The OD process can be conveniently presented in the form of action research model. OD emphasizes the process of problem solving; and trains the participants to identify and solve problems that are important to them. For this purpose, various steps of OD – problem identification and diagnosis, planning for change, interventions for change, and evaluation of change- are undertaken on continuous and cyclical basis. This cyclical process of using research to guide action, which generates new data as the basis for new actions, is known as action research. French and Bell have defined action research as follows:
“Action research is the process of systematically collection research data about an ongoing system relative to some objective, goal or need of that system; feeding these data back into the system; taking actions by altering selected variables within the system based both on the data and on hypothesis; and evaluating the results of actions by collecting more data”.
Various activities involved in action research are presented in figure:
The action research model given in fig is self-explanatory. The model involves data collection and diagnosis, providing feedback to client, and discussion and determination of action at various stages. Action research is the basis for designing strategies for OD. Specially, it is important in the following context.
- It involves all those who take action or who are affected by change in the organization. Therefore, changes of willing acceptance of change are quite high.
- It accustoms the members of a group to work together effectively and to develop way for emotional and philosophical adjustments to change.
- It rationalizes the action by providing accurate knowledge of the context in which it occurs.