An Evaluation Framework for the Dual Contribution of Action Research: Opportunities and Challenges in the Field of Operations Management
Action research
Qualitative evaluation
Grounded theory
Case study
PAR—participatory action research
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Alfaro-Tanco, J.A. (José Antonio); Avella, L. (Lucía); Moscoso, P. (Philip); et al. "An Evaluation Framework for the Dual Contribution of Action Research: Opportunities and Challenges in the Field of Operations Management". International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 20, 2021, 1 - 16
The aim of this paper is to analyze the dual contribution of action research (AR) both for research as well as business practice, and how this methodology puts into practice a win-win collaboration between researchers and practitioners. In order to get this, we define three specific objectives: first, we develop an evaluation framework to assess the contribution of AR methodology for research and practitioners in the field of management. Second, we use this framework to evaluate the dual contribution of AR in the specific field of operations management (OM) through a systematic literature review, which allows to analyze a set of 62 papers. Third, we identify opportunities and challenges to enrich the dual contribution of AR studies in OM. Main findings show that the evaluation framework developed represents a tool that may be useful to assess the dual contribution of any study based on AR in the field of management. Besides, the analysis of AR in the field of OM highlights that most of the papers identified are focused on “theory building” (research) and “implementation” (practice) as there are studies that have used AR to develop contributions based on “theory testing” and “theory elaboration,” and also in terms of “diagnosis” and “proposals.” Finally, this study signals that, with the aim to assure research rigor and relevance of practitioners’ contribution of AR studies, it is relevant to give one step ahead and to develop actions such as the use of AR as a metamethodology, to highlight those relevant findings in the whole AR cycle and to develop tools and mechanisms that strengthen its dual contribution, in terms of both research and practice.

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