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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…

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495

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.

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

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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…

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1945

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.

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

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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.

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713

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

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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…

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1994

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.

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

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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…

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1883

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 1996

Harley D. Frank

Asks to what extent have institutions which educate managers adopted action learning (AL) as part of their approach? Presents a preliminary description of the present…

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549

Abstract

Asks to what extent have institutions which educate managers adopted action learning (AL) as part of their approach? Presents a preliminary description of the present state of AL in British higher education. Identifies the universities providing validated courses leading to a qualification, and highlights marked differences in the extent to which higher education courses rely on AL; i.e. less than one‐third of the identified courses use AL essentially on its own as a learning method; the remainder use AL, typically learning sets, but only in addition to workshops and other taught components. Provides systematic data on the use of learning diaries and how AL sets are organized in the courses examined and how they function.

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2004

Caroline L. Davey, James A. Powell, Ian Cooper and Jennifer E. Powell

Action learning is intended to enable a group of professionals (a SET) to tackle work problems, develop solutions and reflect upon the success and failure of their…

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1816

Abstract

Action learning is intended to enable a group of professionals (a SET) to tackle work problems, develop solutions and reflect upon the success and failure of their actions. As part of the UK construction industry's drive to improve learning and performance, four SETs of small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) were established. This paper evaluates the capacity of action learning to promote innovation and use of technologies within a CIOB‐funded SET located in Watford. Construction companies were unable to address real problems related to their day‐to‐day activities due to competition. Instead, they identified an industry‐wide issue – a lack of quality recruits – and marshalled resources to provide better careers advice and promote opportunities for builders. The role of action learning in empowering construction SMEs to contribute to industry change programmes is explored.

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Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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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…

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1289

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1994

J. Herman Gilligan

This is the first in a series of three articles which evaluate the useof self‐managed learning (SML) in management development processes inhealth care settings. This first…

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13142

Abstract

This is the first in a series of three articles which evaluate the use of self‐managed learning (SML) in management development processes in health care settings. This first article, being more general, outlines SML′s philosophical origins, strategic design, and current practice. SML represents a strategic approach to individual and organizational learning, which offers a new synthesis of previous ideas and approaches. Its proven benefits relate to the way in which the process of learning is designed to mirror the process of managing. The second article focuses specifically on a regional NHS case study of the application of SML, while the third provides a complementary US case study in a health care provider organization, where SML has been adopted for a leadership development programme.

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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…

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7360

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

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