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Political entrepreneurship in action research: learning from two cases

Hans Björkman (Fenix Research Program, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)
Mats Sundgren (Fenix Research Program, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 1 October 2005




To discuss political entrepreneurship as a capability to enable durable insider action research projects.


The two authors utilize auto‐ethnographic methods in order to evaluate and draw inferences from their own actions as insider action researchers. The paper draws on action research theory and theories on political entrepreneurship.


Political entrepreneurship is an important factor behind success or failure in action research projects, but has, despite this, been scarcely discussed in the action research literature. Findings indicate that a political entrepreneurship repertoire consisting of capabilities to find red‐hot issues for one's research, to use the inside of the organization in the research efforts, to use and diffuse the research results, and, finally, to work on the positioning of one's relational platform.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based upon case studies in two organizations. Its implications may be further developed through studies in a wider array of settings.

Practical implications

The study provides valuable knowledge for organizations intending to participate in (insider) action research as well as for (insider) action researchers.


Political entrepreneurship in action research is scarcely discussed in action research theory – and hence the paper addresses an important research gap. Moreover, the presented implications have a certain practical value for organizations and researchers.



Björkman, H. and Sundgren, M. (2005), "Political entrepreneurship in action research: learning from two cases", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 399-415.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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