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Doctorates by Action Research for Senior Practising Managers



Traditionally, PhD programmes in management have been viewed as an entrance into academia rather than a qualification for senior managers in industry. This paper argues that it is appropriate to make a distinction between a traditional PhD and a professional doctorate in management, and that a professional doctorate can be designed specifically for the development of senior management practices. We first examine the history of doctorate degrees and establish differences between a PhD and a professional doctorate programme. Next, we examine five defences of a traditional PhD programme which are inappropriate foundations for a professional doctorate in management. Then we suggest an action research basis for a professional doctorate, but conclude that this basis is still so alien to those who accredit doctorates that more research and development is needed to convince all stakeholders that a professional doctorate by action research leads to professional and career development of senior practising managers as well as to the advancement of knowledge. Finally, we offer a framework for combining action research projects into traditional PhD theses.
Action research within organisations and university
thesis writing
Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt and Chad Perry
The authors
Chad Perry is Professor in the Graduate College of Management, University of
Southern Cross (Australia).
Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt is Director of OZI (Ortrun Zuber International P/L), Adjunct
Professor at Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia), and Professor of Professional and
Organisational Development in the UK-based International Management Centres
Association (IMCA).
Thesis action research, core action research, thesis writing, types of action research,
professional development, organisational learning
This paper argues that action research is more appropriate for improving practice, and
professional and organisational learning than traditional research. Our particular aim is
to help postgraduates in the social and human sciences to understand and clarify in their
minds the difference between core action research and thesis action research; that is,
between collaborative, participatory action research in the field (aimed at practical
improvement in a learning organisation) and independent action research in preparing
the thesis (aimed at making an original contribution to knowledge). The distinction and
relationship between thesis research, core research and thesis writing are illustrated in a
Many students in the social and human sciences, especially part-time students in full-
time employment, choose to use action research. This is because they find it is more
relevant than other research approaches to both their work and their organisation. They
can collaboratively solve a real-life, significant problem in their workplace and so assist
in their organisation’s learning, and also use this fieldwork for their own thesis or
dissertation. However, most students find it difficult to distinguish between the
collaborative project work with their colleagues, and their thesis work which has to
constitute their individual, original contribution to knowledge in the field.
In this paper we demonstrate how action research may be applied to theses in the social
sciences. After distinguishing action research from traditional research and establishing
that the former is more appropriate than the latter for developing professional
competencies and organisational learning, we discuss issues in conducting action
research within a social sciences research program. These issues centre on the key
concept of distinguishing between a core action research project (that is, field work in
an organisation) and a thesis action research project. We argue that the core action
research project can be integrated into the research candidates’ full-time work and into
their thesis. We also point to distinctions between action research projects at Masters
and PhD levels.
Definitions and boundaries
This paper deliberately focuses on students who are required to produce research theses
in Masters and PhD degree programs within social and human sciences departments,
including graduate schools of management, of accredited universities. This research is
what we refer to as ‘social sciences action research’. We do not claim the general
applicability of this research to other fields, nor do we include in this research category
the minor research projects and assignments carried out in undergraduate and Masters-
by-coursework degree programs. By limiting our discussion to research Masters and
PhD research degrees we narrow our focus to theses that must demonstrate a mastery of
research processes and procedures, and also make a distinct original contribution to
knowledge. Since the non-thesis research report format does not need to meet these
requirements, we exclude it from the term ‘social sciences action research’.
To date there is no agreed single definition of, or clear distinction between, the
complex concepts of organisational learning and the Learning Organisation (LO), as the
recent literature reviews by Grieves (2000), Örtenblad (2001)and Stewart (2001) have
shown. In this paper, we simply define organisational learning as a process of
collaborative action learning and action research in an organisation with the aims of
solving complex problems and achieving change and improved performance at the
individual, team and organisational levels. And we define the Learning Organisation as
an ideal form of organisation that is defined by Senge's (1990) five disciplines: personal
mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning and systems thinking. Systems
thinking means that all members of the organisation understand the whole, rather than
only the fractional parts of the organisation’s structure, processes and culture; it also
means that collaboration and team learning are essential and more effective, because of
the resulting synergy that is “the value that comes when the whole adds up to more than
the sum of its parts”. (Kanter 1990: 58)
Purpose and structure
This paper has four purposes:
to establish the relevance of action research to human and organisational
to outline characteristics of an action research program in the social sciences;
to identify the key managerial attributes and competencies required by industry;
to distinguish between the collaborative project work in the workplace and the
individual thesis work that must be the candidate’s own contribution to the field.
Hence, the paper is structured into four sections around these four purposes. First, we
discuss the relevance of graduate research to professional and organisational learning.
Second, we define action research and compare it to traditional research. Third, we
review the attributes and competencies required in professional and organisational
practice and establish the relevance of action research to those competencies. Finally,
we propose a model for writing an action research thesis in social sciences programs at
the Master’s and PhD levels.
The Relevance of Graduate Research to Professional and
Organisational Learning
How can graduate research be made more relevant to professional and organisational
learning? That it needs to be made more relevant has been evident for some years.
About thirty years ago Revans (1971) published his book on Developing Effective
Managers: A New Approach to Business Education which at the time was seen as a
‘radical new approach to the field of management education’ (cover of the book),
because he criticised business education for fostering an artificial distinction between
theory and practice, for becoming more and more distant from the realities of the
business world, and for proliferating irrelevant academic information. Instead he
advocated a system and structure of action research whereby manager-students spend
one year in business firms, conducting action research studies. Five examples of such
action research projects are included in the last chapter of his book..
More recently, there have been other criticisms of the relevance of much university
research. For example, Porter and McKibbin (1988: 174) pointed out in their study of
management education and development that much management and organisational
research is written for an academic audience only. Porter and McKibbin (1988: 170)
surveyed some 200 senior US executives who were among those most interested in, and
knowledgeable about, business schools and business school education. They found that
the executives held a scathing view of the direct effect of academic research on
management and organisational practice:
…as far as we could tell, many key managers and executives pay little or no
attention to such research or its findings. The direct impact appears nil. …not a
single (executive) who was interviewed cited the research of business schools as
either their most important strength or their major weakness. The business world
is, generally speaking (and omitting a few very specific exceptions such as certain
areas of corporate finance), ignoring the research coming from business schools.
The total perceived impact is, judged by what we learned in some 200 interviews
in the business sector, virtually nil. (emphasis added)
So much for the direct effect of social sciences research upon management and
organisational practice. Indeed, a great deal of social sciences research is not even
having an indirect effect on management and organisational practice through graduates
trained by the academics who do the research. These graduates often work as managers
or as consultants but do not use in their workplace the social sciences research they have
been taught at university. Porter and McKibbin (1988: 180) conclude:
…some of the knowledge of newly-hired managerial employees, especially recent
business school graduates, may have been directly affected by the research of
faculty members, but that link is not obvious to superior or senior colleagues.
Similarly, consultants hired by a company may themselves be quite up-to-date on
contemporary research findings, yet the bases of some of their approaches to
business problems are not identified as originating from research carried out in the
business schools.
An even more recent study came to somewhat similar conclusions. According to the
Karpin Report (1995), much of the traditional research in graduate schools of
management continues to be irrelevant to management practice. For example,
researchers in Karpin (1995: 224) surveyed managers to compare formal management
education with learning from work relationships and formal management training, for
ten management development purposes, including ‘makes me a better manager’, ‘keeps
me up-to-date’, and ‘builds my confidence’. The study found formal management
education was at the bottom for every purpose except one: ‘improves my promotion
prospects’. This is why leaders in industry and business have started to turn to
alternatives such as programs offered by private providers of management education
and development, or developing their own programs in ‘corporate universities’. (Realin,
In brief, the research usually done in universities that grant PhD and masters awards has
little relevance to the managers involved in organisational learning programs. How can
organizational-learning-relevant research be combined with what actually goes on
within an organisation? We provide one answer to that question next.
Action Research
Essentially, we argue that action research is one way of conducting research within a
learning organisation that can benefit both the organisation and the body of knowledge
about which a thesis is written. Before discussing action research, we need to clarify its
meaning. We refer to the working definition of action research in Altrichter et al.’s paper
in this journal issue and emphasise three key aspects of action research:
A group of people at work together
involved in the cycle of planning, acting, observing and reflecting on
their work more deliberately and systematically than usual; and
a public report of that experience (such as a thesis).
It is important to note that this definition of action research distinguishes action
research from action learning in that action research necessarily focuses on a
workgroup within an organisation or community, all of whom are involved in the cycle
of planning/acting/observing/reflecting, as shown in Figure 1 below. In contrast, action
learning emphasises individual learning. Admittedly, the set of associates or ‘comrades
in adversity’ (Revans, 1982) in action learning is a group, but each individual within
that group learns from separate experiences that do not necessarily involve other
associates, and the separate experiences may not even involve workgroups. Action
research involves action learning, but not vice versa, because action research is more
deliberate, systematic, critical, emancipatory and rigorous. Thus action research is more
relevant to the organisational learning concerns addressed in this paper.
Action Research Spiral 3
Revised plan
Figure 1: The spiral of action research cycles (reprinted from Zuber-Skerritt 2001: 15)
Traditional research can now be differentiated from action research. The two have
different paradigms. According to Bawden (1991:32):
We can talk of the systematic methods of experimental, positivist, reductionistic,
deterministic natural science. We can refer to the methods of post-positivist,
empirical, constructivist, interpretative social science. (emphasis added)
In traditional research, the researcher is separated from the system being researched by a
‘hard’ boundary. The system is reduced to one or only a few parts, with the rest of the
system assumed to be held constant. This research is appropriate in some circumstances,
especially in the natural sciences – for example, research into the effect of fertiliser on a
On the other hand, action research involves social systems of which the researcher is
unavoidably a part. These are soft systems without clearly defined boundaries between
the researcher and the system. The researcher actively participates with others in the
critical exploration of complex and dynamic issues, which relate to the relationships
between people and their physical and socio-cultural environments (Bawden 1991:40).
Because the research involves complex and dynamic problems, exploring the social
process of learning about situations is inextricably linked with the acts of changing
those situations. For example, one of our postgraduate degree candidates wondered if he
should use a survey to research how franchise planning is done; this would have been
traditional research with most parts of the system hopefully held constant. On the other
hand, he decided to use action research because he was able to be a member of a
management group within an organisation and could study how franchise planning was
done through the group’s use of a spiral of cycles of planning, implementing the plan,
observing and reflecting upon the results with regard to, and for the purpose of, the
organisation’s franchise plans. Thus traditional research is appropriate for clearly
defined hard systems, while action research is appropriate for the soft systems of
management and organisational learning.
In brief, traditional and action research both have roles to play in social science
research, and action research may use the results of traditional research. Nevertheless,
when social science research extends further into the practices of workgroups, the scope
for action research should increase.
Professional Competencies Within an Organisation
In the previous section, action research was described as enquiry by workgroups
involved in professional and organisational learning. This section establishes that action
research is more appropriate than traditional research for developing professional
competencies within an organisation.
What do professionals do? If they simply needed the ability to think clearly, then the
conceptual and analytical skills developed in conventional research programs could
conceivably be useful. For example, if only conceptual and analytical skills were
required of managers, then research in engineering or the liberal arts may be as useful to
managers as management research. However, management within an organisation
requires far more than conceptual and analytical skills, as several studies have shown.
For example, in the mid-1990s, the Industry Task Force on Leadership and Management
Skills, funded by the Australian Government, conducted and commissioned major
studies published under the title Enterprising Nation: Renewing Australia’s Managers
to Meet the Challenges of the Asia-Pacific Century. These studies involved wide
consultations overseas and within Australia. Known as the Karpin Report (1995) and
referred to above, it was presented in all states and territories across Australia in 1995
and 1996. It was welcomed by industry and business, but heavily criticised by most
graduate schools of management in universities.
One of the main recommendations in the Karpin Report relates to the reform of
management education and is directly related to this paper’s aim. It recommended more
work-based education to be done in a way that is reminiscent of Revans’ (1971) action
research-based education noted above:
shorter programs (less time away from the organisation);
development programs more focussed on an individual company’s needs
development programs more closely linked to the workplace rather than
the classroom (experiential);
a project based approach to learning.
These types of programs emphasise the soft skills that are required of managers in a
learning organisation (Smith (1999). However, these soft skills are not easy to master
(Karpin Report 1995:25):
In a capabilities-based organisation, a senior manager will require an additional
range of soft’ skills involved in motivating staff, creating co-operation,
redefining organisational values and beliefs, and re-aligning management focus.
These skills will place a premium on the leadership qualities of a senior manager.
It is these soft skills that action research fosters in its collaborative, democratic
processes that aim at improving work practice. Clearly, action research programs can
put into practice all four of the above mentioned Karpin Report recommendations. They
can also enhance the attributes of the ‘ideal’ manager identified in the Report: vision,
strategic thinking and planning, teamwork, flexibility, people skills, commitment to
‘learning to learn’ and self-management.
In brief, traditional research has limited relevance and utility for professional and
organisational learning. On the other hand, action research not only investigates and
improves professional practice, it also develops the management competencies of the
researchers involved by developing additional, workgroup-specific skills that enhance
organisational learning.
An Approach to Action Research in Social Sciences Theses
Because action research develops more human, social and professional competencies
than traditional research, we address the question of how action research can be
incorporated into a social sciences research program to the candidate’s advantage. That
is, an action research project may enhance learning within an organisation, but how can
it also make a contribution to a body of knowledge that interests a university? A student
faces two goals or ‘imperatives’ (McKay and Marshall (2001: 46). One goal is to solve a
practical problem within an organisation, and the second is to generate new knowledge
and understanding. How to address both these goals has been addressed rarely in the
literature (Perry and Zuber-Skerritt 1994; Carson et al. 2001) and there is ‘little direct
guidance on “how to do” it’ (McKay and Marshall (2001: 49). In the next section, we
do provide guidance about how to handle the two goals of action research, by reflecting
on our experiences of working with Masters and PhD candidates involved in action
research. The section is based on our earlier work (Perry and Zuber-Skerritt 1992,
Core and thesis action research projects
Our key concept in a social sciences action research program is the identification of two
distinct action research projects. The first of these is the core action research project
involving the candidate within a workgroup of practitioners in an organisation. The
report of this project will therefore be like most action research reports, that is, written
in the first person plural, in narrative form and making comparisons of the situation
before and after each cycle of plannig/acting/observing/reflecting (see Figure 1 above).
In addition to the core action research project, the thesis action research project
involves the candidate in a ‘workgroup’ of thesis candidates/action researchers. In
contrast to the core action research project, this thesis action research project concerns a
workgroup akin to an action learning ‘set of associates’ and is supported by workshops
with fellow candidates and their supervisors aiming at fulfilling the conventional
requirements of theses. As demonstrated in Zuber-Skerritt and Knight (1991),
workshops like these are supplementary to the single supervisor model and have proved
to be an effective method of doing graduate research. In these workshops the research
processes are treated as similar to, but distinct from, the processes of the core action
research project in the candidate’s field work.
In the thesis action research project, supervisors are simply members of the
workgroup who work as co-researchers on issues of theory and methodology. That is, as
Kemmis (1991) argues, supervisors should not only be advisors or facilitators, but
should consider themselves to be co-workers on the action research project. However,
our Masters and PhD candidates also recognise that they are primarily responsible for
the thesis itself, albeit working within the presentation and academic guidelines supplied
by the supervisor/university.
This distinction between two action research projects makes research planning by
candidates much easier. For instance, one candidate wished to investigate cultural
change. However, his core action research project involved the senior management
group of a large organisation for whom his concern with cultural change was a minor
issue compared to the organisation’s concern with strategic planning. This conflict was
only overcome when the existence of two distinct action research projects was
acknowledged; the core project’s ‘thematic concern’ (Kemmis and McTaggart 1988)
was strategic planning; and the thesis project’s ‘research problem’ (Zuber-Skerritt and
Knight 1991) was cultural change. That is, the core project’s thematic concern referred
to the situation and processes of management practice; in contrast, the thesis project’s
research problem addressed intellectual propositional knowledge about organisational
culture and learning.
The linkages and distinction between core and thesis action research projects are
summarised in Table 1 below. This relationship between core and thesis action research
can also be shown diagrammatically in the usual spiral of action research cycles. See
Figure 2 below. (Table 1 and Figure 2 below are adapted from Perry and Zuber-Skerritt
1992). As a rule of thumb, the duration of the core action research project should be no
more than one third of the candidature, with the rest of the time spent on the thesis
project. For example, a three year PhD program should aim to include cycles of
planning/acting/observing/reflecting on management practices for no more than one
Differences between Masters and PhD theses
In traditional research, one distinction between Masters and PhD theses is that the latter
should make a more distinct, original contribution to knowledge than the former. In
action research, there are two additional characteristics of the hierarchy in Masters and
PhD action research programs.
Table 1: Relationships between core and action research projects
Core action research project Thesis action research project
Plan and design of the thesis
Defining the research problem
Thesis design and rationale
Literature survey
Internet search
Justification and methodology
Action = field work
Identifying workgroup’s thematic concern
Planning/acting/ observing/reflecting on
professional and organisational
practices and learning
Report verified by participants
Observation in the thesis
Description of research process and
Analysis and evaluation of results of action
(content and process) in the light of the
literature review
Reflection in the thesis
Analysis of reflections by the practitioners
Reflections by the candidate
Conclusions from the research
Knowledge claims and limitations
Suggestions for further research
A Masters core action research project needs only progress through one major (or
several minor) planning/acting/observing/reflecting cycle of professional practice to
demonstrate mastery of the research methodology. In contrast, a PhD core action
research project would probably need to progress through at least two or three major
cycles to uncover a distinct contribution to knowledge. Although these two or three
cycles do not have to involve the same workgroup, the understanding gained by one
workgroup in the reflection phase of the first cycle should be transferred to the next
workgroup for their planning phase, that is, for the second cycle in the spiral. For
example, Zuber-Skerritt (1992: 17) transferred reflections from a group of academics
teaching undergraduate students to a group of supervisors of Masters students, and then
transferred their reflections to a group of teachers of Honours students.
A second difference between Masters and PhD research programs lies in
distinguishing between technical, practical and emancipatory action research. Table 2
below outlines these differences.
Core AR Project
from fieldwork
(1st draft)
planning the
evaluating, seeking
comments, revising, proof
of thesis
final draft
final draft(s)
reflect act
Figure 2: The relationship between thesis research, core action research and
thesis writing (reprinted from Perry and Zuber-Skerritt 1992: 204)
Carr and Kemmis (1986: 7) comment that only emancipatory action research is real
action research.
Indeed only emancipatory action research can unequivocally fulfill the minimal
requirements for action research having strategic action as its subject matter;
proceeding through the spiral of planning, acting, observing, and reflecting;
involving the participation and collaboration in all phases of the research activity.
In terms of our earlier working definition of action research, the system boundaries
of technical and practical action research are hard, and only emancipatory action
research exercises all the professional and organisational competencies identified above.
In other words, it can be more closely related to organisational learning. Thus we
maintain that usually a Masters thesis may constitute either practical or emancipatory
action research, but a PhD thesis should definitely be emancipatory action research.
Given this requirement, candidates enrolled in an action research PhD must be in
full-time employment and part-time students, because they will be involved during
work time in the core action research project. In other words, a full-time student without
a job could not easily be an action research candidate. In turn, one could argue that in
the last phase of candidature (that is, thesis writing) candidates may take leave from
their job and engage in full-time research and writing.
Table 2: Types of action research and their main characteristics (after
Carr and Kemmis 1986)
Type of action
Aims Facilitator’s role Relationship
between facilitator
and participants
1. Technical effectiveness/
efficiency of
outside ‘expert’ co-option (of
practitioners who
depend on facilitator)
2. Practical as (1) above
transformation of
Socratic role,
participation and self-
3. Emancipatory as (2) above
emancipation from
the dictates of
tradition, self-
deception, coercion
their critique of
transformation of
the organisation
and of its system
process moderator
(responsibility shared
equally by
However, this interpretation would not be accepted by all authorities. For example,
one might argue against the view that all members of the workgroup should be persons
within the organisation system. As long as the external action researcher and the internal
clients share and complement each other’s experiences, skills and competencies to
achieve problem solving, knowledge expansion and learning, and the success of the
project are sufficiently desirable to all parties involved, then an action researcher can be
a part time/external member of the workgroup. These requirements for emancipatory
action research would include process consultancies of practical and emancipatory
research, despite the differences in hardness and softness of the system boundaries
This paper has addressed some of the core problems of integrating action research into
social sciences research programs. We have argued that action research is an appropriate
and effective method for conducting research that is relevant to professional practice
and organisational learning, and for developing the candidate’s managerial ‘soft’ skills,
competencies and other attributes required by managers and leaders within learning
organisations in the 21st century. We have explained the meaning of action research and
argued why this research approach is more appropriate than traditional research for
developing managerial and organisational learning. Finally, we have distinguished
between core and thesis action research, and suggested a qualitative difference between
Masters and PhD candidatures in terms of both the type of action research (practical and
emancipatory), and the scope (number of cycles) of action research required for each
category of candidature.
It has demanded much of us and our candidates to integrate action research into
social sciences research programs. The appropriate literature appears to ignore the
complexity of presenting action research in the format required for a Masters or PhD
thesis. Therefore this paper may provide a foundation for candidates trying to integrate
theory and practice, research and development. We have been spurred on by the
irrelevance of traditional research and the usefulness of action research to practical
improvement, understanding and knowledge creation in the field of professional and
organisation learning.
There are still some very significant issues confronting us. For example, the
conflict between emancipatory action research and the bureaucracy of a business
organisation may be greater than that faced in emancipatory action research within a
classroom or among teachers. Indeed, we recommend that it is essential for action
researchers to gain moral and written support from the organisation’s chief executive to
conduct an action research project on its premises, even though the chief executive
might not be a member of the workgroup. Moreover, because the ‘political’ forces of a
business bureaucracy probably outweigh the ‘professional’ culture of teaching within a
classroom, dealing with emotive aspects of group work may lead to more than the usual
bias by participants concerned with making their points. And extracting suitable
theoretical propositions and models for the thesis project from the experience of the
core action research project may be more difficult than expected. Nevertheless, because
action research is now instrumental in social sciences theses and is recognised
accordingly, we have a strong imperative to continue addressing these issues that
confront us and to vigilantly practice what we preach.
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Supervision and Training. TEDI, University of Queensland, Brisbane, pp. 189-210.
... Ou seja, estes pesquisadores/gestores possuem características ambidestras, no sentido de, ao se depararem com problemas institucionais de ordem prática, lançarem mão dos conhecimentos científicos e das informações disponíveis no estado da arte do referido assunto e para fazer a aplicação prática no problema, juntamente com os demais membros das equipes envolvidas. Com isto, além de terem a preocupação na solução prática dos problemas, já fazem também uma abordagem de pesquisa, favorecendo a coleta sistemática de dados, suas mensurações e análises, para que as conclusões alcançadas venham a contribuir com o avanço do conhecimento científico (COUGHLAN; COGHLAN, 2002;PERRY;ZUBER-SKERRITT, 1994).Assim, verificou-se que a abordagem da pesquisa ação seria a mais interessante por suas características duais, que colaboram sua adoção prática e científica, favorecendo tanto as organizações quanto a academia científica. As atividades realizadas, bem como os resultados encontrados com esta abordagem serão alvo de discussão nos itens a seguir. ...
... Ou seja, estes pesquisadores/gestores possuem características ambidestras, no sentido de, ao se depararem com problemas institucionais de ordem prática, lançarem mão dos conhecimentos científicos e das informações disponíveis no estado da arte do referido assunto e para fazer a aplicação prática no problema, juntamente com os demais membros das equipes envolvidas. Com isto, além de terem a preocupação na solução prática dos problemas, já fazem também uma abordagem de pesquisa, favorecendo a coleta sistemática de dados, suas mensurações e análises, para que as conclusões alcançadas venham a contribuir com o avanço do conhecimento científico (COUGHLAN; COGHLAN, 2002;PERRY;ZUBER-SKERRITT, 1994).Assim, verificou-se que a abordagem da pesquisa ação seria a mais interessante por suas características duais, que colaboram sua adoção prática e científica, favorecendo tanto as organizações quanto a academia científica. As atividades realizadas, bem como os resultados encontrados com esta abordagem serão alvo de discussão nos itens a seguir. ...
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PORTFOLIO PROJECT MANAGEMENT (PPM) IN RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION (RD&I) FOCUSED ON SHARES OF NA INSTITUTION OF SCIENCE AND TECHHNOLOGY (IST) Abstract Regarding the objective of this study was to scope the development of an indicator of economic and financial order to delimit the extent of investment that corporations have in your corporate structure through a set of economic and financial indexes related to liquidity, profitability, indebtedness and profitability, arising out of economic and financial statements of the corporations studied. This study characterized in the context of typology applied, objective descriptive design literature, the extent of the problem, is characterized as quantitative, comprising a population of 70 Brazilian corporations recognized by the international certification, Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch Ratings, which held the degree of corporate investment in 2008. The findings were based on the results presented by the evolution of the statistical treatment, which were consistent for the model developed. The reliability of the model of investment grade corporate coming of factor analysis was testified by the Cronbach's alpha coefficient, which showed values of 0.768, indicating satisfactory consistency to the study. Keywords: investment grade. Indicator. corporations
... Ou seja, estes pesquisadores/gestores possuem características ambidestras, no sentido de, ao se depararem com problemas institucionais de ordem prática, lançarem mão dos conhecimentos científicos e das informações disponíveis no estado da arte do referido assunto e para fazer a aplicação prática no problema, juntamente com os demais membros das equipes envolvidas. Com isto, além de terem a preocupação na solução prática dos problemas, já fazem também uma abordagem de pesquisa, favorecendo a coleta sistemática de dados, suas mensurações e análises, para que as conclusões alcançadas venham a contribuir com o avanço do conhecimento científico (COUGHLAN; COGHLAN, 2002;PERRY;ZUBER-SKERRITT, 1994).Assim, verificou-se que a abordagem da pesquisa ação seria a mais interessante por suas características duais, que colaboram sua adoção prática e científica, favorecendo tanto as organizações quanto a academia científica. As atividades realizadas, bem como os resultados encontrados com esta abordagem serão alvo de discussão nos itens a seguir. ...
... Ou seja, estes pesquisadores/gestores possuem características ambidestras, no sentido de, ao se depararem com problemas institucionais de ordem prática, lançarem mão dos conhecimentos científicos e das informações disponíveis no estado da arte do referido assunto e para fazer a aplicação prática no problema, juntamente com os demais membros das equipes envolvidas. Com isto, além de terem a preocupação na solução prática dos problemas, já fazem também uma abordagem de pesquisa, favorecendo a coleta sistemática de dados, suas mensurações e análises, para que as conclusões alcançadas venham a contribuir com o avanço do conhecimento científico (COUGHLAN; COGHLAN, 2002;PERRY;ZUBER-SKERRITT, 1994).Assim, verificou-se que a abordagem da pesquisa ação seria a mais interessante por suas características duais, que colaboram sua adoção prática e científica, favorecendo tanto as organizações quanto a academia científica. As atividades realizadas, bem como os resultados encontrados com esta abordagem serão alvo de discussão nos itens a seguir. ...
... Whereas the traditional scientific paradigm reduces human phenomena to variables that can be used to predict future behaviour, the alternative paradigm, of which action research is a part, describes what happens holistically in naturallyoccurring settings (Perry and Zuber-Skerritt, 1994). Unlike traditional science, action research does not attempt to set tight limits and controls on the experimental situation. ...
We apply a neo-institutional theoretical lens to interpret the extent of any significant similarities or differences in doctoral programmes across business schools in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). Overall, we characterise the state of doctoral education in business as lacking adequate funding, primarily attracting students with limited professional or industrial experience but having diverse approaches to the role of formal training as part of the doctoral programme. Although we view these findings as somewhat inevitable given institutional and isomorphic pressures, they are of concern if ANZ business schools are to produce research that is both rigorous and relevant beyond the academy. Comparisons across institutional groupings and discipline areas largely suggest relatively common approaches to doctoral programme design and administration across and within institutions. JEL Classification: M00
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An organisation is a complex entity, being made of its employees, the management, and the overall structure. The German principle of co-determination adds another complex structure that influences the way how employees experience the whole entity. This principle includes the details how workers councils may influence the organisations’ decisions. Thinking more about employee binding and engagement as well as the overall satisfaction at the job created the question about how the co-determination system adds to the employees’ satisfaction and engagement level during work. In general, while observing the organisation, I encountered many different layers being present that might endanger the overall job-level satisfaction of employees. While observing those layers, it seemed obvious that, if a workers council is present, employees might relate to their presence and actions within an organisation. Based on the observations, my objective within the research was to examine whether workers councils may influence the employees’ engagement within their daily work. Furthermore, my goal was to examine how this engagement, as well as the overall satisfaction, can be positively altered through different initiatives and actions related to the council’s presence within the organisation. By using an action research approach, I started thinking about the way workers councils can influence the overall satisfaction of the workforce present within an organisation. This led me to the main questions if the satisfaction engagement of employees is linked to and influenced by actions as well as the presence of a workers council and how employees experience the availability of a council within the organisation. Having my organisation as the total target population, I started with a qualitative approach by conducting interviews with different employees from within the company. Within a learning set approach, by using the council members as learning set members, I introduced an agile working method, using principles and methodical approaches common in agile software development. Based on this approach, actions were defined with the set members and different first ones introduced within the organisation during a first sprint, while still holding further actions in the backlog. After a certain amount of time, those actions were reviewed in interviews again with the participants of the study and the results were discussed within the learning set. Together with the learning set, the different steps within action research cycles were introduced and followed. The learning set, while adding the agile framework, constructed different actions that should be introduced within the organisation. My first objective within the study was to examine if workers councils can directly take influence on the organisation’s culture, its environment as well as how employees experience both, the organisation in general as well as the council’s presence. Following the research, the satisfaction and engagement level of the employees is strongly tied to how the council acts within the organisation. The research did show, that introducing simple actions like regular newspapers, enhancing communications and using different channels to communicate and by introducing round table talks as well as regular employees’ meetings, especially in a more familiar way without inviting the CEO of the company, sharply increases the overall satisfaction of employees. Besides those positive outcomes and findings, the research did also reveal that the general benefit an organisation could draw from the actions is strongly tied to the overall organisational culture and openness to change. Concluding, I can say that if the organisation, in this case, represented by the employees and the council, is open to adopting this approach, a benefit can be experienced. However, this fact can also be a drawback within an organisation if it lacks the openness required to introduce the approach. As with agile methodology within software development, a willingness for organisational change is mandatory within the organisation. Adaption has to occur if the results are transferred to other organisations.
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We trace the origins and development of the management learning movement that has come to be closely associated with the journal Management Learning and explain how ideas that shaped the creation of business schools influenced the inception of this field. We then examine themes and trends that have been prevalent in the field in the second half of the journal’s 50-year history, through an analysis of its coverage over a 24-year period from 1994 to 2018. During this time, there has been a marked shift away from an applied focus on manager and management development towards a more theoretical perspective of the field, in keeping with trends in academic journals more generally. We focus on the journal’s contribution to the scholarship of management and organisational learning through an analysis of both strong and weak themes and its most cited papers. Finally, we propose ways in which our analysis of the past might offer new ways of thinking about our scholarship and we propose a future direction for the field and the journal that connects to the original intentions to shape organisational practice in order to address broader issues of social and economic exchange.
Focusing on the impact of management research has increasingly triggered reflections on collaborative modalities that may generate more engaged and impactful research. Continuing this debate, this chapter aims to contribute to foundational knowledge in the realm of collaborative research. The social nature of the collaborative relationship and process, as well as criteria for impact and the role of key actors, appear to enhance the generation of relevant results, determining impactful courses of action that develop even in the long term. This chapter draws on follow-up interviews on the long-term relevance and impact of an earlier collaborative research project, illustrating the relevance of actionable knowledge and its long-term impact in an organisation. In this context, the discussion emphasises the social nature of the collaboration, while the implications focus on relationships between collaborative research and the development of soft skills and entrepreneurial human capital.
This chapter concerns applications of PALAR for professional and action leadership development of managers, senior executives and organizations in industry, government and within communities. I explain how this development can be achieved in a way similar to that in higher education, applying and generating appropriate principles, processes and practices using PALAR. I argue that emancipatory action research is ‘best practice’ for organizational as well as educational change, fostering both organizational learning and the development of the ‘learning organization’ (Senge, 1990). In management education, examples of an MBA undertaken by action learning and of a professional doctorate by explication illustrate how the traditional methods of management education can be improved or replaced by action leadership development of experienced managers and executives using PALAR. I finally develop and discuss a new conceptual model for organizational change and management development, created step by step by combining action research with adaptations of the field theory of Lewin (1951), and a model of managerial interventions for organizational change (Beer et al., 1990). These models are in response to the need for organizations to develop a particular mindset for managing change and bringing about successful renewal or revitalization. The models emphasize a problem-oriented, task-driven action learning organization under action leadership.
The construction sector has adopted green public procurement to improve its environmental performance. Green public procurement is a process whereby contracting authorities aim to procure services and products that meet environmental requirements. In recent years, green public procurement has extended to sustainable public procurement, which involves the incorporation of both environmental and social considerations in the procurement of goods and services. Previous studies have suggested the relevance of contractor engagement strategies and the need for appropriate models to promote dialogue in sustainable public procurement. This paper illustrates one such model called the competitive dialogue procedure. This newly introduced procurement procedure allows the contracting authority to hold discussions with shortlisted contractors regarding the authority's requirements. The paper uses the practical case of the Kvarnholmen link project in Sweden. The Kvarnholmen link is an infrastructure project that includes the construction of a bridge, tunnel, underpass and pedestrian and bike path. Action research was conducted to examine the competitive dialogue procedure. This paper has strengthened the conceptualisation that the procedure can facilitate sustainable public procurement with the aid of its key elements, such as provisionally preferred solution and dialogue sessions. In addition, the paper analyses the consequences of the weight used for environmental considerations in the bid evaluation process. This paper recommends that contracting authorities implementing competitive dialogue procedure must use provisionally preferred solution to identify sustainable public procurement preferences. Dialogue sessions with contractors should involve discussions regarding sustainable public procurement to ensure consistency between the weight for environmental considerations and respective preferences.
This chapter will argue in support of a general thesis: that action research needs to be extended to include planning, and planning to include action research. What this may mean will become clear as soon as we look at planning as a collaborative undertaking between social actors and social scientists to achieve an active adaption to complexity, interdependence, and uncertainty, these being the conditions which most characterize the emerging world environment. In such a concept the process is more important than the plan, the learning that takes place more critical than the results obtained. Each fresh step, in conjunction with environmental factors, provides the starting point for the next. There is no finality. The need is to develop a capability, not a product. This strengthening capability has to exist simultaneously at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.
Research into postgraduate education that has made any significant contribution to knowledge is somewhat sparse. This is a selective review of that part of the literature in English that is freely available in Britain. Major topics covered include: admission criteria, student characteristics, form and quality of instruction, success and failure, finance, students’ contribution to research, and the employment market.
This article reports the results of a descriptive study of executives employed by commercial marketing research firms concerning certain aspects of academia. The results provide some useful insights related to the effective "marketing" of academic journals and college graduates
This paper examines the relevance of doctoral research to one part of the management development process, and to the nature of management action in general. The paper suggests that many of the features associated with the research process are being lost to potential management develop ment programmes through lack of perceived relevant routes. A proposal for a new award of Doctor of Business Administration, recently considered by the Council of National Academic Awards, has focused attention upon the potential doctoral research offers for improved and extended manage ment development programmes. The decision not to proceed with a new award on the reasonable grounds that proliferation of awards is not an appropriate response has underlined the real problem of a lack of aware ness of the contribution PhD research can make to Management Develop ment, which this paper addresses.
The American Management Association (AMA) is a nonprofit educational institution whose fundamental purpose is the improvement of managerial performance. This is achieved through a variety of educational and training programmes, research and development in the practice of management, and publications. The AMA is a membership organisation whose 80,000 members are practising managers in a variety of companies and organisations. It is governed by a Board of Trustees elected by the membership. A series of Councils, each composed of members with expertise in such areas as marketing, human resources and finance, advise the staff members of appropriate directions for development.
Discusses Australian postgraduate management training needs in the light of the obsolescence of current management development technology. Reports on a pilot study into perceptions within industry and higher education of what is needed for future courses. Academics emphasized content, and managers′ practical and process skills. Advocates a shift from content to process because of the rapidity of change in management′s environment.
The examination of postgraduate research theses is of vital importance to academic institutions as well as to students. This paper reviews examination procedures at one university, summarising examiners’ comments on 58 theses. A number of questions regarding examiner anonymity, alternatives to the traditional doctoral dissertation, and most importantly, the criteria for the award of degrees are raised. Although great care is taken in choosing examiners, the criteria they are expected to employ are inadequate. Rates of progress of research students in different degree programs suggest that some students may well lack adequate information about the extent of their task as postgraduates.
This paper reports an empirical and analytic study concerning the PhD education of mathematicians and scientists. Apart from describing the context and aims of the study, the paper presents selected aspects of an attitude survey of employers and PhD graduates in industry and commerce. Among the issues examined are the expectations and perceptions employers entertain of PhD graduates, the effectiveness of doctorate education as a preparation for research careers in industry, perceived shortcomings in traditional PhD education, as well as directions for modification.