Action learning is not merely a paradigm that resides in the minds of individuals; it is a powerful and practical methodology that can be used in a wide array of settings to promote in-depth learning and reflective action-taking. More importantly, action learning operates by means of real problems and complex social relations to bring about the reflective and collaborative experience of learners. As such, the primary aim of this Special Issue is to promote debate and discussion on the application of action learning in solving problems, developing leaders, building teams, and transforming organizations. It therefore seeks to illuminate the impact and relevance that action learning brings to organizational practice, providing a platform for scholars to examine the distinctiveness of action learning from the perspective of human resource development (HRD) and human resource management (HRM).
HRD is a concept that elucidates learning as a holistic experience based on the action-oriented behavioural change that operates at the individual, group, and organizational levels. Such a change is facilitated by both planned and systematic interventional activities aimed at unleashing human expertise through a range of learning techniques and strategies for the purpose of improving work performance. HRD is also concerned about learning that occurs through informal patterns of interaction and unplanned actions. Hence, the conceptual and practical interrelations between action learning and HRD are immense, providing the opportunity for this Special Issue to capture some of the forefront thinking on these two distinct yet mutually implicating areas.
The relevance of action learning to HRM is also underpinned by the different levels of learning that surface when individuals engage in different mental frames of references for solving complex organizational issues and interconnecting them through wider contexts. Action learning can thus be used to solve emerging problems that confront HRM both functionally and strategically. Hence, as much as HRD is concerned about human development, HRM provides a more macro perspective on employee relations and the deployment of employees to achieve optimal organizational outcomes.
This Special Issue builds on an infamous quote by Reg Revans (1998, p. 83), that “there can be no learning without action and no action without learning”, suggesting that understanding comes from the act of doing something, elevating the state of knowing and remembering. It is with this motivation that this Special Issue seeks to invite scholars to act on their interest in action learning as well as HRD and HRM to develop new ideas and paradigms that will extend the repertoire of learning theories.
Revans, R. (1998) ABC of Action Learning, Lemos and Crane, London.
Topics include but are not limited to:
- Management development
- Management education
- Training and development
- Reflective practice
- Self-managed teams
- Team building
- Coaching and mentoring
- Self-directed learning
- Knowledge sharing and management
- Organizational learning
- Problem solving and decision making
- Innovative processes
- Competence development
- Employee relations
- Wellness and work-life balance
- Career development
- Motivation and rewards
- Talent selection and management
- Performance management
- Workforce planning
Submission deadline: 31 August 2011
Reviews by: 31 October 2011
Camera ready paper due: 31 December 2011