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Effective Action Learning Sets: An analysis of participant experiences

By Annie Yeadon-Lee

Abstract

This thesis examines an under researched area in the field of action learning: how learning set participants experience action learning and the effectiveness of action learning sets. Through the adoption of a qualitative research approach, which utilised unstructured interviews with learning set members and employed a grounded theory approach to analysis, the thesis thus provides a unique insight into action learning practices and group processes, the latter significantly adding to knowledge in the field of organisational behavior. The research presented, which traces the connections between the research process, methodology and the ongoing development of analysis, also adds to existing knowledge in organisational research methods.\ud \ud \ud Within the thesis, a number of significant issues concerning group processes within action learning sets are discussed. Through analysis of the data it is shown that differing hierarchies exist amongst set members and that these affect the contribution that individual members make to the operations in the set. Furthermore, trust is shown to be vital to the effective working of the set, with members needing to feel psychologically and politically safe before they will self disclose. Finally, member’s self disclosure is revealed to be located on a continuum ranging from comfort to discomfort, with a possibility that some set members may actively engage in dissimulation as a way of reducing cognitive dissonance in self disclosure.\ud \ud \ud Analysis within the thesis also provides a unique insight into action learning practices. A discussion of the findings reveals several significant issues in relation to both set members and facilitators. These include the effect of the location of the set, member’s expectations of the facilitator’s role and the extent to which these expectations accord with the facilitator’s style of facilitation. Analysis of this latter point directly adds to the body of literature concerning the skills of facilitators in action learning sets

Topics: H1, L1, ZA4050
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:9092
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