The Deductive Frame
In French (2009f), action research (AR) was utilised to develop the ideas that led to the creation and implementation of the Inductive Frame, represented by the Compact Big Business (CBB) Model. In this paper, I will describe how the AR process continued from the foundations created during the AR cycles described in French (2009f) and how the CBB Strategic Thinking System seminar series was created as the ‘action’ element to satisfy the thematic concern. Also, I will discuss how AR was used to answer Research Question 2 the ‘research’ element of the AR project: What questions and activities facilitate strategic thinking by small business principals?
The Action Research Process
The AR process is a spiral of four fundamental elements: Plan, Act, Observe, and Reflect. The process begins with a notion in the practitioner’s mind that a change in work practice is desirable. A group is then formed to discuss the practitioner’s notion and clarify the mutual concern that has been identified. The group then makes the decision to work together and focus its improvement strategies on the ‘thematic concern’ (Kemmis & McTaggart, 1988, cited in Perry & Zuber-Skerritt, 1991, p. 73) although different cycles do not have to involve the same workgroup. They subsequently work through the spiral of elements until the process is complete. The structure of this paper will follow that described in French (2009e) .
The action element of this stage of the AR project is complete. A comprehensive theoretical system of strategic thinking for small business has been developed and tested. The seminar participants completed and implemented their strategic plans. The research element is complete and evidence has been provided that research question two has been answered:
Research Question 2:
What questions and activities facilitate strategic thinking by small business principals?
The question of what constitutes strategic results was discussed during the AR process and while the evidence, in the form of increased employment, indicates that strategic results were achieved, it was decided to examine the question of increased strategic performance by looking in more detail at a single company over a longer period and this process is discussed in French (2009i).