Penelope Plowman



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Personal profile


External Research Associate: Penelope J. Plowman.

Penny is an External Research Associate and Independent Consultant.  She holds a PhD from the School of International Development University of East Anglia (2006).  Her doctoral research examined gender, change and organisation in the context of a South African NGO.  She conducted an organisational ethnography and used participatory methodology to examine organisational culture from multiple perspectives. Insights from her doctoral research inform her practice as an educator and organisational development practitioner.


Penny’s interest in organisations, reflective practice and participatory qualitative research is rooted in her experience of living and working in South Africa and working internationally.  She is a strong advocate of writing and dialogue for personal and organisation-wide change and teaches and supports the use of free writing, personal learning journal and the qualitative diary study.


Penny contributes to the School and the Professional Training and Consultancy work of International Development UEA as a teacher, trainer, mentor and supervisor.



"Gender and Organisational Change: Practical Techniques and Approaches for Gender Specialists"  - short couse for International Development Students ( Professoinal skills training ).


New online courseApril-May 2020 -  Penny ran her annual Gender and Organisational Change Course online for the first time due to Covid-19.  In the process of putting her course online she designed a new course. Instead of the course being run on 5 consecutive days, the new course ran over a month and was framed by 4 new modules.   If you would like to read about the new course and how it went Penny wrote a blog about her expereince - here is the link -


2010 to 2019

“Gender and Organisational Change: Practical Techniques and Approaches for Gender Specialists”

Penny runs this five-day course to help students develop the practical training skills and insight to implement a gender equality framework in a development organisation. The course content draws on case studies from Penny’s practical experience.  For example, Plan International, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), ITAD Monitoring and Evaluation for International Development, and DFID South Africa and India. Penny’s teaching approach supports experiential learning and reflective practice and is always participatory.


Other teaching includes “Gender and Climate Change” -  DEV Short Course on Climate Change and Development and “Lessons from Practice”  -  Social Analysis in International Development Module (SAID).


Penny holds a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work and Certificate in Applied Social Studies, Department of Social Work, University of Bristol UK (1988) and a BA (Hons) in Social Administration University of Nottingham UK (1981).


Doctoral thesis

Plowman, P. J. (2006) Gender, change and organisation: A South African Case Study.


Selected Journal Articles reflecting Penny’s research, teaching and practice

Penelope J. Plowman (2016) "Participatory methodologies for intersectional research in organisations", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 5 Issue: 1, pp.28 – 43


Plowman, P. (2010) The diary project: Revealing the gendered organisation. Qualitative Research in Organisations and Management: An international journal Vol 5 Issue 1 Pages 28-46. Highly Commended 2011 Award from Emerald Literati-Network.


Plowman, P. (2003) Organisational Change from two perspectives: gender and organisational development. Development Methods and Approaches, Critical Reflections, A Development in Practice Reader pp 104 – 123. 


Training Workshops

Penny runs bespoke training workshops in the following areas:


Qualitative Diary Study 

The training introduces researchers to the theory and practice of the Qualitative Diary Study Method. 

Penny first used this method in her doctoral research  - an ethnographic organisational case study - and has since run training workshops for researchers and others interested in using this method. The method is applicable across disciplines. The method uses writing and dialogue for research. 



2) Personal Learning Journal

3) Free writing 



Penny's coaching is in the context of work/ professional development /study.  Penny draws on her skills in reflective practice which she finds invaluable in her coaching work. The number of sessions and timing responds to the client's requirements.  



Mentoring for individuals / teams on gender and organistaional change

Drawing on Penny's extensive experience in international development, she offers bespoke support to individuals and teams addressing gender in organisations.  


Please get in touch via my email for all enquiries :







PennyP's Blogs and Consultancy Services visit:


PennyP's other websites

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action