We propose a framework for viewing action research (AR) by considering the level of criticality and the emphasis on methodological process. Specifically, we propose conventional AR, critical AR, and dialogic AR as three broad categories for considering AR. This framework is explored through discussing the philosophical foundations upon which these approaches rest and providing examples of AR studies and conceptual writings in the organizational change and development literature. This literature appears to be dominated by perspectives and discourses close to the conventional AR paradigm, which does not actively acknowledge value stances. A central point of the article is that dialogic AR, informed by pragmatic philosophy and philosophical hermeneutics, represents an emerging, promising perspective. Dialogic AR’s primary concern is to create understanding and mutual learning in and through dialogue while also leading to practical solutions. Practical implications of dialogic AR are also considered, in particular the conditions that need to be present for critical dialogue to flourish and the organizational realities that prevent such dialogue.
Githens, R. P.
Toward a reframing of action research for human resource and organization development Moving beyond problem solving and toward dialogue.
Action Research, 8(3), 267–292.