Breakthrough Problem Solving with Action Learning: Concepts and Cases

Breakthrough Problem Solving with Action Learning: Concepts and Cases

Breakthrough Problem Solving with Action Learning: Concepts and Cases

Breakthrough Problem Solving with Action Learning: Concepts and Cases

Synopsis

Breakthrough Problem Solving with Action Learning explores why and how action learning groups have been so successful and creative in solving complex problems. The text begins by briefly reviewing the theories that undergird the effectiveness of action learning, philosophically situating readers and pointing them in the direction of related academic works that they may wish to explore. It then turns to stories of how organizations have employed action learning in solving specific, often-encountered business problems. These cases not only serve as real-world models for how action learning can be successfully employed, but also offer inspiration and potential starting points and guidelines for other businesses that face similar problems. The book concludes with a cross-case analysis that pinpoints the ingredients necessary for breakthrough problem solving via action learning.

Excerpt

Action learning was first developed in the 1940s by physicist-turned-human relations director Reg Revans to solve the problems of productivity and morale in the coal mines of Wales and England. Instead of turning to outside consultants, Revans wisely and astutely determined that having the coal miners work on their own problems (with their own questions and from their own perspectives), would be a better approach. and it was! the coal mines for which Revans worked had 30 percent greater productivity and much higher morale than any of the adjoining mines. He recognized that humble people “sharing what they didn’t bloody know” and being willing to ask others “what does this look like to you?” would eventually lead to breakthrough problem solving.

Later, when he was the head of emergency services in East London, Revans worked on problems in the hospitals of London, where he became interested in how nurses solved complex problems at work (Revans, 1971). Revans’s approach to action learning was driven by a problem-solving approach that identified underlying issues, conceptualized frames of reference for practice, and sought practical and lasting solutions to pressing issues.

Over the years, the action learning principles and practices that Revans pioneered have evolved to even better address the ever more complex and difficult problems of the 21st century. Finding appropriate, sustainable . . .

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