Action Research and Organizational Development: A Conclusion
The previous chapters have outlined an action research approach to organizational development. They outline strategies for gathering data and information, defining an organization's direction and implementating changes. The action research approach does not rely on the application of traditional humanistic assumptions or traditional assumptions. 1
Those who criticize traditional scientific assumptions suggest that "there is a crisis in the field of organizational science. The principal symptom of this crisis is that research methods are becoming more sophisticated and increasingly less useful for solving the practical problems that members of organizations face."2 Those who comment on traditional organizational development practices suggest that the term itself "remains a convenient label for a variety of activities, and that the organizational development (O.D.) literature, as a whole, is more autobiographical than organizational in focus and scope."3
This book offers an approach to action research and organizational development and a number of principles for gathering data and implementing changes. The research principles suggest the need for: being creative in defining the real research question; generating theoretical concepts from the field; integrating concepts with real life assumptions; "triangulating" and using multiple perspectives; verifying interpretations with perspectives in the field; and treating the research setting as a case study. The change principles refer to: developing a collaborative relationship; conceptualizing the impact of the changes to be made; recognizing the sociotechnical criterion; using participation and groups appropriately; changing behavior through problem-solving discussions; and recognizing that expectations amplify or reduce resistances. Together, these principles provide a perspective on carrying out action research and organizational development.
This chapter describes a number of action research and organizational