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Title: Using participatory action research to develop an organization's strategy
Author: Burn, Geoffrey R. H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 5462
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2006
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The research was undertaken with the primary aim of answering the following five main research questions. Can PAR provide a cohesive way to give those who want it an authoritative voice in shaping their own future and that of their whole organization? Can a 'creative' strategy-making process be used as the vehicle for capturing that voice and institutionalizing it as a blueprint for the future? Can Participatory Action Research (PAR) be used to research these operational processes in detail and in real time? Can an insider researcher who is also a top manager facilitate the intervention without having one role overpower the other? Can the strategizing role boundary be shifted without disenfranchising those previously responsible for strategizing, and without the process being derailed by them? PAR was selected as the organization development (OD) methodology for this intervention because, consistent with these questions, it aims to precipitate transformational change intended to correct perceived systemic disadvantage. At the same time it recognizes the need for accommodations regarding the extant disposition of power and related role enactment. And PAR is especially well suited as a methodology for researching a social change process dependent on power transfer, because it empowers the people in the system as co-researchers in an ethical framework. Consistent with the PAR methodology, the participants were the main research instrument, utilizing self reports as the main tool. This `human instrument' was augmented by the objective input of a team of non-participant observers. The research was significant because it indicates that PAR can be an effective OD methodology for giving those people who want it an authoritative voice in shaping their future and that of their whole organization - and that a creative strategizing model built on components advocated in the literature can be used as the vehicle for capturing that voice. In the process, it demonstrates that the strategizing role boundary can be shifted without resistance from the elites who are required to relinquish it. Furthermore, it shows that PAR is an appropriate methodology for researching all these processes in real time. Finally, it demonstrates that an insider researcher who is also a member of the elite can facilitate the OD and research processes without the inherent role conflict becoming unmanageable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available