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1 Dec, 2022 - 4 min read

Introducing Dr Allanah Johnston – Programme Lead- Master of Change and Organisational Resilience

The Mind Lab is thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr Allanah Johnston as the Programme Lead for the Master of Change and Organisational Resilience that launches on 13th February 2023.

Allanah brings extensive experience from her global career through her role as a change practitioner and an academic.

Allanah’s new role at The Mind Lab comes after twenty years working and studying offshore. In 2003 Allanah left Aotearoa to become a lecturer and scholarship recipient at the University of Queensland where she also undertook her doctoral studies, completing her PhD in Business Administration and Management. Allanah’s studies explored humour in the work environment and its effect on workplace culture.

Before the University of Queensland beckoned her from New Zealand, Allanah spent her early years growing up in Otahuhu in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland before moving across the city to live in Laingholm in the west of the city. As a graduate of Green Bay High School, she took the opportunity to become a AFS exchange student as a gap year after completing high school to live in Brazil where she learnt Portuguese and developed her love of languages.

With an undergraduate degree in the arts focusing on humanities, and a Masters degree with 1st class honours in Business Administration and Management, Allanah left the University of Auckland with two highly sought after qualifications, setting her on track into the world of academia.

For the duration of her time working and studying in Queensland, Allanah focused on a broad range of topics including gender, emotional labour, feminist frameworks and identity. Her interest in workplace culture included three ethnographic studies exploring different types of workplaces.

From Queensland, Allanah was offered a scholarship at Lund University in Sweden where she joined a small team of academics focused on branding within organisations, including the branding of higher education organisations and the link of brand back to workplace culture.

Her journey from Sweden then took her to Cardiff University in Wales where she became a Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Government Industry Development Lead studying organisational ambidexterity and incremental versus radical innovation in the workplace. It was here she had a specific focus on the legal sector and included consulting to the legal profession on culture.

After nearly three years, Allanah moved to Newcastle in the United Kingdom to become the Programme Director for MSc International Business Management, where she oversaw both the Newcastle and London campuses. It was in this role that Allanah further honed her interest in organisational change and how it relates to change strategy. 

With a lifetime of experience working with graduate students and organisations facing change and disruption, Allanah has seen many common threads and motivations when it comes to having impact in an organisation. She supports the need for employees to feel a sense of belonging and the need to be valued and respected in all roles, regardless of type of role, tenure or experience. She sees the need for more organisations to respond proactively to change through adaptive and highly responsive forms of leadership that encourages more integrated and equitable systems, structures and processes.

Within the Aotearoa context she sees our need to better understand and embrace Māori culture and  the core foundation of the Treaty of Waitangi, as part of a more bi-cultural commitment to leadership that embraces the knowledge of the past to inform the practices of the future.

Allanah’s appointment at The Mind Lab supports her belief that education needs to better respond to changing expectations and new contexts. She is looking forward to working with graduate students as they work through their organisation shifts and the impact of emerging or known challenges. 

Allanah’s greatest success in her new role leading the Master of Change and Organisational Resilience would be to assist graduate students who work in local or central government, to remove the complexities of decision making and avoidance of risk, to support these professionals to see how they can make a real difference through the important work that they do.

Allanah will join The Mind Lab early in the new year.

Selection of Dr Allanah Johnston’s publications

Frandsen, S., Gotsi, M., Johnston, A., Whittle, A., Frenkel, S., and Spicer, A. (2018). Faculty Responses to Business School Branding: A Discursive Approach. European Journal of Marketing. 52 (5/6). Pp. 1128-1153.  DOI:10.1108/EJM-11-2016-0628

Huzzard, T., and Johnston, A. (2017). ‘Being branded by the business school’. In Benner, M., Huzzard, T., and Kärreman , D. (Eds). The Corporatization of the Business School: Minerva Meets the Market. Pp. 128-145. Routledge, Oxon.

Johnston, A. (2013). Book Review: The Production and Consumption of Meaning at Work. Organization. 20(4). pp. 635-641.

Westwood, R., and Johnston, A (2013). Humour in Organisation: From Function to Resistance. Humor. 26 (2). Pp. 219-247. DOI10.1515/humor-2013-0024

Westwood, R. and Johnston, A. (2012). ‘Reclaiming authentic selves: Control, resistive humor and identity work in the office’. Organization 19(6), pp. 687-808.

Johnston, A., and Sandberg, J (2008). Controlling Service Work: An Ambiguous Accomplishment Between Employees, Management and Customers. Journal of Consumer Culture. 8 (3), pp. 389-417. [DOI: 10.1177/1469540508095306]

Johnston, A, Mumby, D and Westwood, R. (2007). ‘Representing the unrepresentable: Gender, humour and organization’. In Westwood, R and Rhodes, C (eds.), Humour, Work and Organization. Pp. 113-138. London: Routledge.  ISBN9780203390191