Building bridges, or not

It occurs to me there are parallels between how we build trust and how a relationship develops between the writer and reader.  Much of the literature I am drawn to stresses that trust is a process, of taking the first step, of risk and of developing a stake in the other person’s interests.  Each party need to identify with the other in some way or another, including the credibility of each other, of being moved emotionally with any gift or expectation of trust or the straightforward logic of the process.  And it should be similar with literature – an exchange, albeit one divided by time between ‘nib-to-paper’ through to ‘paper-to-eye’.

But often it isn’t.  The conventions of academic writing seem to dull all but those logical senses.  When I read papers crafted towards the academic game I’m left unmoved.  I am particularly critical of those that base most of their argument on what other people have said on trust and shy away from discussing actual experience, their own or others.  If we don’t build effective bridges between the reader and the author how can we affect people’s  practice and how they think of their practice?

Rob Warwick


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Rob Warwick

My experience lies in the various aspects of organisational change, particularly working with groups and individuals to understand the impact of change and the opportunities it offers. Areas of knowledge include: the formulation and implementation of Government policy; corporate strategy and planning; management control within organisational change; and public sector compliance. A common thread through much of my work is making sense of ambiguity and conflict. This includes the impact of newly introduced legislation and government policy, mergers between organisations, or their parts; and, the workings of multi-disciplinary groups. These experiences were a major influence on my doctorate on healthcare policymaking and the unpredictable and paradoxical impact it has on frontline staff practice. Areas explored in my thesis included the often unexamined implications of a scientific systems based approach to change and the impact this has on people. My thesis includes practical actions to improve policymaking.

One thought on “Building bridges, or not”

  1. This is a fascinating subject to me — the relationship between writer and reader and how trust does or doesn’t emerge through the reading process. Your observation about people who shy away from discussing actual experience is so pertinent for our narrative inquiry work in this project. It adds weight to the case for narrative accounts about how trust shows up. It also gives us added reason to write about our own experiences of trust.


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