on Action Research

Devi Jankowicz (anima@devi.demon.co.uk)
Fri, 4 Jun 1999 00:39:46 +0000

In regard to our recent dialogue about involving respondents in the
interpretation of repertory grid information, could I draw colleagues'
attention to the latest issue of _Management Learning_?

It's a Special Issue devoted to the subject of Action Learning / Action
Research, edited by Joe Raelin. In my view a quick glance at just his
editorial would be thoughtprovoking for many colleagues in the PCP field,
regardless of their likely lack of involvement in the kinds of employee
and management development issues with which this journal deals.

Here's a whole discipline (Organisation Development: Human Resource
Development; the Learning Organisation; Organisational Learning etc.)
which for the last 25 years or so _has taken it for granted_ that the
individual's active participation in research done _about_ him/her, and
_on_ him/her, makes for valuable contributions to theory as well as
practice; a field which, in consequence, has developed rather
sophisticated ways of handling the implications for research, in
comparison with which our own recent discussions appear to be somewhat

A field in which people influenced by Kelly (Hunt; Reason; Rowan), as
well as people who have arrived at views and values similar to Kelly's
(Argyris; Heron; Allport; Revans; Cassell) have been active, with
enormous distinction, for years! Just one snippet: our own Don Bannister
contributed a paper to one of the seminal books in the field edited by
Reason and Rowan (see below).

Our own worries whether the respondent has a place in designing our
research (yes, even that!), interpreting the findings s/he has
contributed, and taking the lead in implementation, seem desperately
parochial in comparison.

If you want a convenient summary of the current state of play in Action
Learning; Action Research, and related approaches, please, drop the
Psychological Laboratory mentality for a few hours, sit back, and have a
look at the current issue of _Management Learning_!

Kind regards,


Bannister, D. "Personal construct theory and research method" in Reason
P., & Rowan J. (eds.) _Human Inquiry: a Sourcebook of New Paradigm
Research_ Chichester: Wiley 1981.