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Ib Ravn

Transformative Theory in Social and Organizational Research

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In social and organizational research, theory is conventionally used to explain
social phenomena. However, theory may be transformative in the sense that in
using and testing the theory in a practical domain, researchers may attempt to help practitioners transform and improve their social practices and institutions.

This idea is illustrated by a research-and-development project in Denmark, headed by the author, which used transformative theory to design professional conferences that are more conducive to participant learning and involvement than is the conventional, lecture-based format.

A number of learning techniques were derived from the theory and were tested as hypotheses: When implemented in thirty live conference experiments, did they contribute to learning, as specified by the theory?

Used in this manner, transformative theory may supplement the aspirations motivating change agents by some of the well-known qualities of scientific research, including theoretical grounding, a coherent ontology, testable hypotheses, systematic evaluation, external validity, and theory–action consistency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Futures: The Journal of New Paradigm Research
Pages (from-to)327-341
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Organisationsudvikling, Forskningsmetode , Livslang læring

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