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Organisational Boundary Work: Action Research inside and outside Higher Education
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health, Social Work and Behavioural Sciences, School of Education, Psychology and Sport Science. (Arbetslivspedagogik, Professionsforskning)
2010 (English)In: / [ed] Professor Jacques Boulet, Melbourne, Australia: ALARA Journal , 2010Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In 2008, an assistant head of preschool in a municipality in Sweden approached my university to enquire about courses in AR. She intended to introduce AR as a means of organisational learning in preschools throughout her municipality. There were no courses on offer but I was about to wrap up my doctoral thesis, which was rooted in (feminist) action research as a methodology. An emphatic dialogue on course design ensued, and in September 2009, a one-year part-time AR course started with initially thirty participants. Many challenges needed addressing. For one, the limiting context of higher education with its traditional stance on course work and modes of examination posed problems that called for pragmatic solutions that would still honour the participatory spirit of AR. Furthermore, I wanted to pay close attention to ethical and epistemological issues by incorporating these in the course syllabus and subject matter for AR. Also, my role as a teacher in HE needed continuous de-dramatising so that the participants would be able to trust me. Prior to the AR course, most of the participants had been made project leaders by said assistant head, in order to implement systematic quality control in their respective organisations. There were considerable expectations of what this course could do to enhance organisational development in their respective organisational settings. Some otherwise questionable aspects could be successfully handled, such as granting an academic outsider partial power over a course in HE, stretching academic boundaries and thereby trying the patience of my superiors, as well as emphasising learning processes rather than learning outcomes for a certain course module. I will illustrate sometimes controversial aspects of a course in AR in HE, give examples of  participants’ well-documented learning experiences, and their concrete organisational AR projects outside the AR course, and how such projects and learning experiences can feed back into an AR course. In conclusion, the necessity of organisational boundary work, both inside and outside HE, will be addressed, and some theoretical perspectives, such as feminist pragmatism, will be suggested for further discussion of an AR course in an HE setting.Keywords: AR, Higher Education, Organisational Development, Learning Processes, Ethics, Feminist Pragmatism

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Melbourne, Australia: ALARA Journal , 2010.
Keywords [en]
Action Research, Higher Education, Organisational Development, Learning Processes, Ethics, Feminist Pragmatism
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Pedagogics; Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Pedagogics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-6749OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-6749DiVA, id: diva2:329284
Conference
Action Learning, Action Research, ALARA World Congress 2010
Available from: 2010-07-09 Created: 2010-07-08 Last updated: 2011-03-21Bibliographically approved

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Gillberg, Claudia

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Citation style
  • apa
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