Action and Case Research in
Management and Organizational
Contexts
The Varieties of Action Research
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To reinforce the learning we have already
done about Action Research (AR);
Elaboration of some of the different forms of
AR;
A chance to reflect on those you might use.
Basis of co-operative inquiry:
“Action research is only possible with, for and by
persons and communities, ideally involving all
stakeholders both in the questioning and sense
making that informs the research and in the
action which is its focus.”
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001: p.2). Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
Proposes a new expanded epistemology:
- Experiential knowing (face to face encounters etc.);
- Presentational knowing,(story, picture, sculpture);
- Propositional knowing,(concepts/ideas);
- Practical knowing (knowing in action in the world).
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001: p.10). Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
Proposes a new ontology:
 The participatory evolutionary reality:
represents an ontology based on cosmic
interconnectedness and co-evolution;
 Practical being and acting: represents the
combination of knowing and being in the
world.
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001: p.10). Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
A stress on democratic principles and
human flourishing.
Implications for a sustainable
relationship with the natural world.
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001:p.10). Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
Participative action research (PAR)
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Participative action research (PAR) has been developed
by intervening in situations of oppression.
It is the most political and radical version of action
research.
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001: p.10). Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
His views are characterised by:
 “value-neutrality and aloofness in investigation”;
 Recognised that science is socially constructed;
 Becoming highly anti-positivist, which he saw as
producing masses of redundant information for
social integration.
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001: p.10). Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
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Developed a praxis-inspired commitment to the underprivileged/oppressed;
He sought to “theorize and obtain knowledge enriched
through direct involvement, intervention and insertion in
processes of social action;
This led to full participation of those being “researched”.
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001: p.10). Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
A new research paradigm:
“In sum the alternative paradigm appears to
confirm previous PR work, especially in the South
of the world, by combining praxis and ethics,
academic knowledge and practical wisdom, the
rational and the existential, the regular and the
fractal.”
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001: p.10). Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
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Also known as “theory of action”;
Originating from the work of Chris Argyris
and Donald Schön;
Focuses on defensive routines;
Theories in use;
Single and double loop learning.
Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978). Organisational learning: a theory of action perspective.
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
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Definition of learning as the systematic
detection and correction of error;
Error is defined as the inability to achieve
desired ends.
Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978). Organisational learning: a theory of action perspective.
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
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Defensive routines
Based on “double binds”
These prevent learning
Therefore they prevent change
Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978).Organisational learning: a theory of action perspective.
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
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Theories in use and espoused theories;
Undiscussability;
Power based relations between managers and
workers
Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978). Organisational learning: a theory of action perspective.
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
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Single loop learning
Double loop learning
Organisational learning
Successful change
Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978). Organisational learning: a theory of action perspective.
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
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Based on the idea of appreciating the
“wonder” of organisations;
“Appreciating what is”.
Cooperider, D.L. and Srivastva, S., (1987: pp.129-169). Appreciative inquiry in organisational life.
In W.A. Passmore and R.W. Woodman (eds.), Research in organizational change and
Development, Vol. 1 Greenwich CT: JAI Press pp. 129-69.
Cooperrider and Srivastva originally formulated
the concept of appreciative inquiry in response to
the tendency for action research to fail to address
‘second order’, social organizational
transformation, (where organizational paradigms,
norms, ideologies or values are changed in
fundamental ways).
Cooperider, D.L. and Srivastva, S., (1987; pp. 129-169). Appreciative inquiry in organisational life.
In W.A. Passmore and R.W. Woodman (eds.), Research in organizational change and
Development, Vol. 1 Greenwich CT: JAI Press.
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DISCOVERY - Appreciating ‘the best of what is’;
DREAM - Envisioning ‘what could be’;
DESIGN - Constructing ‘what could be’;
DESTINY - Sustaining ‘what will be’.
All based on an initial POSITIVE TOPIC CHOICE
Ludema, J.D., Cooperrider, D.L., and Barrett,F.J.(2001: pp.189-199). Appreciative Inquiry: the power of the
unconditional positive question. In P. Reason and H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of Action Research:
Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978). Organisational learning: a theory of action perspective.
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1996). Organisational learning II: theory, method and practice.
Reading MA: Addison Wesley.
Burnes, B. (2004). Kurt Lewin and the planned approach to change: a reappraisal. Journal of
Management Studies, 41 (6), 977-1002.
Lewin, K., (1946). Action research and minority problems. Journal of Social Issues, 2, 34-46.
Ludema, J.D., Cooperrider, D.L., and Barrett, F.J.(2001: pp.189-199). Appreciative Inquiry: the
power of the unconditional positive question. In P. Reason and H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook
of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H., (Eds.), (2001). Handbook of Action Research: Participative
Inquiry and Practice, London: Sage.
Smith, M.K., (2004). Kurt Lewin: groups, experiential learning and action research.
Accessed January 2005 at http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-lewin.htm.
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Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice