From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Action Research and Development Theories Plan[edit]

Action Research for Personal, Group, and Organizationl Development [edit]

1. What is Action Research (AR), its history and major theories in AR:

AR is a way to understand organization and people behaviors on research part. Its theories are used to bring changes in the organization on action part. Currently, four major theories/methods have developed in AR:

    Chris Argyris ’ action science
    William Torbert’s action inquiry
    John Heron's corporative inquiry
    Paulo Freire’s Participatory Action Research 

Model 1 Table[edit]

Model 2 Theory-In-Use[edit]

Major Theories of Action Research [edit]

2. A little detailed information about those 4 theories (about 2~3 paragraphys each)

27 Types of Action Inquiry [edit]

3. Detailed introduction to Prof. Torbert's 27 methods of Social Science Methodology

  1) What is 4 territories
  2) what is 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person research
  2) research space: 3 dimensions - time, practice and voice
  4) how 3 dimensions interweaving into 27 blocks

I got the image work[edit]


Developing Leadership Capacities Through Action Inquiry[edit]

"I have never yet met a man who was quite awake." -- Henry D. Thoreau
Action research not only adds to general knowledge, but also plays a role in people's and organizations' development. People and organizations developing to later action logics become capable of supporting personal and organizational transformations in others.

Leaders at any level will tend to be and to be experienced as more effective to the degree that they can perform, and appropriately interweave, all four of the following different types of leadership (Torbert’s Action Inquiry, 2004):

  1. Respond in a timely way to emergencies or opportunities
  2. Accomplish routine, role-defined responsibilities
  3. Define and implement a major, strategic initiative
  4. Clarify organizational mission and encourage continual improvement of the alignment among mission, strategy, operation and outcomes

These four different types of leadership, and ultimately the power to interweave them well, are explored and mastered gradually, if at all, through first childhood and then adulthood developmental transformations of action-logic (here, we are writing in 1st-person terms of children and adults, but the same may apply analogically to groups and organizations). People at earlier developmental action-logics (Opportunist, Diplomat, Expert – see Table 1 below) tend to focus on one of the four types of leadership style (e.g. the firefighter constantly battling emergencies, the bureaucrat mired in routine, the farsighted strategic planner unaware of the real forces influencing action in the organization). Studies found that those leaders who can interweave all four types of leadership (found only at the today-rare Strategist and Alchemist action-logics) have a better chance to lead organization transformation successfully in the today’s world (Torbert 2004). Therefore, organizational leaders and others who feel called to exercise leadership in whatever realm may become interested in diagnosing what their center-of-gravity developmental action logic is, and may also wish to explore action-logic-transforming practices.

Human beings can transform their action logics through intentional practices at any time during their lives, although historically most people did not continue developing once they reached adulthood. Developmental theory describes 7 sequential action-logics through which events (e.g. a human life, a project, an organization) may evolve. In terms of a human life, these action logics are: Impulsive, Opportunist, Diplomat, Expert, Achiever, Individualist, Strategist, and Alchemist (Rooke & Torbert 2005). Each action logic interprets situations, actions, time, and even the meaning of words differently. Table1 lists 7 developmental action logics along with their typical managerial styles and how they relate to the four territories of experience.

Table 1

Development Stages/Action Logics Four Territories of Experiences Managerial Styles
Opportunist Treats outside world territory of experiences as the primary reality and concentrates on gaining control, uses unilateral power Short term time horizon, focus on concrete things, manipulative
Diplomat Treats own sense/behavior territory as primary and concentrates on self-control, uses referent power Obeys norms, avoids conflict, focuses on weekly/monthly routine tasks
Expert Treats the thinking territory of experience as primary reality and concentrates on mastering a craft or cognitive discipline, uses logistical power Six-month to one-year time horizon; seeks precision and efficiency; supervises closely or not at all
Achiever Treats the interplay among (the three territories of) planning, performing and assessing the outcomes as primary, juggles unilateral, referent, and logistical power, values single loop feedback corrections of action to reach goals One to three year time horizon; seeks effectiveness; consultative, team-and-results-focused style
Individualist Begins to experience territory of attention/intuition/vision; takes a relativistic perspective on, and interweaves, competing personal & organizational action logics in specific situations; experiences self & other transformation Shifts among time horizons from present moment to historical context; coaching and inquiry-based style of leading for unique solutions
Strategist Generates personal, team and organizational transformation by regularly seeking both single-and-double-loop feedback and exercising all forms of power, but with a preference for mutual, vulnerable power Interweaves short term goals with long term strategies, leads organizational transformation thru a balance of authority, mutuality & inquiry
Alchemist Continuously seeks single, double, and triple loop feedback from the four territories of experience Integrates material, societal, and spiritual transformation

Therefore, to develop one’s own or another’s or an organization’s leadership capacities is to encourage action logic transformations, such that leaders can increase their awareness of dangers and opportunities of present moment, of the overall system’s relative effectiveness, and of alternative visions for the future. This involves seeking and welcoming single-, double- and triple-loop feedback about the ongoing interplay among the four territories of experiences. Developmental Action Inquiry highlights how

  1. 1st-person research that exercises our attention to span the four territories of experience during more and more moments can provide a foundation for us to conduct
  2. 2nd-person research on group communication through appropriately timed framing, advocating, illustrating and inquiring such that we increasingly influence
  3. 3rd-person research to improve the alignment among the organization’s or government’s visioning, strategizing, performing and assessing activities.


  • Rooke & Torbert, "Seven Transformations of Leadership", Harvard Business Review, April 2005.
  • Torbert, W. & Associates 2004. Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • K. Kuhnert & P. Lewis, "Transactional and Transformational Leasdership: A Constructive/Developmental Analysis", Academy of Management Review, 1987, Vol. 12.
  • Sherman & Torbert, Transforming Social Inquiry, Transforming Social Action: New paradigms for crossing the theory/practice divide in universities and communities. Boston, Kluwer, 2000.
  • Varela, F. & Shear, J. 1999. The View From Within: First-person approaches to the study of consciousness. Thorverton UK: Imprint Academic
  • Senge, P. et al. 2004. Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future. Cambridge MA: The Society for Organizational Learning

External Links[edit]

need think more about following[edit]

Torbert Kegan Loevinger Kohlber Heron&Reason Argyris

theory comparison table.

See also[edit]

Category:Research Category:Social sciences methodology Category:Social psychology