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Doers of the word: an enquiry into the nature of action in action learning

Rooke, JA, Altounyan, C, Young, A and Young, S 2007, 'Doers of the word: an enquiry into the nature of action in action learning' , Action Learning: Research and Practice, 4 (2) , pp. 119-135.

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    Abstract

    A recent trend in public policy in many countries is the requirement for 'joined up thinking' and 'joined up working', including partnership within and between agencies, and between agencies and their publics. This in turn has led to a growth of interest in action learning as a means to bring about the organizational and individual development required for implementing such policies. Action learning, with its emphasis on solving new problems, implementing solutions and learning-to-learn seems to fit the zeitgeist. However, the notion of 'action' in action learning has presented a real difficulty in administering action learning sets in this context. Commencing from a philosophical point of view that emphasises the identity of action and learning, rather than their separation, we report here on three such public sector action learning projects and identify three fundamental features of the action which took place in and around them. Thus: action can occur either inside or outside the set; while it is always an input to the learning process, it can also sometimes be regarded as an output of that process; and finally, the type of knowledge that can be acquired may be in Gilbert Ryle's terms either 'knowledge how' or 'knowledge that'. Five categories of action are identified: expressive action, concerned with feelings and relationships in the set; the enrichment of networks and local knowledge; changes in personal practice; collective action; and organisational change. While organisational change may be regarded as, in one sense, 'the big prize' of action learning, it should not blind us to more subtle processes of learning and change that occur.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Public policy; Learning sets; Knowing how; Expressive action; Local knowledge; Networks; personal practice; Collective action; Organisational change
    Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD0028 - 0070 Management. Industrial Management
    Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD0028 - 0070 Management. Industrial Management > ND66 Work groups. Team work in industry
    Subjects outside of the University Themes
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment > Salford Centre for Research & Innovation (SCRI)
    Journal or Publication Title: Action Learning: Research and Practice
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Refereed: Yes
    ISSN: 1476-7333
    Depositing User: Users 29196 not found.
    Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 15:15
    Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:01
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/2578

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