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Wednesday, July 27 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Workshop: Developing Capability using a Maturity Profile for Action Research: An International Collaboration

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Background: Borne of the practical turn in social science epistemology, action research typically espouses claims of personal, team, organizational, and community improvement/ transformation. It is also widely promoted as an effective framework of empowerment and emancipation to improve a social situation or condition (Reason & Bradbury, 2008; Stringer, 2007): an intent which appeals to leaders wishing to create improvement, particularly in low socio-economic and disadvantaged communities (Sankaran 2016). Validity of such espousals has been substantially unexplored, and where evaluations have occurred they have been focused more on process than impact. A group of international researchers are engaged in an evaluative study of over 100 action research initiatives (ESAR study) using a variety of methods, tools and conceptual frameworks. The Maturity Model is one of the conceptual frameworks adopted in the ESAR study. 
Maturity models have their origins in the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) developed through research to address the poor performance of software projects delivered to the US department of defence in the 1980’s. The purpose of the CMM model was to help contractors increase capability to improve their software engineering processes from an ad-hoc state to more formal and repeatable state and eventually to optimise the processes to be able to deliver consistent outcomes. Maturity models have found their way into many other organisational contexts such as project management, knowledge management, process management, research capability and even for information systems action research project management.
A typical maturity model consists of a sequence of levels that form a path to follow to move from an initial to an advance stage of maturity. These models help organisations to evaluate their current level of maturity of a process and set goals to move towards a higher maturity level.
While maturity models often use ‘business speak’ in their definition and terms used to describe  levels of maturity the authors feel that they can be made palatable and useful to action researchers to improve the ways in which they can manage their projects to deliver sustainable outcomes. This resulted in the development of the maturity profile.
The international ESAR research team have developed a framework of process and outcome indicators to represent stages of implementation and accomplishment for AR initiatives.  Data from pilot case studies were used to develop a maturity profile for AR initiatives, representing levels of maturity and evaluative outcomes at different stages of a project.  A questionnaire has also been developed for key attributes of a maturity profile that will be used at the proposed workshop to be validated and trialled by action researchers..The proposed workshop will be conducted using a ‘World Café’ format with the following schedule (Overall 90 minutes)
• Welcome and Introductions (10 minutes)• Welcome to the workshop –• Key Question to discuss today• Introduction of the facilitators• Allocation of participants to tables• Introduction to the process – (5 minutes)• World Café Rounds (50 minutes)• Break (10 minutes)• Prioritization (15 minutes)• Close 
The results from this workshop will be compared with similar workshop s that were held at the ALARA World Congress held in Pretoria in November 2015 and a workshop proposed at the next ALARA World Congress being held in November 2016 held in Adelaide.
The data from the three workshops will be analyzed and submitted as a journal paper by the authors in Systemic Practice and Action Research.

Reason, P. & Bradbury, H. (EDs.) 2008. The SAGE handbook of action research, 2nd. ed., London: Sage.
Sankaran, S. (in press). Taking action using systems research. In M. C. Edson, P. Buckle Henning, & S. Sankaran (Eds.), A guide to systems research: Philosophy, processes and practice. Singapore: Springer.
Stringer, E. T. (2013). Action research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

avatar for Pamela Buckle

Pamela Buckle

SIG Chair: Systems and Mental Health, Adelphi University
Secretary and Vice President for Protocol, International Society for the Systems SciencesSIG Chair: Systems and Mental Health (see below for more information)Pamela Buckle Henning She is an Associate Professor of Management at the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business at Adelphi... Read More →
avatar for Shankar Sankaran

Shankar Sankaran

Professor, University of Technology Sydney
Vice President Research and Publications, International Society for the Systems Sciences.SIG Chair: Action Research (see below for information)Shankar Sankaran specialises in project management, systems thinking and action research. He is a Core Member of a UTS Research Centre on... Read More →

Wednesday July 27, 2016 1:30pm - 3:00pm MDT
ECCR 265