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What shaped action learning in the UK?: accounting for the development of action learning as a managerial and organizational development practice

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The Hospital Internal Communications Project of the 1960s was the brainchild of R. W. Revans (1907–2003), one of the UK's first professors of industrial administration and the widely acknowledged originator of action learning. Although largely forgotten now, it is contended here that this three-year project helped to develop and shape Revans' ideas on organizational learning and management development and that the idea of administrative rationalism, as expounded by Klein, helps to provide an interesting interpretive lens through which to examine this key stage in the history of Revans' idea. In essence, Revans' early development of action learning was implemented in accord with the goals and the tools of administrative rationalism. Over time, action learning shifts in terms of its practice as Revans becomes increasingly disillusioned with the idea of 'experts', rather than those engaged in the task themselves, generating solutions to management problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-244
Number of pages14
JournalManagement and Organizational History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2013

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