Finding critical action learning through paradox: the role of action learning in the suppression and stimulation of critical reflection

Russ Vince, Graham Abbey, Melissa Katharina Langenhan, Diane Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this article, we highlight paradoxical tensions generated by in-company action learning. We consider the implications of these tensions for critical action learning, which has critical reflection as a core element of its theory and practice. Using paradox theory as a lens, we analyze data from two in-company action learning programs and build a model relating to critical action learning that has four interlinked features. The model can help evaluate in-company action learning with a view to identifying emotional and political dynamics that are open (or closed) to critical reflection. Such identification assists in making judgements about the appropriateness of critical action learning within a specific organizational context. Our broader contribution is to frame action learning and critical action learning not only as separate approaches but also as potentially interlinked stages in an ongoing process of individual and organizational learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-106
Number of pages21
JournalManagement Learning
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Action learning
  • critical action learning
  • critical reflection
  • paradox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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