Managers Learning in Action

Managers Learning in Action

Managers Learning in Action

Managers Learning in Action


Rather than offering a purely practical or theoretical text, the authors have combined theory and practice to create a holistic exploration of learning at work. They have studied organisations in hi-tech manufacturing, engineering, telecommunications, health care, transport and the public sector.


Work-based learning or learning-in-action is increasingly recognized as critical to both the survival and development of organizations (Argyris and Schön, 1996; Pedler, 1996; Fisher et al., 2000; Raelin, 2000). Managers utilize their organizational work sites as the locations of learning, not from the distance of a seminar room, but by being immersed in the strategic and operational activities that are structured around their managerial and organizational roles. It is also becoming more common that the academic world of theory and research is appreciating the action and learning of practising managers, particularly by holding postgraduate programmes whereby experienced senior managers bring their organizational actions to exposure to the rigour of action research and action learning (Coghlan and Brannick, 2001). How can the learning-in-action of individual managers contribute, not only to their own learning and that of their organization, but also to our knowledge of organizations and help generate theory about what organizations are really like and how they work? in other words, can managers who learn-in-action be researchers at the same time? This book is an answer to this question. Each of the nine management contributors has successfully completed a postgraduate dissertation on the subject of the study and action in his/her own organization. This book, therefore, aims to address both practice and theory issues in researching and intervening in one's own organization.

Managers are increasingly engaging in action research projects in their own organizations (Bartunek et al., 2000). Issues of organizational concern, such as systems improvement, organizational learning, the management of change and so on are suitable subjects for action research, since (a) they are real events which must be managed in real time, (b) they provide opportunities for both effective action and learning, and (c) they can contribute to the development of theory of what really goes on in organizations.

Contributors are drawn from graduates of three well-established academic programmes which work with experienced practitioners.

The Irish Management Institute (IMI) was founded by a group of business leaders in 1952 as the principal national management training body in

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