About Paul Donovan

Paul Donovan is Principal Investigator at the School of Business, Maynooth University. He was previously Registrar and Head of Management Development at Irish Management Institute (IMI) specialising in Management Development. Before joining IMI he worked as a general operations manager with the Bord na Mona, the Irish Peat Development Authority. He was also Training and Development Manager of the Bord na Mona group. Paul has delivered executive development programmes in over 15 countries. He has written several peer reviewed articles, over 10 books in training and general management. He has contributed a column to HRD magazine for over 14 years. His research interest is the transfer of training. Paul holds a doctorate from Leicester University.

Sabbatical Post – Time to Harvest the Oranges

The fruit growers say that the last oranges should be picked now and not left to hang any longer on the trees. Opinions differ about this but most experts say that if you leave the fruit too long on the tree then the harvest next year will be poorer. For me I hate the thoughts of picking fruit that I'm not going to eat this minute. The sight of fruit slowly going off in a bowl in the kitchen seems like a frightful waste to me. In addition, I'm one of those people who can't think of a more natural place to store oranges than on the branches of the tree. I met the President of Cyprus the other day briefly and he somehow reminded me of those fruit growers who have to decide to cut fruit or to get out of the orchard. All of Cyprus (island wide) is under a lot of pressure from the UN, EU and the Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – She brought a gift to the woman who took her house. Could you do that?

All grandmothers in Cyprus are called Yahyah, with the emphasis on the second syllable. It's the Greek word for grandmother and is the affectionate terms used by hundreds of thousands of them to describe a key figure in each Cypriot person's life. Yahyahs in Cyprus play a much greater role in the life of their grandchildren than grandmothers do in Western Europe. In many instances they are the principal carers with their loving duties extending way past the working hours of the parents of the children. As such they are key people and role models for their grandchildren to follow. Andreas' (my friend) grandmother was what was known as a displaced person in Cyprus. This means that in the invasion of 1974, she lost her home in the north of the island where she had lived all of her life and raised Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – Cypriots Use Two Versions of Their Language Daily

In Ireland we've never been polyglots. Many have tried to make us different. Over the last 1000 years many different voices, accents, dialects, and languages were heard across Ireland's towns and country. Our Viking visitors brought their Scandinavian tongues but failed to leave a lasting mark outside of port areas and when they were vanquished in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, their impact and their language declined. During the following centuries, Norman French and various versions of English competed with Irish as various invaders sought to dominate the Gael. We are deeply pragmatic about language. English suits us for the advantages that it gives us globally. Yet we stubbornly cling on to Gaelic, however limitedly, as the mark that makes us different. Cypriots speak Greek. More correctly Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – Separate Development

Scientists can now demonstrate that everyone on the planet has descended from one woman. She has been humorously called Mitrochondrial Eve. it's ironic just as the march  of science shows how related we humans are, we discover more and more how difficult it is to live together. No place exemplifies that issue more than the island of Cyprus. 2014 will be a year of anniversaries in Cyprus. Forty years will have passed since Turkish troops occupied over a third of the island, effecting a huge ethnic divide. In 2004 Cyprus, as a whole island, joined the EU although the Turkish occupied zone cannot enjoy the benefits of such membership. The final anniversary also refers to 2004 when the Annan plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriots (GC), while being accepted by the Turkish Cypriot (TC) side. At Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – Talks of Settlement of the Cyprus Problem – Smoke or Fire?

Cyprus media have been headlining the frequent top level contacts between political leaders of the two entities on the island suggesting that an agreement on this divisive conflict may be found. We have seen many false dawns here before. The referendum in 2004 on the Annan Plan was supposed to lead to a solution. However, it was rejected by Greek Cypriots (GC) but accepted by Turkish Cypriots (TC). Although the GC side were demonised in international opinion for this rejection, these responses were simplistic. The Annan Plan, in its final stages of creation, became authored by the UN Secretariat alone, and thus lacked the authentic voice of the Cypriot people both north and south. As a result, it was anathema to the vast majority of Cypriots, mostly GC. Despite the bad press, the inexorable Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – They Took His House and Now They Live in It

Vasillis was a teenager when the Turkish invasion of Cyprus took place in 1974. Like thousands of others, he ran from his home in the north of the island and pushed south to escape hostilities. By the time the UN had established a buffer zone between the combatants, Vassilis had become a displaced person like many others of his countrymen and the island had become Balkanised with Turkish Cypriots in the northern part and Greek Cypriots in the south. Vasillis, has had to live and work since then in a part of the island that is not his true home, his true home until recently being inaccessible to him. In recent years it has been possible for Vassilis to go back over to the village of his birth. There is no comfort there, however. Someone else is living in his house, the house where he was raised. Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – Separated by War, Reunited After 40 Years.

Antonis and Erdil have been friends for over 60 years. As two ordinary Cypriot boys they met when the island was under British rule. Antonis is a Maronite Christian and Erdil, a Turkish Cypriot Muslim. Despite their different backgrounds they became firm friends, both attending the English School in Nicosia where they sat together at the same desk, playing typical schoolboy jokes and enjoying each others' company. Two boys growing up into adulthood respecting each others' traditions and upbringing.. But fate was about to play a  hand in the relationship. Inter-communal strife and conflict erupted with the arrival of independence and the departure of the British. In 1974 their island home of Cyprus became divided as Turkish troops invaded, responding to a coup d'etat against the Makarios Government. Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – Humbled By Their Sense of Identity And Connection

Sunday we had a unique experience that moved and changed us. We were invited to celebrate the feast of St George of the Sowing with the Maronites of Cyprus. Maronites have been in Cyprus for about one and a half millenia. When Irish monks were beginning the task of spreading Christianity across Europe from the West, the Maronites were busy settling on this beautiful island. The Irish went home from Europe eventually but the Maronites are still in Cyprus, practising their faith, traditions and customs. The celebration, which we were invited to, took place in the north eastern part of the island in the occupied zone. It honours St George who will help farmers create better crops and bounty as the sowing season begins. Maronites stoically bear the burden of being displaced in their own country Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – The Learning Needs Assessment Desert

About a month ago in this blog I brought the academic and practitioner communities to task for the schism that exists between practice and academia in many areas of human resources. The idea being put forward was that in many important aspects of HR, practitioners and academia were of little use to each other in their respective pursuits. At the time I cited the ADDIE model which is quite pervasive in multinational organisations as a method of designing and delivering training whereas in academic publishing is it absent. I also mentioned the ubiquitous (in practice) Kirkpatrick Model which is slated by academics who no longer engage with outcomes evaluation methods and concepts. I want to return to the subject through discussing how both communities address learning needs assessment (LNA). Continue reading here [...]

Sabbatical Post – Ireland should take nothing for granted

As in many post colonial situations, civil strife ensued when Cyprus gained its independence from Britain over 50 years ago. Just recently, the southern part of the island (the Greek side and part of EU) celebrated independence. The celebrations were a dignified affair and I was struck by the low key nature of it all - considering the 'hoo haw' Ireland made of its 50th anniversary of the Rising. In 1966 Ireland renamed every side street and bus stop after a rebel hero. Here in Cyprus they are still a little wistful about the legacy of independence. Despite many attempts at reconciliation the two parts of this divided island seem no closer to unity than they were when in 1974 Turkey invaded in response to an attempted coup d'etat against the government of the island. As result huge population Continue reading here [...]