Action Research History. Main Theories

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Action Research History. Main Theories
Nancy Rehbine Zentis, HR Consultant, United States

The action research model was developed by the pioneers in the field of organization development as a method for planning change interventions. Kurt Lewin first coined the term “action research” in his 1946 paper “Action Research and Minority Problems”.
In that paper, he described action research as “a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action” that uses “a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of the action”.
Action research describes how humans and organizations behave in the outside world and is a change mechanism that helps human and organizations reflect on and change their own systems (Reason & Bradbury, 2001).
Action research theories:
• Chris Argyris’ Action Science
• John Heron and Peter Reason’s Cooperative Inquiry
• Paulo Freire’s Participatory Action Research (PAR)
• William Torbert’s Development Action Inquiry
• Warner Burke - 7 Phase Model.



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