I was intrigued by the comment from my first interview:
‘I have to honestly say that I don’t really know why I was stirred in the way I was, and sometimes became quite cross and churned up because of some of the things that… the process that I was being pushed through, it felt a bit like that, and it felt as though it was in some ways almost violating my own sense of who I was and my own sense of vocation.’ (AB)
I share that curiosity, why are his feelings, and those of others, quite so strong?
….it seems to compartmentalise and diminish, actually, the whole endeavour that you’re engaged in, and as if it could be reduced to little chunks of this and that. It’s about more than that. And I suppose, yes, I see my vocation much more in terms of seeking to be a good, worthy minister and feeling accountable to that. I feel I have a strong sense of accountability, but I don’t necessarily find some of the ways in which I’m expected to go through processes by which that’s checked to be helpful in doing… it doesn’t make me feel particularly accountable other than to some processes which I don’t necessarily see as totally in line with what I actually see my vocation and sense of professionalism to be. (AB)
Clearly this interviewee does not distinguish MDR from conventional appraisal. He feels that it diminishes him, reduces complex behaviours and attitudes to tick boxes. ‘It’s about more than that’.
… the word diminish is a word that I sometimes feel… that it diminishes what… you feel it diminishes the whole being of a minister. It seems to reduce it to various tasks, a more utilitarian thing rather than more about, if you like, character and… (AB)
Further interviews were mostly less negative and they seem to have picked up on the intentions and carefulness that the member of the Connexional Team refers to in her interview. This helpfulness, however, is not without comment, and the conversations also supported the finding from previous research of Guerrier and Bond, that of ambivalence to management. There is a suspicion of hierarchy, of appraisal in particular, of secular ideas in general and above all a lack of clarity as to what the policy is for and what agenda it might have.
In reflecting on the process of introducing MDR, an Ex Chair of District said,
There were one or two in the District who were ….. suspicious, critical, anticipating conflict, all the things in any situation, the feeling that somebody somewhere is developing things just for the sake of it and what have you. (OP).