Original Paper

Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 97-104

First online:

Action Learning and Action Research (ALAR): A Methodological Integration in an Inter-Organizational Setting

  • David CoghlanAffiliated withSchool of Business, Trinity College Email author 
  • , Paul CoughlanAffiliated withSchool of Business, Trinity College

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The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how action learning and action research were used concurrently as a single ALAR methodology in one research project which focused on collaborative improvement in the supply chain. The research in which the ALAR methodology was used was a European Union funded research project called CO-IMPROVE which sought to develop a business model, supported by a web-based software system, and action learning-based implementation guidelines to support the design, implementation and ongoing development of collaborative improvement between partners in Extended Manufacturing Enterprises (EMEs). The article describes how the participating managers worked in an action learning to achieve their commercial objectives and how action research was used by academic researchers to consolidate the action learning processes and to generate actionable knowledge.


Action learning Action research ALAR Extended manufacturing enterprise Inter-organizational dynamics CO-IMPROVE