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Action Research in Projects and Innovations


Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

The submission portal for this special issue will open November, 2019

Guest editors
Per Svejvig, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Shankar Sankaran, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Erik Lindhult, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna, Sweden

Aims & Scope
Action research, collaborative research and participatory research – engaged scholarship in projects and innovations – will contribute to exploring the future of management by making academic research more relevant to practice. Action research involves close cooperation between practitioners and researchers to co-create knowledge and bring about change collaboratively. Action research essentially consists of the analysis of a social situation followed by the implementation of changes and an evaluation of their impact (Coghlan & Brannick, 2010; Greenwood & Levin, 2007; Susman & Evered, 1978). Engaged scholarship has a broader perspective as “a participative form of research for obtaining the different perspectives of key stakeholders (researchers, users, clients, sponsors, and practitioners) in studying complex problems” (Geraldi & Söderlund, 2016; Van de Ven, 2007). Action research and engaged scholarship offer an excellent opportunity to address key challenges in innovation and project studies in a novel and constructive way. Without compromising the research we conduct and publish, at the same time enriching it, our research may become more relevant to professionals. According to Gustavsen (2005), action research has a role in promoting innovation through collaborative inquiry and action. Action research has the potential for enhancing practical and academic value not only in innovating products and services but also in complex organizational, systemic and ecosystem innovation projects.

Key words are stakeholder involvement, co-creating knowledge, evaluating and guiding professional practice, change and intervention as well as designing, building and evaluating artefacts.

We invite submissions to a special issue of the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business entitled “Action research in projects and innovations.” The purpose of this special issue is to publish work that will significantly enhance our theoretical and empirical understanding of action research related to projects and innovations.

We accept all modalities (Coghlan & Shani, 2018) such as action learning (Revans, 2017), action science (Argyris, 1995), appreciative inquiry (Whitney & Cooperrider, 2005), action design research (Sein, Henfridsson, Purao, Rossi, & Lindgren, 2011), clinical inquiry/research (Schein, 2007), collaborative management research (Shani, Mohrman, Pasmore, Stymne, & Adler, 2007), design research (Aken, 2004; Hevner, March, Park, & Ram, 2004), learning history (Bradbury & Mainemelis, 2001) and finally participatory action research (Kemmis & McTaggart, 2005).

Within the scope of this special issue, potential themes for individual submissions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Methodological papers discussing how to address action research, collaborative research, participatory research, engaged scholarship, design research, co-creation of knowledge, etc. in project studies and project management
  • Papers contributing to social and/or technological innovation for sustainable and beneficial change
  • Conceptual papers possibly including literature reviews targeting foundational issues of action research and engaged scholarship in project management research
  • Discussions of ontological and epistemological foundations of action research, complemented by methodological approaches to support action research investigations
  • Single or multiple case studies applying action research, design research and/or engaged scholarship focusing on organizational, societal intervention
  • Scholarly descriptions of mixed method approaches used in particular projects; e.g. action research with experimental or survey research, or action research following case study research
  • Applying action research in a variety of sectors not limited to education, communities, organizations etc.
  • Papers that could help enhance the rigor of findings from action research

We invite the submission of empirical, conceptual, methodological, and literature review papers.

The expected year of publication for this special issue is 2020.

Additional Information
This special issue is a collaboration with the EURAM conference. Acceptance and presentation of papers at the conference do not guarantee acceptance to this special issue.

Timeline and Submission instructions
Authors should first submit a max. 1000-word proposal to get feedback on the suitability of the topic for the specific theme. Please submit abstracts to Per Svejvig psve@mgmt.au.dk. Upon acceptance of the proposal and taking in comments provided by the special issue editors, authors should submit their manuscript following the requirements outlined on the journal’s website. For inclusion in the special issue, manuscripts will undergo a double-blind review process facilitated by the guest editorial team. Please contact the guest editors if you have any questions.

  • Proposal submission deadline (to Per Svejvig, psve@mgmt.au.dk): 1 September 2019
  • Proposals invited for full paper submission October 2019
  • Full paper submission deadline: 1 February 2020
  • Post-review notifications to authors: April 2020
  • Revisions and decisions: Summer 2020
  • Expected publication time: late 2020

Relevant References
Aken, J. E. v. (2004). Management Research Based on the Paradigm of the Design Sciences: The Quest for Field-Tested and Grounded Technological Rules. Journal of Management Studies, 41(2), 219-246.
Argyris, C. (1995). Action science and organizational learning. Journal of managerial psychology, 10(6), 20-26.
Bradbury, H., & Mainemelis, C. (2001). Learning history and organizational praxis. Journal of Management Inquiry, 10(4), 340-357.
Coghlan, D., & Brannick, T. (2010). Doing action research in your own organization (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications.
Coghlan, D., & Shani, A. B. R. (2018). Conducting Action Research for Business and Management Students. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Geraldi, J., & Söderlund, J. (2016). Project studies and engaged scholarship: Directions towards contextualized and reflexive research on projects. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(4), 767-797. doi:doi:10.1108/IJMPB-02-2016-0016
Greenwood, D. J., & Levin, M. (2007). Introduction to Action Research (2 ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Gustavsen, B. (2005). Innovation and action research. International Journal of Action Research, 1(3), 267-289.
Hevner, A. R., March, S. T., Park, J., & Ram, S. (2004). Design Science in Information Systems Research. MIS Quarterly, 28(1), 75-105.
Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (2005). Participatory action research: Communicative action and the public sphere. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (pp. 559-604). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Revans, R. (2017). ABC of action learning: Routledge.
Schein, E. H. (2007). Clinical inquiry/research. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice (pp. 266-279). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Sein, M. K., Henfridsson, O., Purao, S., Rossi, M., & Lindgren, R. (2011). Action Design Research. MIS Quarterly, 35(1), 37-56.
Shani, A. B., Mohrman, S. A., Pasmore, W. A., Stymne, B., & Adler, N. (2007). Handbook of collaborative management research: Sage Publications.
Susman, G. I., & Evered, R. D. (1978). An assessment of the scientific merits of action research. Administrative Science Quarterly, 23(4), 582-603.
Van de Ven, A. (2007). Engaged Scholarship: A Guide for Organizational and Social Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Whitney, D., & Cooperrider, D. (2005). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change. San Francisco, California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.