Academic Writing by Zemach/Rumisek

By Zemach/Rumisek

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Operations Research Proceedings 2006: Selected Papers of the Annual International Conference of the German Operations Research Society (GOR), Jointly ... Swiss Society of Operations Research

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Case studies that focus on the day-to-day experience of individuals in a particular setting, and involve the collection of a wide range of data to allow in-depth analysis, uncover the multifaceted complexity of human behaviour in groups and organizations. If they are used to generate multiple interpretations and these are engaged with and interrogated by the participants in other settings to provide alternative explanatory theories, this constitutes a process of communicative validation and strengthens their potential for transformative action.

Sumara and Luce-Kapler (1993) provide a detailed analysis of the process of collaboration in action research, starting with the original meaning of the word, ‘co-labouring’, and using this to illuminate the discomfort and difficulties of collaboration described by many writers. They see these apparent problems as ‘healthy and productive, for it is during moments of disagreement, of negotiation, of labouring over that which is difficult that we gain insights into ourselves, each other, and whatever enterprise binds us together.

Other generalizations, he continues, ‘refer to aspects of circumstances, of which agents are ignorant and which effectively “act” on them, independent of whatever the agents may believe they are up to’. He further argues that generalizations of this second kind ‘are mutable in respect to what those agents can learn knowledgeably to “make happen”. ’ In other words, Giddens opens up the possibility of a kind of social science methodology that transforms the understandings of participants in a social situation and gives them new personal knowledge and insights as the basis for agency to improve social practices.

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