Title: Action research in collaborative improvement

Authors: Rick Middel, David Coghlan, Paul Coughlan, Louis Brennan, Tim McNichols

Addresses: Department of Technology and Organisation, University of Twente, 7500 AE Enschede, P.O. Box 217, Enschede, The Netherlands. ' School of Business Studies, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. ' School of Business Studies, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. ' School of Business Studies, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. ' School of Business Studies, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Abstract: There is an increasing need to apply and transfer continuous improvement (CI) to inter-organisational processes. As such collaborative improvement (CoI) is emerging as a new concept within managerial literature and practice. This paper begins with a discussion on the logic and value of applying action research (AR) in empirical research in the field of CI and CoI to contribute to both theory and practice. It introduces the theory and characteristics of AR and describes the implementation of an AR process in an inter-organisational setting through the adoption of an AR model. Finally, it discusses the generation of theory through AR and concludes that AR is relevant and valid in research on CI and CoI as it contributes both to concerns of practitioners and the body of knowledge.

Keywords: action research; research methodology; continuous improvement; collaborative improvement; inter-organisational processes.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2006.008192

International Journal of Technology Management, 2006 Vol.33 No.1, pp.67 - 91

Published online: 22 Nov 2005 *

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