How to do things with words
Towards a linguistic turn in action research?
This article argues that the question of what actionable knowledge is, can hardly be answered appropriately either by solely theoretical argumentation or by solely practical demonstration. It is in the very interplay between theory and practice that knowledge can prove to be actionable. Thus it becomes crucial to come to an adequate theoretical understanding of this interplay on the basis of practical experiences. This article, however, does not argue in favour of any particular theoretical model as the only adequate interpretation of this interplay. Rather, the main argument is that experiences from Scandinavian action research programs over the last decades indicates that it is necessary to deconstruct the conventional concepts of general knowledge to be able to construct actionable knowledge. The briefly article presents some of the main steps in this development, and thereby some new perspectives on the main features of actionable knowledge. On this basis, the final part of the article presents some arguments why a linguistic turn in action research and in management and organisation studies may pave the way for a hitherto greatly underexploited resource for creating actionable knowledge: the personal experience of the researchers.
Keywords: actionable knowledge, general knowledge, local interpretation, local knowledge, personal experience
Published online: 13 July 2004
Cited by 7 other publications
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