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Action Learning

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 3612 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Action Learning

Action learning engages to work on real problems, focusing on learning and actually implementing resolution. It is popular of doing things, and in the aspects of management programs targeting theoretical teaching of business schools. It stresses on self suggestion and real time lessons makes it is a particularly powerful to achieve student understanding of social and environmental problems. It can be mentioned as the purpose of action learning is to make developments in the world, and will add to personal learning. There are two traditional educational and teachers growth methods like:

* Conventional, expert-driven, didactic methods of lectures and the common outlook of knowledge as an important pre-planned, easily transferable creation which is not effective in learning, and mainly in this process of teaching much is taught but minimum is learned.

* To the level that learning does happen there is an equal problem in achieving the transfer of learning and knowledge from the place of learning to the place of work place.

Action learning stays way these problems by insisting that action be taken in real time and that learning can achieved majorly by reflection on the action and by interaction with colleagues. It is not just another management technique rather it gives chance to learn for every individual including new students or employee (Alan Mumford, 1997). Action learning enables participants to connect more deliberately in a process where reflection on a condition can bring about fresh meaning and deed (Ian McGill & Anne Brockbank, 2004). It presents a well attempted tool off accelerating learning which makes people to handle risky and hard problems more efficiently by using the present day modern expertise. It is a means of growth, scholar, expressive which needs its subjects, through conscientious engagement in real and stressful problems to get the intended change in particular aspect. In this study, impact of action learning on decision making will be explained below. In what way does action learning affect an individual will be explained along with affect on decision making process.

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Task 1

Decision making is a scientific approach which is used as a tool by organizational leaders try to minimize the effects of risk and uncertainty in the development and implementation of strategy and it even helps to optimize outcomes in the conduct of business operations. Decision making in organizations has been portrayed as a process of behavior with the financial form or complete rationality at one end and with the social form at the other end. It helps to motivate to decide, helps in thinking process and in finalizing with augmenting principle. Decision makers require finding out the amount of the risk or competition involved which company is facing from others. Once it is assessed organization can generate the plans or courses of action to achieve its objective within the structure of execution principle (Navneet Bhushan & Kanwal Rai, 2004).

Certainty means a decision which becomes less likely which have a high impact on the situation or organization. Where as uncertainty means the state of distrust, it explains a transitional relationship between organization and the outer environment. Presence of uncertainty assumes the need for judgement and this can be determined by the decision making (I. Kozine, 2004). Decision making under uncertainty in uncertain situations is tough job to perform. In a deterministic problem making decision in a single day a single decision is easy, planning in such situations is hard because we considered long sequences of actions is necessary. Given uncertainty even making a single decision is difficult, to avoid such difficulties there are some theories which can be used in taking important decisions in any situations. And risk is a situation where its results cannot be known to the decision maker. This means no one can predict what would be the result that will come and the uncertainty drives to wrong selections. Risk can be of many types like financial risk, technical risk, marketable risk, investment risk, fire or safety risk etc. Organizations generally take risk in investment and marketable risks. But it is said that risk and return are related to each other, if it is managed properly. Handling risk majorly depends on how organization or a decision maker handles it (Ari Riabacke, 2000).

There are three different types of modes in decision making like descriptive theory, prescriptive theory and lastly normative model theory. Prescriptive model can be adjusted according to the situation and needs of the decision maker; this model is based on tough theoretical background of normative theory along with the observations of descriptive theory. It is like what people should and can do kind of theory, where as descriptive is describes what people will do or already done things and finally normative theory explains about what they should do. It can be said that normative decision theory gives the best guidelines for correct act for organizations or for individuals. It is most suitable because it involves the formulation and defense of principles of comparative assessment and choice among challenging substitutes, which can be called as regulations which are supposed to be followed by every one. This is a vast area because it covers many ethical and normative social theories expanded in the past. In this theory, another theory called expected utility theory explains the individual preference relation on some of the risky or uncertain decision options (David E. Bell, Howard Raiffa & Amos Tversky, 1988). Imagine organization has invested in stock exchange and the risk involved here is any fluctuations in the economical market would affect the invested money. In order to escape from incurring losses people opt to apply decision making theories in real life. Most of the organizations use circumstances as help to make decisions, but not as an on going process. The value rests not in the circumstances but in the discipline of thinking creatively about the future of the organization. If organizations recognize this fact, then it should put its efforts to apply the creative technique of drafting circumstances into the employees stuff. The below 1 shows the process of action learning among group of individuals.

Task 2

Reflective action engages a preparedness to hold in constant self-appraisal and development. It means flexibility, accurate investigation and social responsiveness of an individual. It is used to increase skills in a leader; it is very useful to make reflective action a alert routine practice. It can be advisable to choose one issue every day that one wants to address in an alert and intentional way. Reflective action can be very fast and instinctive as in the midst of a conversation or it can be more continued and methodical in way of developing a business strategy. If it is made a foundational practice then it will increase one’s effectiveness in training the subordinates. Its uses are in two ways like it will assist to observe that efficient training involves activating and enhancing an additional person’s dedication to reflective action. Second is when reflective action is made a routine practice, this would lead to commitment for lifelong learning that can be used as an inspiration for others too. In other words it is a learning process by ding and developing one’s abilities for continuous learning and problem solving throughout the career process (Bill Joiner & Stephen Josephs, 2007). This can be promoted in students by schools and colleges to make them involve in learning methods in guidance of teachers and masters. Giving practice to face problems in real life, testing solutions, creating or making faults, searching for help, and purifying methods etc would be done if one wants to improve their own problem solving skills. There is another theory called constructive learning theory in which collecting meaning, developing assignments etc will be exhibited by the student to construct meaning. By using their previous learning’s, knowledge they contribute towards building meaning for the subject. This theory asks students to take active consideration and adaptation to internalize and rewrite information into thought that makes intellect in present world. Constructivist theory is the outcome of social and cognitive theories. Cognitive theory is about how learner understands things with respect to the growth and learning styles in their process of learning. Where as social constructivism is about finding meanings and understandings of social happenings to develop personally in one’s own life (Dewey J, 1983). In constructivist climate students are supposed to be given confidence to use their high level of thinking skills to search for the meaning for classroom experiences. In this teaching method teachers won’t stress to get one word correct answer rather they encourage students to raise questions and allow them to give various probable understandings would be accepted by teachers in such theoretical practices. This theory can be applied in any stage of education.

I have used this theory to highlight my abilities to solve real life issues. I have encouraged my abilities and have tried to take initiative in classifying, analyzing, predicting and creating task for assignments. The above explained theories help to communicate between student and teacher and among the students communication will also make an appropriate affect because of the practical theories. Critical thinking has been developed in educational and in personal life. More than these theories combine work helps to gather or to gain knowledge.

Many of the researchers have been are arguing that lecture centered teaching is considered as a means for effective learning of the students. This means of learning have gained critical acclaim favoring lecture centered teaching as it is most efficient learning approach it is reactive and tends toward memorization for the student. Another method of learning is collective learning; this is named as small group activity. If collective learning is made as a part of students learning process then it will gain in a larger way. On this method of learning, there are various opinions and those ranges from arranged to highly structured classroom settings. As it is seen in the constructionist theory the students creates fresh knowledge by an adaptive process of organizing and making sense of new learning’s and experiences by building connection to prior knowledge (Mark H. Hoffman, 2002). For example collective learning helps an individual to gain knowledge, to face group of people, to express their understanding on the subject, to clear doubts about the topic, etc. This technique of learning helps in improvising knowledge, gives a chance to role play as a testing ground for interactions, or physicality in terms of conveying thoughts into representing form of expression would be appropriate. It is useful in combining various structures to prepare most powerful knowledge gain among people. These structures include things like highlighting thought development, group work, promoting networks among individuals or students. These kinds of activities help to develop mastery skills through practice of exercises and allowing brainstorming of thoughts and plans for solving problem. Solution to overcome individuals fear factor to express their views or for personal development is joining the various methods of learning within collective learning situations, lecture, skills development trainings, etc are perfect solution for every normal person to gain knowledge or to grab more information in less span of time.

There is drawback in this learning process, which is will the students or an individuals age and their cognitive preparedness to stick to the idea expressed will allow to hold their ideas is big question for researchers and scholars. This problem can be solved with the help of constructivist theory as it is not only useful in making students sharp but it also helps to overcome their weaknesses in terms of learning process. Experiential learning of teachers when shared with students will have more impact on an individual when compared with classroom teaching. This kind of informal learning helps individuals to participate in debates and conceptualize things and what some of the suggestions may be for interested individuals in developing their abilities. It is more useful to an individual than compared with organizational entities. To overcome minute problems of students or individuals sharing knowledge program, trusted rapport among students, providing regular or frequent chances for students to participate in conversation might help to overcome minute issues and those will also help to build personal capabilities.

Task 3

Identifying human behavior in critical situations opens doors to the personality and possible successful negotiations. Human behavior addresses the proceedings of individuals inside their respective environments. Behavioral theory and practices would help in analyzing human behavior at times of negotiations. Unauthorized stoppage of work when labor contract is still in active is known as wildcat strike. Postal workers of London have gone for a wildcat strike action on the newly implemented shift patterns. They have gone for an official and unofficial strikes and walkouts during the working hours (Business, 2009). Union of postal workers has continued strike for a long time for the issue with royal mail over workers pay packages, jobs and pension plans. For this prime minister have said that there is no meaning in continuing the strike and asked them to get back to their daily operations. If postal workers don’t attend to the work then they will face a large amount of backlog of letters to sort and to deliver. General people will suffer because of the stoppage and unofficial walkouts from work. Main reason of strike was workers were asked to start their work at changed shift timings and the wages for that time would not be paid for some portion of time. This change and some other are main reasons for present wild cat strike of postal workers. Employees had a negotiation saying that they will accept new timings if management gives time to get back to them with optional suggestions which has been rejected on which they went on strike (Business, 2009). Here there is need to make employee union to withdraw strike and it is strongly recommended to make a resolution to solve their problems. In this case behavior of the employees in negotiating about their demands shows their capability to sustain in front of management. The art of negotiating depends on the skills, knowledge and approach of the worker or on an individual.

Withdrawal from stressful situations, conflict over dependency, etc would be possible only if human behavior is strong enough to face such situations. Depending on involvement of an individual on social issues through which ones strengths and holding attitude can be recognized. Managing conflicts in an organization is a major task which needs strong strategies. Conflict arises because of disagreement on any particular issue which can be natural and predictable too. Sometimes conflicts prove to be beneficial for organizations and it is said that maintaining a minimum level of conflict to maintain a best possible level of output within organization. The reasons behind conflicts in any company would be limited or inadequate resources, personal disagreements or conflicts, jurisdictional uncertainty, difference of opinions on objectives, etc.

From the above 2 it is clear that cooperation and assertiveness are key elements on which conflict managing is based (Encyclopedia of Business, 2009). This style is an alternative for traditional method of avoiding conflicts which doesn’t really help to find solution for the issues. Apart from various approaches comprising strategy is the best method to solve minor issues this requires a problem solving method to solve the basic foundation of the conflict. Destructive in conflict means diverting attention from actual issue, and weakens morale, minimizing co-operation within group members, etc. This kind of behavior extends the disagreement between two parties and it can raise misunderstanding and miscommunication among parties. Where constructive kind of approach solves conflicts because of its contents such as it results in clearing up of crucial issues, in getting results to issues, it allows people to involve in determining problems, causes real communication, it helps to come out of stress, nervousness etc. Constructiveness helps to develop cooperation among people, it encourages individuals to increase their understanding and knowledgeable things, it can be said that an individual who have constructive approach towards issues can solve the issue. It depends on the way of approach towards the conflict and result of it will be as the approach as been selected (Dealing with Conflict, 2009).

Individuals or organizations irrational patterns of thinking that are present in most hard situations. Effective and constructive nature of individual in dealing with conflict situations also helps to grow personally. And in negotiations if actual ideal norms are used for face to face discussions then the conflict situation may come to an end. Personal policies too help to end conflict situations and culture of small or medium groups that selectively redefines organizational barriers and gives them a workable form. Resolving conflicts successfully is having a knowledge of and ability to use common resolution skills. Framing resolutions will allow individuals to build conflict handling styles, to develop interpersonal skills, to find ways to manage emotions; it helps to increase confidence levels etc. Working with difficult situations will make them to expand their knowledge and overcoming the stress when dealing with difficult situations or difficult people makes them strong because it’s a big challenge. By concentrating on personalities and behavioral styles an individual can gain a positive approach in working with personality conflicts. And it is very important to stop conflicts before it turns into destructive manner.

Dealing with conflict situations helps to develop conventional conflict appraisals. If handling conflict situations is made as a tool to develop personal skills like negotiating the problems to make positive ends on conflict issues, it can be said that reacting to the conflict situations will increase proactive behavior, working with teams helps to improve associating skills, handling competitive situations could be learned from handling or taking part in negotiations on conflict situations. So it can be noted that negotiation in postal department wild cat strike have played a major role in consoling the pay cuts issue. They have tried to win by spreading and generalizing their fight across the whole zone, and have tried not to allow groups of employees to be suffered.


* Alan Mumford (1997), “Action Learning at Work”, Published by Gower Publishing Ltd, pp. 408.

* Ari Riabacke (2000), “Managerial Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty”, IAENG International Journal of Computer Science, Vol 32, Issue 4, pp.7.

* Bill Joiner & Stephen Josephs (2007), “Leadership agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change”, Published by John Wiley and Sons, pp. 322.

* Business (2009), “Wildcat Postal Strikes Spread”, [Internet] available at URL: < http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/oct/11/postalservice.matthewweaver>, [accessed on 15th December, 2009].

* David E. Bell, Howard Raiffa & Amos Tversky (1988), “Decision Making: Descriptive, Normative and Prescriptive Interactions”, Published by Cambridge University Press, pp. 623.

* Dealing With Conflict (2009), “Constructive and Destructive Conflicts”, [Internet] available at URL: < http://www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit/Conflict.html>, [accessed on 16th December, 2009].

* Dewey J (1938) “Experience and Education”, New York: Macmillan.

* Encyclopedia of Business (2009), “Conflict Management And Negotiation”, [Internet] available at URL: < http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Comp-De/Conflict-Management-and-Negotiation.html>, [accessed on 15th December, 2009].

* Ian McGill & Anne Brockbank (2004), “The action learning handbook: Powerful Techniques for Education, Professional Development and Training”, Published by Routledge, pp. 283.

* I. Kozine (2004), “Survey of decision-making theories”, [Internet] available at URL: < http://www.google.co.in/#hl=en&source=hp&q=Survey+of+decision-making+theories+-+I.+KOZINE&btnG=Google+Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=Survey+of+decision-making+theories+-+I.+KOZINE&fp=52d75a02b21082af>, [accessed on 10th December, 2009].

* Mark H. Hoffman (2002), “Collective Learning in Everyday Mathematics Classrooms”, [Internet] available at URL: < http://www.gphillymath.org/ExempPaper/TeacherPresent/Hoffman/CollectiveLearning.pdf>, [accessed on 11th December, 2009].

* Navneet Bhushan & Kanwal Rai (2004), “Strategic Decision Making: applying the analytic hierarchy process”, Published by Springer, pp. 172.


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