Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Wellbeing on the Healthcare Frontline: A Safe Laboratory for Critical Action Learning

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-10, 16:54 authored by Elizabeth Cotton
This article explores the potential for using an emancipatory education model, based on the work of the Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire, to promote the wellbeing of frontline healthcare workers. It is argued that a three-stage PIP model (problem, information, planning), an emancipatory method used widely within trade union education programmes, can be understood as a methodology based on the principles of critical action learning (CAL) in that it adopts a critical perspective and examines power relations, explores emotional experience and is action oriented. Further, that because this model of learning is based on collective reflection it is a methodology which prioritises building relationality. This autoethnographic study offers three vignettes of wellbeing interventions carried out with healthcare workers using a PIP model. It proposes that addressing wellbeing in the current healthcare context, highlighted during the Coronavirus crisis, requires a critical and relational approach that supports healthcare workers to collectively address problems at work. As such, it is argued that the PIP model provides an alternative approach to wellbeing from the dominant and individualistic positive psychology model. This article contributes towards the utilisation of a CAL framework within the workplace and offers practical insights for management learning within the wellbeing field.


Published in

Academy of Management Learning and Education


Academy of Management


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Cotton, E. (2020) 'Wellbeing on the Healthcare Frontline: A Safe Laboratory for Critical Action Learning', Academy of Management Learning & Education.

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Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Management

Cardiff Met Authors

Elizabeth Cotton

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Welsh Centre for Business and Management Research

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en