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SAGE Publications
Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization / Edition 4

Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization / Edition 4

by David Coghlan, Teresa BrannickDavid Coghlan
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Concise and unintimidating, the fifth edition of this bestselling book is the only pragmatic, quick-start guide to the main theories, issues, and approaches to insider action research.

With an encouraging and approachable tone, David is the perfect mentor for anyone conducting action research in their own organization. Calming nerves at the same time as building confidence, he helps readers devise an appropriate research design that anticipates possible challenges and fits within the limits of their environments.

A complete do-it-yourself toolkit for every step of the action research process, this edition is outfitted with:

- Real-world student and professional case studies

- Author video tips

- Annotated templates

- Progress checklists

- Journal articles, weblinks, and other further reading.

To the point without losing clarity or thoroughness, this book is the hands-on manual for all the need-to-know facts about understanding and undertaking insider action research.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781446272572
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Publication date: 04/09/2014
Edition description: Fourth Edition
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

David Coghlan is Professor Emeritus and Fellow Emeritus at the Trinity Business School. University of Dublin, of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He specializes in organization development and action research and is active in both communities internationally. He has published over 160 articles and book chapters. His bestselling book, Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization (SAGE) has been through five editions, the most recent being published in April 2019. He is co-editor of the SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research (2014). Recent co-authored books include Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning (Edward Elgar, 2011) and Organizational Change and Strategy (2nd ed. Routledge, 2016). He is currently on the editorial boards of: Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Action Research, Action Learning: Research and Practice, Systemic Practice and Action Research, The OD Practitioner among others.

Teresa Brannick (1950-2012) was a lecturer in the business research programme at the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business at University College, Dublin, Ireland. Her undergraduate degree was in mathematics, her masters in sociology and her Ph.D. in marketing research. She had been a practising researcher for over thirty years and had published over thirty research papers in such diverse fields as epidemiology, public policy, industrial relations and marketing. She was the editor-in-chief of Irish Journal of Management and a Fellow of the Irish Academy of Management. She was co-editor of Business Research Methods: Theories, Techniques and Sources (Oak Tree Press: Dublin, 1997).

Table of Contents

About the Author ix

Preface x

Acknowledgements xv

Online Resources xvi

Part I Foundations 1

1 Introducing Action Research 3

Inquiring in your own organization 3

A brief introduction to action research 5

Three audiences, voices or practices 7

The action research cycles 8

Quality and rigour in action research 15

Ethics 16

Conclusions 17

Recommended reading 17

Exercise 1.1 Enacting the action research cycles 18

2 Researching Your Own Organization 19

The focus of the researcher and the system 20

Action research at home 26

Conclusions 27

Recommended reading 28

Exercise 2.1 Assessing your research focus 28

3 Knowing-in-Action 29

Inquiring in the present tense 29

The structure of human knowing 30

Valuing, deciding and taking action 35

A general empirical method 36

Authenticity 37

Action science and collaborative developmental action inquiry as first-person practice 39

Developing first-person skills through journaling 43

Second-person skills 44

Conclusions 47

Recommended reading 48

Exercise 3.1 First-person knowing-in-action 49

Exercise 3.2 Keeping a journal 50

Exercise 3.3 Developing inquiry skills 51

4 Understanding Action Research 53

Action research as practical knowing 54

The foundations of action research 58

The philosophies of action research 60

Interiority 61

Modalities of action research 64

Conclusions 72

Recommended reading 72

Exercise 4.1 Finding your philosophical roots 73

Exercise 4.2 Selecting a modality 73

Part II Issues and Challenges in Researching Your Own Organization 75

5 Preunderstanding, Role Duality and Access 77

Preunderstanding 77

Role duality: Organizational and researcher roles 81

Access 86

Conclusions 88

Recommended reading 88

Exercise 5.1 Assessing your preunderstanding: the learning window 89

Exercise 5.2 Assessing your group's preunderstanding: the learning window 89

6 Managing Ethics and Organizational Politics 91

Ethics 92

Politics 97

Integrating roles, politics and ethics 104

Conclusions 104

Recommended reading 105

Exercise 6.1 Assessing ethical challenges 105

Exercise 6.2 Assessing political issues 106

Exercise 6.3 Force field analysis 107

Part III Implementation 109

7 Constructing and Selecting Your Insider Action Research Project 111

Constructing your action research project 111

Selecting your research project 116

Writing an insider action research proposal 117

Developing the action research 119

Conclusions 120

Recommended reading 120

Exercise 7.1 Questions for constructing and selecting 120

Exercise 7.2 Writing a thesis proposal 121

8 Designing and Implementing Your Action Research Project 123

Structuring and directing 124

Designing and implementing change 124

The process of planned change 126

Planned change through action research 129

Learning mechanisms 132

Data generation as intervention 134

The role of technology 137

How do you know when to stop? 137

A note of caution 138

Conclusions 139

Recommended reading 140

Exercise 8.1 The process of implementation 140

Exercise 8.2 Reflection for praxis 141

9 Using Frameworks to Study Organizations in Action 143

Organizational assessment 144

Systems thinking and practice 145

Systems thinking and action research 146

Change and learning 147

Conclusions 150

Recommended reading 151

Exercise 9.1 Understanding your organization 151

Exercise 9.2 Using systems thinking 152

10 Interlevel Dynamics in Insider Action Research 153

Levels of analysis in action research 153

Interlevel dynamics 158

Interievel dynamics of change 159

Interlevel dynamics of strategy 161

Conclusions 163

Recommended reading 165

Exercise 10.1 Applying interlevel dynamics 165

Exercise 10.2 Interlevel change issues 166

11 Writing Up Your Insider Action Research Work 167

An action research thesis 167

Constructing and writing your thesis 169

Dissemination 177

Publishing 177

Conclusions 178

Recommended reading 179

12 In Conclusion 181

Glossary 189

References 195

Author Index 213

Subject Index 217

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