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The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change: Principles, Practices, and Perspectives, 2nd Edition by Michael Brazzel, Brenda B. Jones

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CHAPTER FOURACTION RESEARCH IN ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENTHistory, Methods, Implications, and New Developments

David Kiel

“If you want to understand a system, try to change it.”

—Kurt Lewin

Definitions and Overview

The above quotation and its reverse (“If you want to change a system, try to understand it”) are brief summaries of the idea of action research (AR). This chapter argues that the ethos, methods, and contributions of AR are central to the practice of organization development. While AR has wide applications outside of organizations (i.e., in communities, neighborhoods, broader social systems, informal networks, families, and individuals) the focus of this chapter is on the role of AR in organizations and in OD. Here are some defining ...

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