Action learning in management education: a state of the field review in higher education

Cheryl Brook, Mike Pedler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper is a ‘state of the field’ review of the practice of action learning in Higher Education. It explores the opportunities and challenges faced by academics when introducing and maintaining action learning approaches in the university. Based on interviews with 18 academics from around the world, the findings indicate new and distinct ways of working with action learning and underscore the portability and malleability of the practice. The study indicates a mixed picture for the utilisation and spread of action learning: whilst it is flourishing in some universities, especially in post-graduate and post-experience work, and more specifically in management education, in other places there has been a cessation or displacement of previous activity. We consider some explanations for the current situation, and discuss how the challenges and opportunities inherent in the practice of action learning in HE might be better understood and managed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Management Education
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 5 Jun 2020


  • action learning
  • inquiry-based approaches
  • higher education
  • management education
  • challenges
  • institutional receptivity


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