chapter  Three
18 Pages

Focus On Individuals and Groups

WithCyril Wilkinson, Ernie Cave

The action approach focuses on individual interpretations of reality as the building blocks of which the organisation is constructed in contrast to positivist approaches which tend to present the organisation as a holistic, collective identity with ordained, agreed intentions to which individuals and groups subscribe and contribute. Critics have claimed that the search for general theories of behaviour through positivist approaches has moved away from the challenge of understanding the real, everyday world. Phenomenology is one of several interpretive approaches in sociology which seeks to comprehend the subjective world of human experience and what individuals perceive through their senses in following their everyday lives. Followers of the phenomenological approach take the argument much further and question the significance of organisational goals in determining the behaviour of the individuals who comprise it. Action Research, a clear offspring of the action approach to the study of organisations, has proved to be a broad umbrella for a number of differing traditions and emphases.