Action Learning, Innovation and Change

In the recent past there have been rapid improvements in technology as well as responsiveness to the needs of clientele which has led to innovation in almost all industries. However, processes in management of the classical modernization or innovation have not been able to meet the expectations of its users as well as different organizations in today’s economic environment. Standard processes for innovation that have been used for instance, by the Stage Gate, and also A-F innovation are purely linear processes. Linear processes are in away structured and directed via the control of different phases by a professional. It is important to remember that action learning mainly emphasizes on the safety and targets, instead on the clients and other stakeholders. This essay will be providing some factual information concerning the application of a powerful tool known as the Action Learning (AL) model, skills, and methods; that can be used in the organizational growth and transformation. it is important to remember that Action Learning is not a new idea, and it neither widely known nor understood by the practitioners of the of the Organizational Development and Change, which is widely being referred to as the OD&C. this paper will also provide proper explanation of what Action Learning is, it will also provide a proper definition Team Coaching for the Action Learning. Furthermore, this paper will contrast and compare these disciplines that have been mentioned above with the consultation in management (Carmeli, Gelbard & Gefen, 2010).

Action Learning

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Action learning refers to a process in a small team whose aim is to allow the members of the team to get solution to real issues in the right time and at the same time enhancing the capacity of the members of the team. It offers team members to develop a capacity that would enable them to learn about themselves, to participate in problem solving process, decision making, dynamics in an inter-group, as well as organisations as dynamics. Most importantly to note is that as the team members are becoming well acquainted with Action Learning Theory, and also grasping of skills for using its methods of examination and reflection, they unequivocally make use of their acquired skills beyond the Action Learning Theory. Firstly, the team members are supposed to use their developmental abilities between the Action Learning Theory meetings, when engaging people and groups who are interested in the issue that is being analyzed. The more they are acquiring these competencies, most of the members of the team tend to be risk-takers and then experiment by applying Action Learning in completing the schedule work errands.  The more the team members are and their colleagues are recognizing the effectiveness of these new ideas; they would start supporting one another as they make use the Action Learning Theory and other methods to determine the organizational issues. To realize the desired outcomes, the parties that are involved should understand how to apply the Action Learning model to the urgent problems in organizations. It has also been discovered that in an area where there is a clear and specific goal, and the solution is properly known and grounded, the Action Learning would be counterproductive. Rather, they would discover that already there solution is normally the best in those circumstances (Abbott & Weiss, 2016).

Management of Changes in an Organization

            To conclusively deal with great problems and opportunities and address these issues on a long-term basis, organizations should be ready to adopt changes. Significant changes need a strong and supple leadership, innovation and solution to problems, efficient and continuous coaching, accountable and committed employees, and an effective team performance. All of these are as a result of Action Learning. Should the proposed change fail to materialize, it is always because the leaders had attempted to implement a given procedure to get a solution to a complex or an ambiguous problem, in a manner that suggests that the organization would be there long enough for the procedure to be completed. Nonetheless, organizations are ambiguous and robust systems, currently more than ever. The leaders of the organization should understand this, learn from it and should be ready to adapt. Those kinds of leaders can only be developed through an Action Learning. Other researches have constantly shown that successful change and long-lasting changes in the organizations needs a recurrent commitment and people’s participation in those organizations. Action Learning is ideally powerful in drawing out the clear opinions, requirements and needs from people during the change process. If the employees are made to feel that they are understood and regarded, they are more than willing to participate in the change process (Abbott & Weiss,2016).

Sources of the Need for Change in the Organization

Changes in the organization are initiated in very many different ways. To begin with, the change is normally being driven by the expression of dissatisfaction with how things currently are. The dissatisfaction may be internationally expressed through reduction in the revenues, reduction in the profit margins; employees are not properly feeling satisfied, and turnover. There are numerous ways for which given points in the organizational changes may be discovered in different ways which include: surveys, audits, changes in regulatory requirements, and the focus groups. The process may be focused on such issues like repairing and replacing an asset that is not efficiently working as expected; taking advantage of new propping opportunities; or better still managing constant dilemmas. While dealing with some unprecedented issues, organizations do find themselves in untested waters; that is to say that their existing tools for solving these problems are not effective. Organisations have discovered that they should buy or come up with new ideas and skills to keep up with unfamiliar problems (Abbott & Weiss, 2016).

The Concept of Action Learning

            Most of the things that people think about and do are limited by what they normally fail to notice. There are numerous ways for which the concept of Action Learning can be expressed: as a method for both organizational and individual development. Action learning is also based on small groups of workmates that regularly meet to discuss real issues so as to get things done. There are scholars that have claimed that Action Learning provides the chance for unlearning; where members can discover for themselves where their current beliefs concerning the management and the design of work are flawed, and can be proved in a systematic manner. There are some experts who have presented their views on what they term as the flaw in Action Learning. There have also been some trials to discover the relationship that exist between Leans as a method for improving the initiated projects. Nonetheless, the major question that has always stood out is that: suppose the Action Learning is not only developing distinct set of members or their personal place in the arrangement, but also takes into account the establishment of a vast system, partnerships among the stakeholders, working jointly for a collective decision making; would this kind of idea support the innovation to succeed? This question remained unresolved for many years, until it was introduced in a certain seminar, where the concept of Action Learning was introduced. This seminar was organised by The Chambers of Commerce in Graz Austria in the year 2013. During the seminar I was expounding on the model by one Grint, which is about definitions of the problem. One of the people who participated in the seminar pointed out that it was a disclosure to him that problems that are being described as being wicked in his company’s product innovation; could have been addressed by a vastly dispersed style of leadership through sets of Action Learning. This participant further explained that involvement of a vast range of the stakeholders could make it possible for him to do things differently instead of doing things differently (Carmeli, Gelbard & Gefen, 2010).

Definition of the Term Innovation

            According to Carmeli, Gelbard & Gefen (2010), innovation is defined as having the ability to come up with a new idea. Nevertheless, the term innovation may as well be viewed as a submission of better solutions that would be able to meet the new requirements, needs that have not been articulated, or better still in the existing markets. Innovativeness can be accomplished via more effectual processes, services, products, technologies, or any other business models that are readily available to the markets, society and governments. It is important to remember that innovation may as well be defined as something that is quite original, and is more efficient and, as a result, a new idea that is trying to penetrate existing market. The term innovation is closely related to, but does not resemble invention. It is also important to note that innovation consists of practical execution of an invention. Innovation can be linked to the Action Learning in a number of ways to make a process to be more appealing.

Diffusing of Innovation with the Action Learning

The use of Action Learning as away of developing and sustaining an organization that is in a learning process is a critical innovation. There are some scholars like Rodgers who are of the opinion that innovation diffusion do take place via five-step procedures that flows through channels of communication over a given period of time among the members of the organizations. These procedures include: knowledge or awareness, persuasion or interest, decision or evaluation, implementation or trial, and also confirmation or adoption. The percentage of adopters may differ, but the outcome would reach a vital mass that normally takes place when the required individuals have adopted the innovation so as to ensure that it is accepted and it is utilized in a self-sustaining manner. Most importantly to remember is that there are two distinct principles that can facilitate the process of diffusion. Firstly, the opinion-shapers are quite vital in dispersal of positive or negative information concerning an innovation process. These leaders of opinion are normally dominant during the decision-making or the stage of assessment of the process of innovation decisions. Secondly, the champions should assist an innovation and remove obstacles or break-through the opposition that might be provoked through introduction of the innovation. Action Learning would enhance the learners’ ability to be innovative in everything that they are doing in their day to day lives (Abbott & Weiss,2016).

How Is Action Learning Linked To Innovation

Innovation starts with invention of new ideas. Innovation is linked to action learning in a number of ways. Some experts have pointed out that most students to acquire knowledge by doing things practically. Learning through action would enable the learners to grasp the idea or the concept that they are being introduced to with a lot of ease. Action Learning is quite appropriate in those situations that do appear to be complex, and the desired outcome seems to be vague. In addition to that, action learning is quite appropriate for the situations that are not clear and as a result there is a great need for innovativeness among the learners. It has been further pointed out that the problem should be complicated t offer the much needed opportunities for the purposes of building knowledge (Abbott & Weiss,2016).

Difficulties that are Associated with Action Learning

            There are some difficulties that are associated with the Action Learning; however, the problems are not with the method of Action Learning. The first difficulty or problem with the Action Learning is referred to as roller coaster; the reason being that no matter amount of words that are used to describe the roller coaster, it cannot approximate the real experience. The other difficulty is with the achievement of the enhanced performance and environmental compatibility. The other difficulty with the Action learning is about development of the new relation among the clients (Abbott & Weiss,2016).

Critical Analysis of the Journal: Doing Different Things or Doing Things Different

            Although the article has keenly highlighted the idea of doing things differently or doing things differently; there are some people who have criticized the journal. There are some scholars that have been able to point out some of the shortcomings that are there about the article. For instance, the authors have not properly demonstrated how the Action Learning and the innovation process are connected. The authors have not also clearly described how Action learning would lead to unlearning by the learners in the article. The authors have also not been able to shade more light on the example three that have been used as a case study. The authors used a civil engineering company that had a legally protected market. However, the authors failed to realize that the company was gradually losing its market share. The major challenge with the case study that has been mentioned in the journal has not been well presented by the authors. The authors have been criticized for having been failed to properly explain this idea in a depth manner. There are also some scholars that have argued that despite the fact that the process of Action learning seem to be more radical than incremental, this itself seems to be challenging phenomenon to the facilitators. It is due to the fact that it is an uphill task to convince those managers who seems to be skeptical about an idea that is being presented to the organization (Abbott & Weiss,2016).


            Ideally, Action Learning has taken the world and other organizations with a bang. Action learning has proven to be quite reliable when it comes to solving some of the issues or problems that seems to ne quite ambiguous and is quite complex to be understood. Action Learning enables the learners to grasp what they are being taught with lot of ease without many problems as they are learning things practically. It is important to remember that action learning mainly emphasizes on the safety and targets, instead on the clients and other stakeholders. The concept of AL has also been blended with the innovation. Furthermore, there are scholars that have claimed that Action Learning provides the chance for unlearning; where members can discover for themselves where their current beliefs concerning the management and the design of work are flawed, and can be proved in a systematic manner. Finally, there are numerous ways for which given points in the organizational changes may be discovered in different ways which include: surveys, audits, changes in regulatory requirements, and the focus groups. It is also important to remember that action learning has got its difficulties. All in all Action learning is quite critical for learning in those circumstances that seem to be complex, and appears to be vague.





















Abbott, C., & Weiss, M. (2016). Doing different things or doing things different: exploring the role of action learning in innovation. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 13(1), 41-49.

Carmeli, A., Gelbard, R., & Gefen, D. (2010). The importance of innovation leadership in cultivating strategic fit and enhancing firm performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(3), 339-349.



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