Rob Paton The Open University
Rob was born in Africa, schooled in Edinburgh, and a student at Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He has taught at the Open University for more than 25 years where he helped pioneer the use of Supported Open Learning for management development and has led several major curriculum development and design exercises. He was instrumental in setting up the Centre for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise, where he is based.
Starting with studies of worker co-operatives in the 1970s, he has had a long-standing interest in how value-based organisations can sustain their social commitments and still ensure effective, enterprising forms of management and organisation. His research on performance measurement and improvement methods in public and non-profit contexts led to the popular Managing and Measuring Social Enterprise (Sage, 2003). Currently, he is working with nine chief executives in a study (funded by Zurich Financial Services Charitable Trust and NCVO's Leadership Centre) of the 'inner world' of leaders in public and non-profit settings.
For many years he has also pursued an interest in management learning, publishing articles, leading research projects, and working with the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Business, Management and Accountancy to encourage new approaches to teaching and learning. Recent publications include a co-edited volume on Corporate Universities.
He has consulted to, and taught in, a range of public and non-profit organisations, and chaired the Trustees of the Scott Bader Commonwealth (a small multi-national chemical company of Quaker origins that has an international reputation for employee involvement and corporate social responsibility). He has served as Secretary of the Association of Researchers on Non-profit Organization and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the leading international body in this field, and is a member of the Advisory Council for the University Network for Social Entrepreneurship.