Action Research

Click here to load reader

  • date post

  • Category


  • view

  • download


Embed Size (px)


acttion research

Transcript of Action Research

  • Nadler and Tushmans Congruence Model


    Action Research

  • Nadler and Tushmans Congruence Model

    Nadler developed this model for understanding organizational dynamics and change.

    This model depicts the organization as an input-throughput-output system.

    The three major input factors are:Environment that imposes constraints and opportunities about what the organization can do and can not do.Resources available to the organization eg people, knowledge and technology.History consisting of memories of past success, failures, important events and critical decisions that still influence behaviour today.

  • Nadler and Tushmans Congruence Model

    The outputs are:Performance at the total organizational level, unit or group level and individual level

    Elements of the organization per se are labeledStrategy what the organization is trying to accomplish and how it plans to do itWork the tasks people perform to create products and service markets.People that includes formal structures, processes and systems for performing the work.Formal organization that includes formal structures, processes and systems for performing the work.Informal organization that includes the organizations culture, informal rules and understandings.

  • Input






    IndividualInformalOrgWorkFormal OrgPeopleNadler and Tushmans Congruence ModelStrategy


    The intellectual roots of action research can be traced to Kurt Lewins research onsocial change social conflicts (Lewin 1948), and the Tavistock Institutes work on sociotechnical theory (Emery 1959).

    It was intended as a method to overcome the shortcomings of scientific research, such asrelevance and applicability of findings to practical problems.


    It sought to combine action and research under the assumption thata social situation can best be understood if a change is introduced into it and its effects observed.

    This definition characterizes action research in terms of the activities making up the process.


    Kurt Lewin introduced action research to the field of organizational development.

    Based upon systems theory, he stressed the interrelatedness of the components of an organization as integral to solving problems.

    Action research attempts to avoid habitual responses to organizational problems through a dialogue that balances advocacy and inquiry.


    This approach to organizational problem solving is well suited to variouswork groups and interdisciplinary teams.

    A reflective cycle of thought becomes introduced into group problem solving efforts, producing an iterative process of enhanced learning.


    As groups and teams become more prevalent in the structures of job and organizational design, action research enables collective learning to be experienced.

    Team members can promote dialogue in problem solving activities by using the ladder of inference to audit language and behavior patterns.


    The ladder of inference aids groups to distinguish betweenbeliefs and observable data.

    The mental path from observable data to interpretations then abstractions is often based upon misguided beliefs; this movement up the ladder of inference is typical.


    When working with others in groups, a conscience effort needs to be made to move back down the ladder of inference.

    Senge would suggest that improved communication through reflection explores becoming more aware of your own thinking and reasoning [reflection], making your thinking and reasoning more visible to others [advocacy] and inquiring into others thinking and reasoning [inquiry].


    The figure below presents a depiction of the process of action research adapted from Susman and Evered (1978).

    The key aspects of the model aredata gathering, analysis, action planning, action taking, evaluating results, and back to data gathering in the next cycle.

    The present approach paper draws theoretical underpinning from the aforesaid model.

  • The Cyclical Process of Action Research

    DATA GATHERINGIdentifying or defining a problemANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATIONAscription of meaning to the data.ACTION PLANNINGConsidered alternative courses of action forACTION TAKINGSelecting a course of actionEVALUATINGStudying the consequence of an actionPURPOSEIndividual & organization learningSolving problemsBringingchange

  • Data gathering

    From a preliminary understanding of the problem, one has to move towards an understanding ofthe causes, symptoms, and outcomes of the problem.

    Data, therefore, need to be gathered to understand the underlying structure of the problem.

    The action researcher starts off with the question of what information is to be sought.

  • Analysis

    The analysis phase involvesmaking sense of the data gathered and interpreting the meaning.

    A good understanding and accurate interpretation of the data can point the way towards the steps that must be taken to change and improve the organization.

  • Action Planning

    This is a critical phase of the action research process.

    Alternative plans of action need to be generated and their potential impact assessed.

    Once a course of action has been decided upon, the actual steps need to be charted out.

  • Action taking

    The action taking or intervention stage is the actual response to the problem.

    In this stage, the critical role of the action researcher isanticipating unforeseen consequences of the action taken and planning for them.

  • Evaluation

    This phase consists of reassessment of the problem.

    The current state of the problem is examined and the impact of the action is evaluated.

    Mid- course corrections, if necessary, are initiated.

  • The process of action research, as seen in the figure, leads to

    individual and organizational learning,

    solving of problems, and

    change in the client system.

  • Action research is seen to be a process in two senses of the term: it is a sequence of activities within each cycle (from diagnosis to specification of learning) and a cycle of iterations which may treat the same problems in multiple sequences of cycles and move through different problems through the cycles (French and Bell 1978).

    Therefore, in the second stage the task force may have to contend with the original problem as well as the new one.

  • Role of the Consultant/Change Agent in AR

    The role is to help the manager plan his actions and design his fact-finding procedures in such a way thats/he can learn from them, to serve such ends as becoming a more skillful manager,setting more realistic objectives, discovering better ways of organizing.

    In this sense, the staff concerned with follow-up research consultants. Their task is to help mangers formulate management problems as experiments.