A reflective journey with a college leader managing change in her own organization by employing an action research approach

Warnett, Esther (2012). A reflective journey with a college leader managing change in her own organization by employing an action research approach. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000bfd8

Abstract

This study investigates emergent problems by taking on the double role of being a leader and change agent in my own organization. An action research methodology was employed to deal with role conflicts and dynamic change processes. The findings were gained over a period of three years, working through four action research cycles. They provide, on the one hand, insights into how I solved arising conflicts concerning the double role, and, on the other hand, how frame-breaking change was managed by applying an action research stance.

For the former, I entered a personal reflection discourse for analysing emerging data generated from managing new realities and changing relationships with my co-researchers. This meant that my literature review focused on change and diagnostic instruments of change, as well as on leadership models and leadership styles. The advantage was that I had to study the relevant theories in real time and could apply them directly. Simultaneously, however, I also had to reflect emerging problems by employing these theories in my leadership and research practice. For this continuous and two-way reflection process I utilized a personal diary. Using an action research approach proved to be time- and labour-intensive, as well as an emotionally demanding process. However, it allowed me to steer and lead through change and empower my co-researchers to discover positive solutions to cope with frame-breaking transformation. The methodology of action research supported a systematic approach to transformation in order to realize the necessary adaptations.

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