Action Research

The term "Action Research" (or AR) covers a very broad church of change management tools and each tends to have its own particular and distinct emphasis.  Essentially all the methodologies within the AR family are, in the jargon, "participative" in that they share many if not all of the following features:

By the nature of my work in B2B management environments, I am less interested in the AR methodologies that have developed through a wide range of sociological approaches.  More relevant to my work is the the strand of Action Research thinking that has developed in an organsational context and has evolved directly from the work of Kurt Lewin.  I emphasise "double loop learning" in my methodology.

In the UK this innovative approach to management research was piloted by the Tavistock Institute in the by now classic study of the Glacier Metal Company between 1948 and 1951 and by work carried out among Durham coal miners.

Another point of reference for my consulting approach is the work of Chris Argyris who has published widely on organisational learning. 

Key Benefits

My experience is that AR opens up a whole new perspective on work and its place in life.  I continue to be surprised by the continuing process of self discovery that Action Research opens up for me personally.  It is a learning process in reflexive methodology that goes far beyond the confines of my work and which I feel is still far from over.

Here is an example of a reflexive text which I might write to myself as I confront theory with my day to day practice:

Reflections on Customer Satisfaction and Action Research (added 2nd February 2007) 

Useful References on Action Research

Alvesson, M. and Sköldberg, K., 2000, Reflexive methodology - new vistas for qualitative research, 1st ed. London, SAGE Publications Inc.

Argyris, C., 1999, On organisational learning, 2nd ed. Oxford, UK, Blackwell Business.

Greenwood, D. J. and Levin, M., 1998, An introduction to action research, London, SAGE Publication Ltd.

Lewin, K., 1946, Action research and minority problems, Journal of Social Issues, 2 (4), pp 34-46

Contact me: paul"at"paulsudnik"dot"com