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Action learning dissertations: structure, supervision and examination

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In qualification programmes based on action learning, there has hitherto been little articulation of what is particular to research dissertations undertaken in an action learning mode. This article addresses the questions of what such a dissertation entails and how it can be undertaken, supervised and examined. It discusses some of the foundations of action learning research and how accounts of practice may be integrated with reflection. It suggests that an action learning dissertation may be framed around Revans' Systems Alpha, Beta and Gamma as interlocking systems that address the investigation of the problem on which the dissertation is based, its resolution and the learning of the participant. A blueprint is presented that incorporates four elements: (i) the work and organisation and the participant's engagement with it, (ii) the action learning set and what the participant learned through it, (iii) the information and literature which have made a difference to the participant's thinking and (iv) the personal and professional learning of the participant.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Business Studies, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland 2: Henley Management College, Oxfordshire, UK

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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