered as a workplace practice, and do we fully understand the role trust has in organisational learning to support social change? The research examines the lived experiences of practitioners in two organisations: St Fagans at National Museums Wales and the Social Enterprise Academy, Scotland. The qualitative research is supported by a background survey identifying differences in how values are perceived across organisations. The research contributes an understanding of the collective actions that foreground people, human qualities and behaviours across internal and external relationships. Its findings endorse the concept of systems thinking, enabling museums to actively work with staff as a community and so build trust in the museum.