Action Leadership

Towards a Participatory Paradigm

  • Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxix
  2. Conceptual Framework for PALAR

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
      Pages 23-56
    3. Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
      Pages 57-72
    4. Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
      Pages 73-106
  3. Action Leadership Development and Applications

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 107-107
    2. Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
      Pages 109-138
    3. Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
      Pages 139-186
    4. Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
      Pages 187-219
    5. Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
      Pages 221-233
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 235-258

About this book


Action leadership is a creative, innovative, collaborative and self-developed way to lead. It eschews the hierarchical structure usually associated with leadership and is based instead on the democratic values of freedom, equality, inclusion and self-realization. It take responsibility for, not control over, people through networking and orchestrating human energy towards a holistic outcome that benefits the common interest. Action leaders are passionate people who abide by the motto that “Learning does not mean to fill a barrel but rather to ignite a flame” in others. And in this time of rapid economic, political, technological, social and ecological changes, action leadership and action leaders are precisely what’s needed to improve how people and organizations engage constructively to address the myriad complex issues challenging society at all levels.

 Action Leadership: Towards a Participatory Paradigm explains and illustrates how action leadership can be developed through participatory action learning and action research (PALAR). It addresses real-life issues by people who choose to work collaboratively towards shared goals while developing their learning, insights, knowledge, people skills and personal relationships through involvement in a PALAR project. The book provides a conceptual framework for action leadership and for the integrative, practical theory of PALAR; and examples of applications in higher education, management education for organization development, and community development. Readers are encouraged to adopt, adapt and further develop the evolving concepts of action leadership and PALAR in a participatory paradigm of learning, research and development.

This powerful work of scholarship represents one of the most important books on learning and leadership in a long time. Ortun Zuber-Skerritt proves once again why she is arguably the most trusted and experienced voice on action learning and action research in the world today.  Her real strength lies in the capacity to intelligently synthesize complex literatures and constructs and, in the process, generate fresh concepts – like action leadership – not only to advance theory but to improve the practice of education in troubled contexts.  All of this is done by placing human actors at the centre of the change agenda.  Amidst the cacophony of voices on educational change, this is one book worth recommending to learners and leaders alike, often the same people.

Jonathan Jansen, author of Knowledge in the Blood: Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past (2009), and Vice-Chancellor, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


ALAR Action Learning Action Research Leadership Development PALAR Professional Development academic staff development action leadership community development leadership in developing countries learner-centred knowledge creation lifelong learning management development organization development participatory action learning and action research

Authors and affiliations

  • Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
    • 1
  1. 1.BrisbaneAustralia

Bibliographic information