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The Baltic Sessions: Professor Ashly Pinnington, The British University in Dubai

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art






Professor Ashly Pinnington: The British University in Dubai


This presentation on love of research engagement, addresses how we might increase the pleasure, enjoyment, curiosity, fascination, and satisfaction we derive from our work. An assumption made is that lack of engagement arises whenever we do not gain enough pleasure from our research work.

In many universities and colleges, it requires only a brief conversation with a group of researchers to learn a lot about their managers’ expectations for performance and work achievement. Many people have heard managers from profit-making organisations in business and industry say that over-emphasis on performance targets is counter-productive and, in their experience, can be disastrous for employee motivation. I will argue that star-researchers very rarely make this error because they face few obstacles that prevent them from enjoying their research, and when they do encounter problems, they learn quickly from their mistakes!

While working at a university in Australia, I enjoyed my informal role of introducing a number of “visiting Poms” to many of the academic staff in our school. I began to notice that when I was introducing our UK guest to academic researchers who came from a wide diversity of subject backgrounds, nationalities and research interests, they all fairly quickly converged on mentioning the name of one or two of our best scholars in the school. After going from office-to-office and building-to-building and hearing this introductory remark (“you’re probably know / heard of …?”) for the 5th or even 10th time in succession, I began to wonder if there was something flawed in our customary way (citation) of asserting credibility and making introductions. It seemed to me that if my colleagues simply talked about what they loved doing in their research, it might go down better because our guest would have 5-10 more varied short meetings.

This talk invites you to identify more ways that your strengths can increase the amount of pleasure you gain from doing research. It also proposes that we should distinguish our commonly accepted, “known strengths” from what could be other idiosyncratic, individual strengths that we possess. In this spirit, we might increase further the positive reflections and engaging conversations in our university research activities.


Over the last 12 years, Ashly has been employed at the British University in Dubai, first as Dean of Faculty and then Dean of Research. Previously, he worked in the UK and Australia for 15 years in research intensive universities and 6 years in post-1992 universities. He holds a PhD in Management awarded by Brunel University. His current research interests are in Social Responsibility, Expatriate Talent Management and the Management of Professionals.

Ashly has published in numerous journals including Organization & Environment, Journal of Management Studies, Human Relations, Organization Studies, British Journal of Management, Human Resource Management Journal, International Journal of Human Resource Management, and Group & Organization Management. He has collaborated with academic researchers residing mainly in the UK, Australia and the UAE, and worked on research projects funded by the European Commission, Leverhulme Trust, Australian Research Council, European Social Fund, and the UAE Federal Demographic Council.

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Event Details

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
3rd Floor Meeting Room
South Shore Road
Gateshead, Tyne and Wear


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