ORGL-690: Organizational Theory, Application and Adaptation.
Course pedagogy provided a space for applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating by using the action research (AR) process ways to address challenges with local community partners in a distributed model of academic service learning. Action Research creates and measures long-term sustainable change by using a collaborative process with solutions that benefit all those involved. Class objectives included 1) understanding the theory behind the action research process and the complex nature of a challenge that faces your community partner 2) apply a data collection process and analyze the data, evaluate the alternatives to create a formal presentation and overview for long-term sustainable change 3) reflect on your learning and discoveries which include actions that had the greatest impact and why; if actions failed, why, and the implications and contributions to my work.
Participatory Action Learning and Action Research (PALAR) is “actively creative, innovative, collaborative, shared and self-developed in partnership with others. It involves taking responsibility for, not control over, people through networking, and orchestrating human energy towards a holistic vision and an outcome that best serves the common interest. A good PALAR process is one in which action leadership can emerge from anywhere in the group; and leaders and followers are often changing places if all are to learn. Action leaders are passionate; they inspire, and help an idea to cascade to other people like a spark taking flame…” (James, Slater & Bucknam, 2012).
Through the context of this course I recognized the value of how Action Research integrates within project development. Course pedagogy provided the skills necessary for me to grow a volunteer Ambassador Program training and supporting parent-graduate volunteers in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit's nationwide. The process of Action Research invites leaders to do research and make leadership decisions knowing that at specific intervals one must step back and review the original decisions for modification or application. In growing the national volunteer program I included within the Strategic Plan time and opportunity to reflect and review the effectiveness and efficiency of the program on a three-month cycle four times per year. This cautious, consistent pattern allowed strategic change-oriented growth to be embedded within the program. As changes were made it became culturally acceptable and welcome among volunteers.
Due to the confidential nature of the relationship I have with the organization I served I have decided not to make public my researched findings.
Cawsey, T. F., Deszca, G., Ingols, C., & Cawsey, T. F. (2012). Organizational change: An action-oriented toolkit. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
James, E. A., Slater, T., & Bucknam, A. (2012). Action research for business, nonprofit, & public administration: A tool for complex times. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.