Action research and organizational learning in a Nordic context

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The purpose of this paper is to examine how action research has developed in the Nordic countries and to demonstrate how it can contribute to organizational learning in a Nordic context. The overall argument of this paper is that action research seems to resonate very well with the historical and cultural traditions that characterize many organizations in the Nordic countries. The paper argues that these organizations appear to be responsive to working with organizational learning through action research due to the overall dialogical and participatory principles that characterize action research.

The overall approach of the study is based on action research and the paper is structured as a theoretical introduction to the field followed by two case-based research projects. The first case illustrates how action research, as an inquiry for organizational learning, can be set in motion by initiatives taken in an educational context, while the second case illustrates how a larger action research project can lead to organizational learning through active involvement of both employees and managers.

The findings and primary argument of the paper is that action research, based on dialogue and active involvement, appears to resonate very well with the traditions in Nordic organizations and therefore appears to be relatively easy to apply in this region.

The originality of the paper is that it does not only discuss the theme from a historical and theoretical point of view, but also demonstrates the central points through two illustrative cases based on the authors’ own research.
TidsskriftThe Learning Organization
StatusIkke-udgivet - 2021