Action Research: …more
learning from action and
applying original thinking...
Trevor Wood-Harper
MBS
Overview
‘Story’ of Developing
Multiview
ALTAR at/from
Britvic
Research Impact
A Post ‘Story’
Rationalisation of an Action Research Project
and Research Process
• Narrative
• Characters
• Plot
Acting a...
Narrative 1 (‘What’ )
Research Cycles
• AAct 1ct 1: Conceptual comparison and construction of the: Conceptual comparison a...
Area of Concern
PARTICIPATION
EVOLUTIONARY
DATA ANALYSIS
STRUCTURED ANALYSIS
WATERFALL MODELS
DESIGN
S.A. User
!
CONTINGEN...
Comparison
of IS Development Methods
The 'Ideal'
Methodology
Feature
Extraction
Contingency
Frameworks
Hypothesis
Testing
...
Multiview Framework and Methodology
Human
Activity
Technical
Specification (TS)
Information Technology
People Technical
Ex...
Narrative 2 (‘What’ )
Research Cycles
• Act 1: Conceptual comparison and construction of the Multiview
Methodology
• Act 2...
Multiview Action Research Cases
1. Professional Institute. These cases
represented the initial applications
of the methodo...
Aspects
to Derive Findings
Problem
Situation
The political and initial terms of
reference, organisational
climate, the per...
Action Research
Cycle
Theory:- No. 4.
Information System Definition
Utilsing an Intellectual
Framework as a Synthesis
Prob...
Narrative (‘What’ )
Research Cycles
• Act 1: Conceptual comparison and construction of the
Multiview Methodology
• Act 2: ...
Reflections
• Conclusion 1- The
Multiview methodology
needed improvements
• Conclusion 2- Defining an
Information System w...
Plot (Why)
• Theoretical Explanations of
Variations of our ‘Characters’ in
Action:
1. a paradigm of assumptions is constru...
Characters (Who)
Situation
TOP
Methodology
Interveners
Multiple
perspective
PAR TICI PATI ON
EVOLUTIONARY
DATA ANA LYSI S
...
Overview
‘Story’ of Developing
Multiview
ALTAR at/from
Britvic
Research Impact
Background to Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd
• Britvic is a leading U.K. manufacturer and distributor of fast-moving consumer
goo...
AR in practice – deriving ALTAR
• AR has been used with apparent success in a number of projects that have
similar propert...
AR in practice – deriving ALTAR
• This iteration of cycles can be combined into a series of phases, each with a different ...
Findings from Britvic
1. A ‘paradigm shift’ and change was implicit in the ALTAR process, most
participants responded posi...
Overview
‘Story’ of Developing
Multiview
ALTAR at/from
Britvic
Research Impact
(Singh and Wood-
Harper 2010)
MBS: IS AR Research Impact?
(Shah, Wood-Harper & Prichard, CACM
forthcoming)
 MBS has recognized the importance of
origin...
Linking Practice, Theory and Research
 IS and organizations are
pervasive - need to
understand rapidly changing
related p...
Action Research at UKAIS research methods master class
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Action Research at UKAIS research methods master class

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Professor Trevor Wood Harper talking about Action Research at UKAIS research methods master class 12th November at University of Bolton

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Action Research at UKAIS research methods master class

  1. 1. Action Research: …more learning from action and applying original thinking... Trevor Wood-Harper MBS
  2. 2. Overview ‘Story’ of Developing Multiview ALTAR at/from Britvic Research Impact
  3. 3. A Post ‘Story’ Rationalisation of an Action Research Project and Research Process • Narrative • Characters • Plot Acting and experiencing Data gathering, library work, fieldwork activities undertaken while suspending most other concerns Reflecting Removal from the situation, analysis of the previous experience w/o additional source of input, formulation of grounded insights Evaluating (The Meta-Stage) Evaluating the entire cycle in terms of its help in the development of the researcher, the area of concern and the research method Communicating and Planning Creating closure on what has been learnt, posing new questions, receiving feedback on closure, setting new goals Integrating Combining reflections with ideas and theories developed elsewhere, sifting, recombining, testing one's set against others, developing new ideas OR OROR OR
  4. 4. Narrative 1 (‘What’ ) Research Cycles • AAct 1ct 1: Conceptual comparison and construction of the: Conceptual comparison and construction of the Multiview MethodologyMultiview Methodology • Act 2: Using this methodology in six action research cases and learn about the methodology, problem solvers and area of concern • Act 3: Reflection on the theory of Multiview-1 after assimilating the lessons and integrating ideas
  5. 5. Area of Concern PARTICIPATION EVOLUTIONARY DATA ANALYSIS STRUCTURED ANALYSIS WATERFALL MODELS DESIGN S.A. User ! CONTINGENCY THEORY "SOFT"ASPECTS
  6. 6. Comparison of IS Development Methods The 'Ideal' Methodology Feature Extraction Contingency Frameworks Hypothesis Testing Meta-Language Creation Theoretical Investigation Cognitive Psychological Evaluation Idealised Methodology Real Life Applications The One Best Solution Contingency Approach Critical Theory SOL BUBENKO BJØRN-ANDERSEN • Conclusions: Disappointing but 4 views are needed: – Infological – Datalogical – Participation – Contextual
  7. 7. Multiview Framework and Methodology Human Activity Technical Specification (TS) Information Technology People Technical Exploration(HA)Human Activity Information Analysis Technical Specification Socio-technical Exploration Analysisand Design Organisational Aspects Social Aspects -How will it affect me? Roleset -Will my job change? People Tasks -What will I have to do? Human-Computer Interface -What inputs and outputs are there? Database -What data are involved? Database Maintenance -How do I maintain the system? Recovery -What happens when it goes wrong? Monitoring -Is the system performing as specified? Control -What errors are detected? Information Retrieval -What information will I get? Application -What will it do? Computer Task Requirements Roleset People Tasks Technical Requirements Inputs and Outputs necessary for non-application areas -Will it affect anything else in the computer solution? (5) Design Technical (2) Analyse Information (4) Design Human-computer Interface Entity Model (1) Analyse Human Activity System (3) Analyse and Design Socio-technical Aspects Function Model Primary Task Model Solution
  8. 8. Narrative 2 (‘What’ ) Research Cycles • Act 1: Conceptual comparison and construction of the Multiview Methodology • Act 2:Using this methodology in six action research cases and learnAct 2:Using this methodology in six action research cases and learn about the methodology, problem solvers and area of concernabout the methodology, problem solvers and area of concern • Act 3: Reflection on the theory of Multiview after assimilating the lessons and integrating ideas
  9. 9. Multiview Action Research Cases 1. Professional Institute. These cases represented the initial applications of the methodology in the practical world. Here the methodology was devised and” formalised" in practice. 2. Naive Systems Analysts' Cases. These were used for the education of undergraduate students on a final degree course in Systems Analysis. Establishment of a Spin-Off Company 3. A Distance Learning Unit. This case gives a full implementation by utilising prototyping and fourth generation languages.
  10. 10. Aspects to Derive Findings Problem Situation The political and initial terms of reference, organisational climate, the personal problems… Problem Solving Team The analysts (and their experience), participation and non-participation of u sers in the problem solving process. Methodology Products and Processes Documentation of t he work and relating to the phases of the Methodology Action Results of t he work, the attitudes and satisfaction of the users in the situation Theory Which, perspectives reflects on the use of the Multiview framework/methodology and participation in terms of developing an Information System in context.
  11. 11. Action Research Cycle Theory:- No. 4. Information System Definition Utilsing an Intellectual Framework as a Synthesis Problem Context No. 3. Analysis and Design of Information Systems in Small Organisations Using Systems Analysts and Users as Problem Solvers Action No 7. (6Cases) Tools and Techniques No. 6. Developing Tools and Techniques Methodology No. 5. MVM Methodology Reflections No. 8. Lessons consisting of 4 Views
  12. 12. Narrative (‘What’ ) Research Cycles • Act 1: Conceptual comparison and construction of the Multiview Methodology • Act 2: Using this methodology in six action research cases and learn about the methodology, problem solvers and area of concern • Act 3Act 3: Reflections on the theory of Multiview after: Reflections on the theory of Multiview after assimilating the lessons and integrating ideasassimilating the lessons and integrating ideas
  13. 13. Reflections • Conclusion 1- The Multiview methodology needed improvements • Conclusion 2- Defining an Information System was Contingent • Conclusion 3 - Defining an information system ought to be considered as a social process as well as technical Stakeholders ISDAnalysts Information Situation IS Socially Construct Communicate Feedback To Carries Out Develop Socially Construct Feedback To ProcessFraming
  14. 14. Plot (Why) • Theoretical Explanations of Variations of our ‘Characters’ in Action: 1. a paradigm of assumptions is constructed in practice 2. metaphorical design. 3. another plausible plot is the web model towards Socio-Materialism
  15. 15. Characters (Who) Situation TOP Methodology Interveners Multiple perspective PAR TICI PATI ON EVOLUTIONARY DATA ANA LYSI S S TRUC TURE D AN ALYSI S WATERF ALL MODE LS DE SIGN S.A. User ! CO NTI NGEN CY TH EOR Y "SO FT"ASPECT S
  16. 16. Overview ‘Story’ of Developing Multiview ALTAR at/from Britvic Research Impact
  17. 17. Background to Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd • Britvic is a leading U.K. manufacturer and distributor of fast-moving consumer goods. – At the time of the project it had over 2700 employees and a turnover in excess of 600 million GB pounds. It makes and distributes a wide range of ‘household’ branded products. • Before the AR project began, Britvic had been conducting a study into the use of KM technology and a decision had been made to acquire KM software. – The authors were aware that little academic research had been done to investigate the application of KM in the manufacturing sector in the U.K. This created the potential for an AR project to ‘fill the knowledge gap’, and the fact that Britvic was already interested in adopting KM software made this a suitable choice of organisation for the AR study. • Managers at Britvic also felt that the organisation needed to understand the implications of the exploitation of KM and the adoption of KM technology for its existing well-developed IS planning and development strategies. – lacking was an agreed definition of KM, a general understanding within the organisation of the potential of KM and what was required from KM technologies.
  18. 18. AR in practice – deriving ALTAR • AR has been used with apparent success in a number of projects that have similar properties to or are in similar domains to the Britvic research. • Recognises the importance of a top-level AR cycle for developing and managing a collaborative project. • The value of iteration as a way of ‘building learning’ is identified with apparent success in AR terms. • A version of the action research cycle (Susman and Evered, 1978)
  19. 19. AR in practice – deriving ALTAR • This iteration of cycles can be combined into a series of phases, each with a different purpose, which makes AR a powerful and flexible methodology for carrying out academic and industrial collaborative research that is proven in practice. It was decided to follow the key strategies aimed at improving the rigour and contribution of AR (Baskerville & Wood-Harper, 1996) – The ‘paradigm shift’ the University researchers planned to make sure that AR was appropriate for the research domain and that the outcomes and learning would be of interest. – A formal research agreement was to be drawn up at an early stage to define the ethical guidelines, to ensure that the subject participants gave ‘informed consent’ and that the Terms of Reference would authorise the research team to operate within the organisation. – A theoretical problem statement was defined as a premise to ensure that the intervention action would be valid as research and to provide a basis for any theories that may emerge from the research. – Data collection methods were planned as part of the operational level of the AR, including acquiring the technology to record workshops, make transcripts of meetings and to maintain structured diaries ). – Collaboration and subject learning were promoted at the initiation of the AR project and steps were taken to foster and to maintain collaboration between the researchers and the participating subjects. – Iterations or cycles of AR were planned, which would continue until the immediate problem situation was explored in sufficient depth and were revealed (and possibly ‘solved’) to a satisfactory level. – Generalisation of results or theories was expected, but it was recognised that, ‘Generalities must be tempered with an interpretation of the extent of similar settings to which the theory can be expected to apply’ (Baskerville & Wood-Harper, 1996).
  20. 20. Findings from Britvic 1. A ‘paradigm shift’ and change was implicit in the ALTAR process, most participants responded positively to the notion of change, as they felt more involved and ‘useful’ than if the change had been imposed from outside. 2. The formal agreement and work that was done on project initiation was essential in defining in advance and maintaining a management focus for the project. Experience from our research indicates that academic– industrial research collaboration of this nature requires very careful negotiation of exactly what is involved in the project. 3. Academic theories that were informed by the AR process formed the basis of an outcome that was tested rigorously in academic terms (Sharp, 2004). It was clearly possible to differentiate between AR in this case and consultancy (Baskerville, 1999).
  21. 21. Overview ‘Story’ of Developing Multiview ALTAR at/from Britvic Research Impact (Singh and Wood- Harper 2010)
  22. 22. MBS: IS AR Research Impact? (Shah, Wood-Harper & Prichard, CACM forthcoming)  MBS has recognized the importance of original thinking and the importance of applying that thinking  The focus is not just on the theoretical part but also the practical application of new theoretical ideas  Further MBS recognises that better management theories come from closer interaction between theory and practice  IS as a discipline pervades through the School and is a part of all the divisions of the School (i.e. Strategy and IS, Marketing and IS, Organizations and IS, and Accounting and Financial Information Systems)  Manchester Business School’s recent motto ‘Original Thinking Applied’  Can be reworked to express the relationship between original thinking and practice (Wood- Harper and Shah 2010)  Emphasizing how original thinking can learn from practice while providing opportunities for original thinking to impact practice (Shah, Eardley & Wood-Harper, 2007a, 2007b)
  23. 23. Linking Practice, Theory and Research  IS and organizations are pervasive - need to understand rapidly changing related practices  We have to recognize the role of industry-university collaboration in research  Research must be in partnership with industry and also needs to be able to make sense of social networking driven progress and change • Important not only for impact but also to give researchers understanding and insight into research and progression that is resulting in practice at a rapid rate • Research we undertake and the impact that we achieve will be evaluated under future research evaluation frameworks and will therefore affect our funding • Increasingly recognized by leading Business Schools that publications alone will not be sufficient - research must be applied and therefore needs collaboration with industry in order to achieve our impact aspirations.

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