The theoretical aim of the research in this paper is to conceptualize learning in the context of communicative action research, specifically in the context of democratic dialogue. The empirical aim is to show how and in which conditions action research projects, based on democratic dialogue, work.
In the paper, first, a conceptual synthesis is made by combining organizational and learning approaches to action research interventions based on the principles of democratic dialogue. Second, the new frame of reference is used to make a content analysis of two public sector cases from Finland, which will be presented as chance narratives.
The paper finds that the conceptualization of action research interventions first, as development organizations, and second, as learning spaces, sharpens the empirical analysis of the impact of the interventions. The article will point out how the action research interventions enhance collaborative learning among the participants. In cases where democratic dialogue is adopted as a regulative rule, desired organizational changes are likely to happen. In these cases, democratic dialogue diffuses from development organizations to the production and bargaining organizations.
The paper shows that the level of the conceptualization of the research makes it relevant also in other western countries that are experiencing a transformation of the public sector towards managerialism.
The paper combines theories of learning and organizations in the framework of communicative action research in a way that makes explicit the role of workplace democracy. The paper gives a strong theoretical and empirical evidence of the potential of the dialogue methods in the intentional changes of working life.
The article analyzes the development of the Finnish research in library and information science into its present position of high qualitative and quantitative level (in…
The article analyzes the development of the Finnish research in library and information science into its present position of high qualitative and quantitative level (in relation to the size of the research community). A number of aspects that may explain the success of the Finnish research are presented: 1) the early academic context, i.e., the establishment of the chair in LIS at the University of Tampere in 1971, 2) the new conception of LIS that emerged in Finland in the early 1980s shifting the attention from institutions into users and actions, 3) internationalization of research including publishing in peer reviewed journals, participating in international conferences, inviting foreign top-researchers into Finland, and organizing international conferences that have become institutionalized (CoLIS and ISIC), and 4) the selection of priority areas for the research effort combined with the concentration of research and doctoral education in research groups.