Implementing Organizational Change Using Action Research in Two Asian Cultures
Authors: Shankar Sankaran, Madhu Ranjan
Keywords: organizational change, action research, project management, doctoral research, Asian culture
This paper is based on organizational change projects implemented by two managers, the authors of this paper, who used action research in their own organizations for their doctoral studies. Both projects used action learning and action science concepts as a subset of the overall action research intervention, although not explicitly in the second project. One project was carried out to prepare the engineering division of a Japanese multinational company in Singapore to expand its capability to carry out global projects by making large-scale changes in its structure and processes. The other project was carried out in a very large Indian bureaucracy to introduce total quality management in one part of this organization. This paper will first introduce the concepts of action research, action learning, and action science in management research. The two research projects will then be described. This will be followed by the two researchers comparing their projects and reflecting on what changes they would make to the strategies they used in their projects if they were to do this all over again. The paper will conclude with recommendations for project managers who may want to use action research to implement organizational change projects.