Title: Socio-cultural mediated action in action learning for human resource management and human resource development

Authors: Jeff Gold; Roland K. Yeo

Addresses: Leeds Business School, Leeds Metropolitan University, The Rose Bowl, Portland Crescent, Leeds, LS1 3HJ, UK. ' Professional Development Department, Saudi Aramco, P.O. Box 12979, Dhahran 31311, Saudi Arabia; International Graduate School of Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Abstract: The paper explores the efficacy of action from a socio-cultural perspective and reinforces that action and learning are intertwined to produce goal-oriented outcomes. It contributes to the theory of action learning by providing a socio-cultural perspective suggesting that social cognition and interpretive schemes operating in group interaction determine the nature of action taking. Action is conceptualised at the cognitive level as a socio-cultural mediated practice and operates through the ongoing process of sensemaking. The Vygotskian notion of 'tools' - language, psychological and technical - is used as an interpretive device that creates the conditions for unlearning and relearning. Two cases were used to illustrate how participants benefited from reflective and collaborative inquiry through interaction with set members. Vygotskian's action triangle and zone of proximal development offers implications for human resource management (HRM) and human resource development (HRD). Action learning can provide the context for organisations to develop a learning and innovative culture.

Keywords: situated cognition; socio-cultural learning; sensemaking; socio-cultural action; mediated action; efficacy; socio-cultural perspectives; goal-oriented outcomes; social cognition; interpretive schemes; group interaction; mediated practices; Lev Vygotsky; cultural-historical psychology; developmental theories; Vygotskian theory; language; interpretive devices; unlearning; relearning; reflective inquiry; collaborative inquiry; action triangles; proximal development zone; learning cultures; innovative cultures; human resource development; HRD; human resource management; HRM; action learning; organisational practice.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2012.049783

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2012 Vol.12 No.4, pp.329 - 344

Available online: 15 Oct 2012 *

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