Literature Synthesis: Insider Action Research

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As defined earlier by Coghlan and Brannick (2010), action research refers to a participatory as well as a democratic process that is concerned with the development of practical knowledge towards the pursuit of effective human purposes. These practices should be based on a participatory overview of the world that action researchers perceive as emerging in the historical period.

Björkman and Sundgren (2005) added that action research strives to formulate participation with other people in the complete pursuit of effective solutions of issues that affect people. Most importantly, action research considers the flourishing of people and their communities (Reason & Bradbury, 2001). Most of the action researchers have undergone challenges as well as organizational politics that have for long being defining their action research designs.

Björkman and Sundgren (2005) discussed the elements of political entrepreneurship as the ability to enhance long-lasting action research practices. The authors used the auto-ethnographic techniques in a way that enhanced evaluation and drawing of inferences from their actions since they were insider researchers. Their paper was drawing an explanation of research theory regarding political entrepreneurship. The two authors found out that political entrepreneurship is a vital determinant of either success or failure in the action research practices.

The findings showed that the repertoire of political entrepreneurship consists of the abilities to find the red-hot issues for action researches. It also comprises the use of insider elements of an organization in the efforts of research actions as well as diffusing those research results. Most importantly, the repertoire of political entrepreneurship plays a vital role in enhancing and working on positioning of the individual’s relational platform. The study by the two authors has been based on the case studies of two firms.

The study offers deep knowledge of organizations that contend to take part in action research and action researchers. The authors also indicate that action research would tend to depend on deep collaboration of working relations existing between the researchers along with the participants. They indicated that the major challenges can be both political along with ethical problems that are encountered during the action researches by both the researchers and participants.

Therefore, the challenges faced by the two researchers in terms of political and organizational researches can play a vital role in formulating a research design. The researchers as well as participants should enhance openness on the extent to which their engagement towards political activities reaches. It has become clear that action research fails to offer similar ethical guarantees regarding both anonymity as well as confidentiality. It also fails to provide ethical guarantees regarding the informed consent along with the protection from any harmful methodologies or designs of action research.

One can chose either to use the quantitative or the qualitative action research design. The two authors have indicated that both researchers and participants should recognize, negotiate as well as discuss the problematic elements before beginning their work. Moore (2007) offers a parallel discussion of the his own experience of taking part in the insider research along with the biblical original sin that was initially committed by both Adam and Eve during a time when they ate the fruit that they were warned about by God.

The author offers a deep examination of his motivation out of his research undertakings and considers the way his determination from the authenticated research questions are onto him as well as on his role as a senior executive and an experienced researcher. He continues to offer a critical discussion of the requirement or the need to have a discovery and development of an interpretation of the distinct of an organizational orthodoxy. The author is also keen on the identification of all the influences that led him to allow the existing inherent conflict of acting as an insider as well as a researcher along with all the consequences that followed him.

It has become clear that combining the two roles brought more problems that he expected indicating that he had to consider a different design for his action research. It was unfortunate that the author found out that he could no longer resolve the entire conflict hence have regrets and hopes that his entire encounter would assist other researchers. He states that researchers should undertake effective action researches within their organizations and ensure that there is complete collaboration with the participants.

The challenges presented in the article would assist me in choosing the best action research design that enhances combination of different practices of an organization. Roth, Shani and Leary (2007) indicated that insider action research should be perceived as a way as well as an end towards the development of new capabilities in an organization. The models developed have easily been used with the AstraZeneca.

The authors have developed a model for new capabilities in an organization development through building on various literatures founded on the elements of business strategy, learning techniques and mechanisms and insider action research. Most importantly, Gummesson (2003) also provide a critical review of similar discussion indicating that the challenges encountered throughout insider action research include the act of linking the insider action research to the business strategies, acting in the political landscape as well as designing and managing the various learning techniques.

Other challenges include management of many roles, pre-understanding and the need to maintain the equilibrium of the opposing forces that are identified in the organization. The authors also provide directions for any required future research in the organizations. The challenges can be used to determine the next course of action in designing an action research in order to avoid such challenges in future.


Björkman, H. & Sundgren, M. (2005). Political entrepreneurship in action research: learning from two cases. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 18 (5), pp.399-415.

Coghlan, D. & Brannick, T. (2010). Doing action research in your own organization. 3rd ed. London: Sage.

Gummesson, E. (2003). All research is interpretive! Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 18 (6/7), pp.482-492.

Moore, B. (2007). Original sin and insider research. Action Research, 5 (1), pp.27-39.

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.). (2001). Handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice. London: Sage Publications.

Roth, J., Shani, A.B. (Rami) & Leary, M. (2007). Insider action research: facing the challenge of new capability development within a biopharma company. Action Research, 5 (1), pp.41-60.

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Written by Administrator on Wednesday February 7, 2018

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