Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 465–484

Working Within Organizational Cycles—A More Suitable Way to Manage Action Research Projects in Large Organizations?

  • John Molineux
  • Tim Haslett


This article proposes that action research projects in a large business context may need to fit within organizational funding and political cycles. It outlines some of the problems that may occur in attempting to implement an action research project in a large organization. It gives a case study of such a project that aimed to introduce a systemic human resource strategy to bring about organizational cultural change. Part way through the completion of the project the cycle changed, funds were cut, and the project was abolished, although significant portions of it had been implemented and other parts were later reestablished. The article establishes a link to punctuated equilibrium theory in exploring the political and funding cycles that influenced the decision to cut funding. It considers whether this could have been foreseen, and gives some recommendations for future action research projects.

action research action research cycles systems thinking causal loop diagramming punctuated equilibrium organizational cycles 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Molineux
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tim Haslett
    • 3
  1. 1.Human Resources ConsultantAustralian Public ServiceMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of ManagementMonash UniversityAustralia
  3. 3.Department of ManagementMonash UniversityCaulfieldAustralia

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