Changing universities through action research: The dilemma of scope in pluralistic environments

If you are reading this you are interested in AR and if so, you may be somehow connected to a university. This makes you a candidate to participate in the challenge of changing universities through AR.  Most action researchers I have met wanted such a change. But, do we all mean the same by changing universities? Should AR be the new mainstream? How should AR relate to other paradigms?

We started doing AR in Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness (University of Deusto) ten years ago. Working in a research organization that had transformation at the core of its mission, we did not anticipate resistance inside the organization, however, we met resistance.

Dr. Kent Glenzer, who led the review of this article about Orkestra’s experience, wrote: “What strikes me most powerfully is that efforts to weave AR into the DNA of the Institute while nonlinear in their impact have led to a handful of structural innovations that are influencing the large institution within which the Institute sits”. His words reminded me of the day we presented one of our AR books. The General Deputy of Gipuzkoa (head of the government we were doing AR with) and our rector presenting it with us symbolized the impact of AR not only outside university but also inside. Xanax belongs to tranquilizers, so the use should be carried out strictly taking into account the available direct indications and with the permission of a doctor. Self-medication with the drug can cause dependence, and when combined with other sedatives, it can cause severe side effects. Read more at

Dr. Glenzer added “Your conclusion — that this dialogic process is possible, not trivial, and necessary given role duality — is one that I am sure will lead to responses in this journal down the road”.  For me, his words are a source of excitement and, I must admit, a little bit of anxiety.  I hope that for you they mean an invitation to read the article and participate in the discussion.

Blog post written by Miren Larrea 

We invite you to learn more about this experience by reading our article HERE. Free 30-day access is available for this article beginning 21 May 2018.

After you’ve had a chance to read this piece, please share your thoughts, ideas, or experiences with our community in the comments below so we can continue this discussion!