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Article
The Management Science as a Practical Field: In Support of Action Research
The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management (2006)
  • Dariusz Jemielniak, Kozminski University
Abstract
The paper considers the implications of treating management as academic field, its consequent losing direct link to the practice in spite of the dire need for knowing-how orientation in business education, and the potential of action learning to fill this gap. Management since its inception has been, as all young disciplines, related to practice, originally being even perceived as an engineering subdivision (Boje and Winsor, 1993; Shenhav, 1999). Recently, there has been a growing concern that bringing new ideas to business world and solving its real life problems is a promise Academia makes, but cannot fulfill (Czarniawska, 1994). Also, relations between academics and practitioners, although exist, are loose (Barley, Meyer and Gash, 1988). On the other hand, it should be noted that traditional Academia has been cultivating the impractical science tradition for years, equaling practice and ‘knowing-how’ with unscientific approach (Schön, 1984; Greenwood and Lewin, 2001). In spite of this, there is an ongoing demand for management education and the universities are being trusted with providing its alumni with conceptual tools to deal with the complex word of real business. However, the standards for this education are under serious scrutiny now (Bennis and O’Toole, 2005; Policano, 2005). The relation between practice and management teaching is questioned, and the typical “practice-oriented” teaching methods are doubted (Watson, 2001 Czarniawska, 2003). Therefore in this paper the usefulness of action learning and participative action research, as alternatives to the traditional model in management education are discussed. Action learning is presented as a method strictly related to practice (emerging from it by definition), but also forming a strong methodological alternative to the old-school academic teaching and researching model (Levin and Greenwood, 2001; Coghlan, 2003; Coghlan and Brannick, 2003; Huxham and Vangen, 2003).
Keywords
  • Action Research in management
Publication Date
2006
Citation Information
Jemielniak, Dariusz (2006) The Management Science as a Practical Field: In Support of Action Research, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, vol. 6(3), pp. 163-170