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Business Information Systems

Action Research Cycles: Storytelling, Organisational Learning and Impacting

Professor Trevor Wood Harper, Manchester Business School

8th Apr 2010  03:00 pm - 04:30 pm Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Overall this talk addresses the cyclic nature of Action Research (AR). Initially it begins with an overview, in a form of a story, of an approach for Information Systems Development called Multiview which was defined and evolved using AR. One of the main lessons from this work is that Multiple Perspective Thinking emerges from the learning cycles. Next, a collaborative Action Research (AR) study, called the ALTAR (Achieving Learning Through Action Research) Project that was conducted jointly between Staffordshire University and Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd. is discussed. This project included a number of AR cycles involving participants working at different management levels at Britvic. This company was already in the process of adopting Knowledge Management (KM) software but it was recognised it could better exploit KM technologies by undertaking an AR project. The project involved developing academic theory into practical concepts that influenced actions within the organisation and fed back into the academic research. The ALTAR approach and findings are briefly discussed and conclusions are drawn about the study and its implications for AR & KM and the future study of organisational learning. Finally, the findings of the Britvic and Multiview work are summarised. Their practical use to both managers in a variety of organisations and also in informing academic research into relevant disciplines using the AR process are outlined. A possible strategy is discussed for impact on Business Schools' research.