Penelope Plowman



If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


External Research Associate: Penelope J. Plowman.

Penny is an External Research Associate and Independent Consultant.

Penny 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.


Teaching : Seminars

March 2023:

Gender Mainstreaming Seminar, Gender Diversity and Social Development Module, School of International Development 

- Seminar explores what gender mainstreaming means for organisations. What is gender mainstreaming? How do organisations promote gender mainstreaming? What are the implications/challenges for the " hybrid workplace" ? What are the lessons from Covid? 

What does theory and practice tell us about gender and intersectionality? 

Teaching: Short courses on gender and organisational change

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

Introductory one day workshop - 2021 - opportunity for students across International Development to be introduced to core modules of 5 day Gender and Organisational Change course. 

Online Gender and Organisational Change ( 5 days over a month) April-May 2020


2010 to 2019

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

Penny's five-day course introduces students to the theory and practice of gender and organisational change.  The course draws on Penny’s practical experience of supporting NGOs for gender equality.  Examples of practical case studies: 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 methodology supports experiential learning, reflective and participatory practice. 

Other courses: 

“Gender and Climate Change” -  DEV Short Course on Climate Change and Development

“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), BA (Hons) in Social Administration University of Nottingham UK (1981) and PhD in International Development, University of East Anglia.

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 

Podcast exploring Qualitative Diary Study for international development research.  Insights from three case studies in three different research areas/ country contexts - South Africa/ India/ Syria.  Topics : gender and organisational culture/ marginalised students in HE in India and displaced Syrian academics.  Podcast faciliated and hosted by University of Warwick.


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

Areas of Expertise

Qualitative research methods and participatory methodology

Qualitative Research Diary Method

Gender and Organisational Change  -  organisational analysis/ gender equality participatory organisational self assessment ( linking theory and practice) 

Reflective practice  - writing / journalling/ dialogue 


Small group work 


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