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A Problem-Solving Culture in the Workplace

Challenges and opportunities that conducting action research in your workplace is likely to raise for you

The potential challenges of conducting action research in my workplace is likely to create for me include the need to combine my action research role with my regular organizational role. This role duality, according to Coghlan (2001) can lead to role ambiguity and conflict. Moreover, it will require me to effectively handle the underlying political dynamics within the organization (Brannick and Coghlan, 2007).  The potential opportunities that conducting action research in my workplace is likely to present to me include personal learning and organizational learning (Coghlan, 2001).

  1. Type of action research that you plan to carry out in your organization

The types of action research that I will carry out in my organization include collaborative action research. This is a type of action research which involves a study team of two or more researchers. In this type of action research, each member of the study team will be responsible for a different aspect of a common issue. The reason why I identify collaborative action research as an ideal action research is the fact that it provides the opportunity for achieving diversity (Cassell and Johnson, 2006). I will also seek to pursue participatory action research which is a research approach that puts an emphasis to participation and action (Greenwood, Whyte and Harkavy, 1993).

  1. Purposes of action research

Action research is a means of solving workplace-based problem and is also a way of contributing to knowledge. These ideas are complementary because problem solving involves bridging the gap between the way things are at present, and how they ought to be. In addition, a problem can be defined as a present unsatisfactory condition or state that needs to be changed to a desired state. Another aspect of a problem is that it prevents an organization from achieving a desired or expected goal or standard. Problem solving is part of decision making and involves making a choice between two or more options. Therefore, solving workplace-based problem and contributing to knowledge are not in conflict but complementary. Problems should not be allowed to linger. It is imperative to address them when they occur. This is an ideal strategy as opposed to waiting for issues to get better or work themselves out. The idea of solving problems therefore adds to knowledge that the organization can apply when faced with such problems in the future (McNiff, 2016), and action research plays a critical role in solving workplace problems and contributing to research.

  1. How these ideas will inform my approach to research and approach to workplace problem-solving

In the future, I will seek to refine or improve my actions in the face of a problem through conducting action research. I find action research as a particularly empowering experience since it presents many positive effects for many reasons. One of these reasons is the fact that action research is often relevant to the participants (Mills, 2000). This relevance is created by the fact that it is I as the researcher who will determine the focus for each research project. Moreover, it is also an empowering experience since as the researcher; I will be the primary consumer of the findings (McNiff, 2013). Through action research, I will be able to improve the quality of the organization as it will help me collect data, diagnose problems and also search for solutions.




Brannick, T., & Coghlan, D. (2007). In defense of being “native”: The case for insider academic research. Organizational research methods. 10(1): 59-74.

Cassell, C. & Johnson, P. (2006) ‘Action research: explaining the diversity’, Human Relations. 59 (6):783-814

Coghian, D. (2001). Insider Action Research Projects Implications for Practising Managers. Management Learning. 32(1): 49-60.

Coghlan, D., & Brannick, T. (2014). Doing action research in your own organization. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Greenwood, D. J., Whyte, W. F., & Harkavy, I. (1993). Participatory action research as a process and as a goal. Human Relations. 46(2): 175-192.

McNiff, J. (2013). Action research: Principles and practice. London: Routledge.

McNiff, J. (2016). You and your action research project. London: Routledge.

Mills, G. E. (2000). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher. Prentice-Hall, Inc., One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458.