Practicing Action Training and Research
March 1998 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The "Action Training and Research" method of organizational development, pioneered by Neely Gardner in the 1960s, has become a classic methodology in public administration, despite the fact that GardnerÆs work was never published in book form. Raymon R. Bruce and Sherman M. Wyman have presented the power of GardnerÆs work in a form that speaks to the context of modern practice and scholarly thought. GardnerÆs methodology addresses how to change hierarchically structured public organizations whose management is rigidly vested in the status quo. He saw participative management as the key to achieving democratic organizations, reflecting the democratic values and norms of our society. He felt the devolution of management power in the organization enables the people doing the work of the organization to innovate and adapt to their "customerÆs" changing needs. It is, after all, those who are producing the goods and delivering the services that are best able to play a substantial and non-hypocritical role in the decisions concerning those goods and services, with the result that the most efficient and economic outcome will occur over time. The Action Training and Research approach focuses not so much on how to change organizations, but how to develop organizations that constantly change themselves. In this approach, each employee is a trainer and an agent of change. Remarkably, many of GardnerÆs principles are current todayùparticipative management, self-managed work groups and employees, outcome budgets, empowering the employee, and viewing the citizen as customer/owner. All provide a tool for organizational development in todayÆs public and private organizations. This volume will serve as a valuable guide to managers and consultants practicing organizational change in private and public sectors, at home or abroad. It will serve as an excellent resource to all students of action research methods.
PART ONE: HISTORY AND THEORY OF ACTION TRAINING AND RESEARCH
Background on Development
Action Research in the Study of Organization and Management
The Action Training and Research Cycle for Changing Organizations
PART TWO: AT&R AS A METHOD FOR DEVELOPING CHANGING ORGANIZATIONS: A GUIDE FOR PRACTITIONERS AND PARTICIPANTS