Original Paper

Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 245-272

First online:

Communicative Action through Collaborative Inquiry: Journey of a Facilitating Co-Inquirer

  • Nada K. KakabadseAffiliated withManagement and Business Research Northampton Business School, The University of Northampton
  • , Andrew P. KakabadseAffiliated withInternational Management Development, Cranfield School of Management Cranfield Email author 
  • , Kalu N. KaluAffiliated withAuburn University Montgomery, Department of Political Science & Public Administration

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As complex and rapidly changing organisational contexts present a significant challenge for the management and organisational development of professionals, this paper explores a particular journey of one facilitator/co-inquirer (participant) in a collaborative inquiry (CI) intervention driving culture change within the UK's Civil Service. Through such experience it is argued that CI represents an intensive and effective inquiry based change strategy involving collaborative interaction between the co-inquiring facilitator and client. The philosophical history and richness of CI is explored as a prelude to outlining the learning and development of the co-inquirers involved in this project and the observed impact of CI on the organisation. Of note is that over an extended period of time, the facilitator assumes the two roles of inquirer and subject of inquiry, and through such a dual responsibility, gains a deeper understanding of the challenges they face and the nature of the solutions that would require further attention. It is concluded that co-inquirers effectively contribute both to scientific knowledge and the solving of real life practical problems.


Collaborative inquiry Action inquiry Participatory philosophy Critical knowledge Emancipator change CI journey EARP group Dialogue Reflexivity