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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1997

John Lawson, Liz Beaty, Tom Bourner and Suzanne O’ Hara

The last in a series of four articles that seeks to answer questions about the domains of applicability of action learning. Aims to reach some conclusions about where and…

509

Abstract

The last in a series of four articles that seeks to answer questions about the domains of applicability of action learning. Aims to reach some conclusions about where and when action learning is most appropriate. The authors reflect on their own experience as action learning participants and set advisers to identify the conditions which best support action learning. Offers suggestions for those people who may be considering setting up action learning sets within their own organization. Concludes that action learning works best when the prevailing organizational culture is congruent with that of the action learning sets.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 39 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 1996

Tom Bourner and Paul Frost

Offers a fresh perspective on action learning by looking at how action learning is experienced by the action learning participants themselves. Does this by asking the…

1973

Abstract

Offers a fresh perspective on action learning by looking at how action learning is experienced by the action learning participants themselves. Does this by asking the members of five action learning sets on their reflections on the feelings and outcomes of being an action learning set member.

Details

Employee Councelling Today, vol. 8 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-8217

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 9 March 2022

Cheryl Brook and Christine Abbott

This study aims to explore a self-managed action learning (SMAL) initiative undertaken by social work assessors in England, which led to insights into the practice of SMAL.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore a self-managed action learning (SMAL) initiative undertaken by social work assessors in England, which led to insights into the practice of SMAL.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon the experience of the authors in relation to an actual SMAL intervention in a social care context in England.

Findings

The paper suggests that, in contrast to extant literature, it is not the absence of an “expert” facilitator, which has proved to be most challenging but rather dealing with the practicalities of managing inter-organisational sets online. Specific individual and inter-organisational learning came about as a result of the SMAL initiative, including the implementation of inter-organisational networking to support isolated assessors.

Research limitations/implications

The ideas and perspectives discussed in this paper will be explored through further empirical research.

Practical implications

The paper illustrates how SMAL can be implemented and suggests how it can facilitate organisational and individual learning.

Social implications

The paper discusses an initiative with the aim of better supporting assessors of newly qualified social workers; a task of enormous importance to the future of social work practice in England.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to a limited literature on the practice of SMAL. The uniqueness comes from both the multi-organisational aspect of the programme, that it is self-managed and delivered virtually.

Details

Journal of Work-Applied Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2205-2062

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 1996

Tom Bourner and Krystyna Weinstein

Looks at some possible pitfalls in introducing and operating a programme of action learning by drawing on the authors’ own experiences and those of their friends and colleagues.

748

Abstract

Looks at some possible pitfalls in introducing and operating a programme of action learning by drawing on the authors’ own experiences and those of their friends and colleagues.

Details

Employee Councelling Today, vol. 8 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-8217

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Mike Pedler and Christine Abbott

The purpose of this paper is to enquire into the role and skills of the action learning facilitator in the context of service improvement work in the UK's National Health…

2053

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to enquire into the role and skills of the action learning facilitator in the context of service improvement work in the UK's National Health Service (NHS). An earlier companion paper examined the concept of service improvement and the possible contribution of action learning as a means of bringing about both personal and organisational development.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of a case study. The research reports on the facilitation of action learning sets which formed part of a leadership development programme in the NHS. Data were collected via telephone interviews, focus groups, action learning sets and a World Café event.

Findings

The action learning facilitator's role is encircled by questions of method, approaches, skills and competencies, and crucially by complex contextual factors. Three role models are offered for the action learning facilitator – i.e. initiator, coach, and leader – and the paper concludes that any person fulfilling this role should develop the habits of reflection, critique and learning as part of developing their practice. Supervision and developmental support are also useful for people who are always asking themselves – “Am I doing it right?”

Research limitations/implications

This case study on which these findings are based was developed at a time of great turmoil in the NHS. The dramatic specifics of the case serve to illustrate the critical variability and uniqueness of context. However, we believe that this does not greatly affect the efficacy of general conclusions drawn about action learning facilitation.

Practical implications

The practice of action learning is developing rapidly in many different organisational and community settings, and there is a growing demand for its skilful facilitation.

Originality/value

Currently there is little literature on what constitutes appropriate development for action learning facilitators. The paper gives some clear choices and guidelines for the development of this role.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1879

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 1996

Tom Bourner and Paul Frost

Looks at the experience of action learning based on the words of those who have participated in such courses. From the responses of the participants a pattern of feelings…

1427

Abstract

Looks at the experience of action learning based on the words of those who have participated in such courses. From the responses of the participants a pattern of feelings emerged: the importance attached at the outset to being with the “right” people in a set, the camaraderie that develops within the set, the positive anticipation before a set meeting and the feelings of loss at the erosion or break‐up of an action learning set. Again from the responses, an action learning set within a course of higher education can be described as: a personal “think‐tank”; a place of much mutual support; a safe place to explore project and self; a place where friendships are formed; a place to be challenged; a place to get feedback (both positive and negative); and a group of people to keep you moving and keep you on the right track. Continues with a look at what the participants actually learned through their membership of an action learning set.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 38 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 October 2013

Annie Yeadon-Lee

The purpose of this paper is to respond to calls for research into the use of action learning in management education (Hay, 2011). It reports on student experiences of…

1948

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to respond to calls for research into the use of action learning in management education (Hay, 2011). It reports on student experiences of action learning in a final year module for part time Master of Business Administration students. It focuses specifically on the development of an understanding of the interpersonal relationships that existed within those action learning sets; both positive and negative. The paper then discusses the subsequent impact those dynamics may have on the effectiveness of the action learning process.

Design/methodology/approach

An interpretivist philosophy underpins the research framework adopted in this paper. Data were captured by means of semi-structured questionnaires distributed at both the beginning and end of the module. The data were thematically analysed using open coding.

Findings

The paper used two contrasting views of the interpersonal relationships in action learning sets: Revans’ (1982) “comrades in adversity” and Vince's (2004) “adversaries in commonality” as a framework for discussion. It found that various interpersonal dynamics existed within the sets, which in this case, had the ability to influence individual satisfaction and the overall effectiveness of the set.

Originality/value

The findings provide insights, via participant voice, into aspects of interpersonal relationships within action learning sets. In particular, the politics and emotions that occur within the learning sets, whilst considering the subsequent impact on both participant satisfaction and the effectiveness of action learning sets.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 32 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 July 1997

Liz Beaty John Lawson Tom Bourner and Suzanne O’Hara

The third in a series of four articles that seeks to answer questions about the applicability of action learning. Aims to look at what can be learned using action learning

758

Abstract

The third in a series of four articles that seeks to answer questions about the applicability of action learning. Aims to look at what can be learned using action learning; and seeks to identify what can be best learned by action learning and what is best learned by other methods. Concludes that action learning is most likely to produce learning that is personal, situational and emergent. It is less likely to be learning that can be closely specified in advance or is skill based. Action learning is most valuable for higher level professional development (i.e. developing excellence) and less useful for the development of foundation skills (i.e. developing competence) where instruction and training remain more important.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 1998

Craig Johnson

This paper is offered as an introduction to action learning. The nature of the organisational problem(s) for investigation under an action learning programme is defined…

7416

Abstract

This paper is offered as an introduction to action learning. The nature of the organisational problem(s) for investigation under an action learning programme is defined and the constitution and general principles of an action learning set are introduced. The paper concludes with some of the advantages of an action learning programme along with some of the drawbacks.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 10 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 1996

Tom Bourner, Liz Beaty, John Lawson and Suzanne O’Hara

Questions where and for whom action learning might not work and seeks to find the limits of the method. Suggests that by better understanding the situations in which action

1458

Abstract

Questions where and for whom action learning might not work and seeks to find the limits of the method. Suggests that by better understanding the situations in which action learning works least well, its more effective use will be more fully understood.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 38 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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