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Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning

The Path to Sustainability Paul Coughlan, Associate Professor and David Coghlan, Associate Professor, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Improvement is fundamental to the competitiveness of networks and requires the participating firms to collaborate in identifying and introducing changes. This book presents collaborative strategic improvement as a cycle of activities in which firms in a network can engage together. Drawing on actual cases, authors link this cycle with disciplined action learning as a means of building upon experience generated through collaborative action. They describe how a network can learn from experience and deploy that learning in the marketplace.
Extent: 224 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 978 1 84720 031 0
Availability: In Stock
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  • Business and Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Operations Management
  • Organisation Studies
  • Research Methods in Business and Management
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Knowledge Management
  • Research Methods
  • Research Methods in Business and Management
  • Research Methods
Improvement is fundamental to the competitiveness of networks and requires the participating firms to collaborate in identifying and introducing changes. This book presents collaborative strategic improvement as a cycle of activities in which firms in a network can engage together. Drawing on actual cases, authors link this cycle with disciplined action learning as a means of building upon experience generated through collaborative action. They describe how a network can learn from experience and deploy that learning in the marketplace.

This unique book brings together the domains of operations management, organizational learning and action learning. From an operations management perspective, the work extends the established concept of strategic improvement in operations to the network within which firms collaborate to improve and to compete. From an action learning perspective, it draws on the emerging literature on network learning, re-frames the established concept of action learning as a learning mechanism and extends action learning into the network setting. Here, it values the inter-organizational insights that emerge through collaboration. Finally, the study articulates a philosophy and a framework for action learning research, extending the reach of action learning beyond practice to knowledge generation.

Directed to researchers engaged in active intervention in improvement initiatives in organizations, this insightful book will prove to be a must-have resource. Also, it will appeal strongly to practitioners, including managers and action learning facilitators.
‘Coughlan and Coghlan has advanced the field of action learning to an even higher and more powerful level in this great book. The authors provide clear guidance on how to strategically and systemically improve an organization through network action learning. The book is filled with examples of how a disciplined approach to action learning that is both learning and action focused, with cognitive, structural and procedural dimensions, can lead to successful learning organizations.’
– Michael Marquardt, George Washington University, US
Contents: 1. Overture Part I: The Domains 2. Collaborative Strategic Improvement 3. Learning in and Between Organizations 4. Action Learning in and Between Organizations 5. Intermission: The State of Our Understanding Part II: Learning in Action 6. Collaborative Strategic Improvement Action Learning Programme Design 7. Effecting Collaborative Operational Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning in a Non-Contractual Setting 8. Effecting Collaborative Strategic Improvement in the Contractual Setting of an Extended Manufacturing Enterprise Part III: Consolidation 9. Realizing Sustainable Strategic Improvement 10. Guidelines for Realizing Sustainable Strategic Improvement 11. Action Learning Research in Inter-organizational Settings 12. Finale References Appendices Index