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The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Leadership, Change and Organizational Development by Jonathan Passmore, Arthur M. Freedman, Rachel Lewis, H. Skipton Leonard

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21

Organizational-development Research Interventions: Perspectives from Action Research and Collaborative Management Research

David Coghlan and A.B. (Rami) Shani

21.1 Introduction

At the most basic level, to intervene is to enter into an ongoing system of relationships, to come between or among persons, groups, or objects for the purpose of helping them (Argyris, 1970). An organizational-development (OD) intervention refers to the range of planned, programmatic, and systematic activities intended to help an organization increase its effectiveness (Cummings & Worley, 2009). The process of organizational inquiry is characterized by methods that are based on varied degrees of action and collaboration advanced during the last (and the current) century, each of which seems to emphasize ­distinct scientific, collaborative, or action features (Adler et al., 2004; Coghlan, 2010). A set of interventions that aims at producing knowledge that is robust for scholars and actionable for practitioners may be found in the action modalities of action-research and collaborative-research knowledge streams (Coghlan, 2010; Shani et al., 2008).

In this chapter we take the perspective of OD as action research and collaborative management research and explore how a focus on a collaborative intervention is grounded in an insight into what is required and what any particular OD research intervention ­contributes (Coghlan, 2010). The chapter is structured as follows. First, we ground the issue of selecting an ...

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