The Action Research Model

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The only constant in today’s business environment is change, and thus appropriate management of change, whether that change is revolutionary or evolutionary, is essential for survival and for an organisation to thrive (Weick & Quinn, 1999). The competitive and dynamic nature of business has seen more firms drastically alter the fundamentals by which they operate (Cummings & Worley, 2014). Revolutionary change usually occurs in reaction to a shift in the environment, and is usually a big change, and can be explained as organisational transformation (Francis, Bessant & Hobday, 2003). Organisational development on the other hand is a more long term change, system wide and geared at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of an organisation…show more content…
Where Lewin’s model affords understanding of the dynamics of planned change, the Action research model illustrates the main events that guide scholars and practitioners towards a successful multisystem collaborative change initiative (Checkland & Holwell, 1998). This is reinforced by Lippitt, Watson, and Westley’s (year) 7 step model which seeks to elaborate lewins 3 stage model, and is consistent to the action research model, a cyclical model with 8 main steps. Problem identification is followed by consultation with a behavioural science expert (Checkland & Holwell, 1998). Problem identification for Coca Cola in this case was the lawsuit against the organisation, and the behavioural expert contracted was the independent seven member taskforce mandated to guide them through the change initiative (Herman, et al, 2006). Once an expert has been contracted, data gathering and preliminary diagnosis is carried out and feedback is given to the key client (Obrien, 1998). In this case, Coca Cola the problem had already been raised by the employee [Ingram] that the employee management systems where discriminatory and did not embrace diversity (Herman, et al, 2006). Thus Coca Cola engaged in data gathering from multiple sources both independent, internal and primary research ventures to review their employee management systems and identify where and how the change towards…show more content…
Additionally the planned change models are said to be overly simplified and neat were as in reality change is said to be much more complex than the elements addressed by these models and much more chaotic and dynamic in its implementation (Cummings & Worley, 2014). Furthermore, according to Cummings and Worley (2014), extensive research is needed to fill the gaps in information including investigating the causal mechanisms that produce individual change, as organisational change is comprised of organisational member individual behaviour change. Another criticism is the common theme of institutionalising the change or refreezing the new status quo into quasi-equilibrium (Cummings & Worley, 2014). Due to the dynamic nature of the contemporary organisational environment, change is never over, but is rather a constant, so step of institutionalisation may mislead clients who should rather be prepared of the dynamic and continuous nature of change across all levels of the organisation (Cummings & Worley, 2014). Furthermore the relationship between planned change and organisational performance is not understood nor can the effectiveness of the interventions be properly assessed or measured (Hayes, 2002). Finding an OD specialist who is not biased by their specialisation and will diligently and carefully diagnose the true problem
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