Insider Action Research: Method of Business Management

Subject: Sciences
Pages: 6
Words: 1707
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD

Literature Synthesis


Action research remains a complex phenomenon, which implies the necessity of modification and introduction of the adjustments in the organization. Nonetheless, it is evident that challenges have a tendency to exist. The articles and publications, which were chosen for the literature synthesis, imply my understanding of the principles of the insider action research. The primary goal of this assignment is to evaluate the challenges and organizational politics, which the researchers have to face during the implementation, and determine their critical influences on the formation of my research design.

Literature Synthesis

The primary goal of the literature synthesis is to determine the fundamental features of the insider action research and the critical challenges, which the researcher might face during the process of implementation. In the book Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization, Coghlan and Brannick imply that the insider research involves the actions of the internal member of the organization (2014). Nonetheless, the number of challenges has a tendency to exist due to the various factors. The inability to find the additional funding for the project is one of them (Coghlan & Brannick, 2014). Another drawback is related to the lack of the communication skills and competencies to express the necessity for the action research and necessity of the transition to the change phase in the organization (Coghlan & Brannick, 2014). These aspects form the essentiality to understand the complexity of the action research and ability to express the need for alteration in the context of my workplace. In this instance, various external barriers and internal misunderstanding will have a tendency to exist due to the different perceptions of the problem and potential solutions. It is evident that sufficient understanding of the purpose of the action research remains a necessity due to the need to emphasize the significance of alterations and adjustments to the other members of the organization.

In turn, in the book Introduction to Action Research, Levin and Greenwood underline the necessity of the cycles in the research implementation and discuss the principles of the action research related to the correlation with science and epistemological foundation (2007). Additionally, the authors discuss a confrontation of principles of insiders and outsiders with the assistance of the case studies (Levin & Greenwood, 2007). It remains evident that this drawback has a tendency to exist due to the plethora of knowing during the implementation of the action research. Another problem is the inability to cultivate the understanding the insider’s knowledge should comply with outsider’s knowledge and perceptions (Levin & Greenwood, 2007). The lack of understanding of the importance of this aspect contributes to finding the mutual and efficient solution to the issue. In this instance, the inability to find the compromise in decision-making is one of the attributes, which contribute to the development of the misunderstanding in the organization and failure to start the development of the insider action research. In this instance, this problem tends to exist while trying to explain the necessity of the research to the outsiders of the research group in the context of my workplace.

The article Insider Action Research: Premises and Promises by Kumar identifies the main attributes of the action research and primary drawbacks with the assistance of the descriptive list of actions for the action researchers (Kumar, 2013). In the context of the insider research, one of the challenges is changing the mindset and a perception of the problem from the employee’s view of the insider researcher’ opinion (Kumar, 2013). It remains evident that this problem will have a tendency to exist while implementing the action research at my workplace due to inability to alter and adjust my perceptions rapidly. In this instance, I am not able to accept a significant layoff and dramatic reduction of salaries. Nonetheless, I am trying to alter my opinion related to the current situation and with the assistance of the action research determine the necessity of alteration. Nevertheless, another problem, which often takes place, is the conflict of interests between the researcher and other employees due to the intensified duality and ambiguity of the researcher’s role (Kumar, 2013). In this instance, the modification of the role will contribute to the development of the conflict within the organization. It is apparent that this situation will tend to exist at my workplace due to the human factor.

Lastly, the article Executive Development of the Insider Action Research: Voices of Insider Action Researchers by Coghlan, Shani, Roth, and Sloyan discusses the ability of the insider action research to be the primary cause of the development and modifications within the organization (Coghlan, Shani, Roth, & Sloyan, 2014). In this instance, it remains evident that the researchers had a tendency to face significant challenges while conducting the action research. The inability to understand the necessity, wrong conceptualization of the research principles, the duality of the role and organizational structure were the principle challenges while introducing the need for implementation of the insider action research in practice (Coghlan et al., 2014). This article summarizes the challenges, which were described in the sources. In this instance, it is apparent that these drawbacks are equally important and have a tendency to exist due to the social nature of the organization and lack of the ability to adapt rapidly to the changes in the context of my workplace.


In conclusion, it remains evident that the inside information about the insider action research is necessary for the implementation of the primary features of the action research in practice. The literature review revealed the major drawbacks of the implementation of insider’s research. In this instance, the lack of communication skills to express the necessity of the action research and insufficient budget planning are the primary barriers to the start of the action research implementation. Secondly, different perceptions of insiders and outsiders about the issue and necessity to work mutually contribute to the conflict of interests. Another problem is related to changing the mindset of the employee to the researcher’s perceptions, as the views have a tendency to vary dramatically. Moreover, the conflict of the researcher with the other employees will have a tendency to exist due to the different perceptions of the situation. It remains evident the authors of the books and articles tend to present the problem from different perspectives. Nonetheless, all of them emphasize the challenges, which the insider researcher face while implementing and explaining the purpose and necessity of the action research. In the end, it remains apparent that the action research is complex, and the difficulties will have a tendency to occur while implementing the action research in the context of my workplace.

Workplace Case

Nowadays, the companies in crude oil industry experience difficulties due to the economic situation in the world. In this instance, one of the solutions is to layoff the employees by 15 % and a significant reduction of salaries in the particular aspects. Nonetheless, the company is expanding through the acquisition at the same time. It is evident that the current situation negative affects the employees’ attitudes and performance, as they are not able to accept the alteration of the current situation. However, the layoffs are essential attributes and determinants of the company’s survival, and in this instance, the process requires inquiring. It remains evident that facilitation of the change and application of action research are necessities due to inability to affect the flow of events by using other modalities. The company will experience a significant turndown without the intervention due to lack of change drivers to remain sustainable on the market. The alteration is perceived to be necessary due to the cultivation of positive attitudes among the employees, as they are the critical drivers of company’s success. It remains evident that the lack of understanding between managers and workers contributes to the existence of misconceptions about the enterprise’s values and the absence of the corporate culture. Consequently, the company’s intentions and efficiency will be highly questionable.

Furthermore, the possible avenues of changes and actions have to be carefully assessed before the implementation of the action research principles in the context of workplace scenario. Firstly, it is necessary to establish the trusting relationship with the employees and explain the essentiality of the modifications. This step cultivates a different perception of the need for the alterations in the organization among the employees. This action is the first step, as the conflicting attitudes is one the of principles challenges, which the insider researcher faces during the implementation of the action research. Another step is the careful evaluation of the political structure of the organization and the establishment contact with management. This step also remains a primary driver for the action research, as it helps evaluate the internal barriers and determine the availability of funding for the research process. Nonetheless, changing personal perception before the introduction of the previous stages is necessary due to determine the sufficient flow of the research actions. In this instance, this action is of high importance due to the necessity of altering and modifying my perspective dramatically and adjusting it to the possible view of the issue as a researcher. In the end, the actions, which are mentioned above, have to be considered as the principle avenues of change for the insider action research implementation due to the essentiality to avoid possible conflicts within the organization.

Lastly, the role of the interlevel dynamics cannot be underestimated in the context of the implementation of the action research practices due to their ability to be the potential contributors to the avenues of change. Interlevel dynamics tends to exist due to the existence of various research contributors including “individual, group, intergroup, and the organization” (Coghlan, 2002, p. 173). In this instance, explanation of the necessity of the action research contributes to the understanding of the research on group and intergroup level. In turn, the adjustment of the personal perception is individual. The necessity of funding correlates to the organizational level. In the end, it remains evident that the actions are interdependent and have the same impact on the formation of the action research avenues of change within the organization. In this instance, the transition between interlevel dynamics has to be carefully established to determine an efficient flow of the research actions.


Coghlan, D. (2002). Inerlevel dynamics in systemic action research. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 15(4), 273-283.

Coghlan, D., & Brannick, T. (2014). Doing action research in your own organization. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Coghlan, D., Shani, A., Roth, J., & Sloyan, R. (2014). Executive development through insider action research: Voices of insider action researchers. Journal of Management Development, 33(10), 991-1003.

Greenwood, D., & Levin, M. (2007). Introduction to action research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Kumar, M. (2013). Insider action research: Premises and promises.Journal of Organizational Change Management, 26(1), 169-189.