Action Research in Governance Landscapes: Partnering with City guides and Gatekeepers

M.J. Vink, D. Boezeman, A.R.P.J. Dewulf, C.J.A.M. Termeer

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Action Research (AR) is proposed for solving organisational problems by step-wise social learning in closed organisations. In political science however, change is often conceptualised as the result of societal arenas conflicting over ideas and powers. To understand the effectiveness of AR in policy networks which puzzle and power over ideas and interests this paper couples Wittgenstein’s ideas on understanding complex problems through learning via ‘guides’ with more conflict based notions on policy change. We describe how we teamed up with a civil servant acting as our guide in the policy network of the Dutch Delta Programme (DP). Teaming up gave us insight in actors’ frame interactions at the informal fringes rather than the formal centre of the network. In addition this yielded frame reflections with our guide, which worked both ways: We gained insight in a practitioner’s view on network dynamics, and by sharing reflections our self, our guide became our powerful advocate in the DP network’s puzzling and powering processes. Accordingly, for effective AR in policy networks we believe partnering with a guide is not only crucial for effective puzzling over the various practitioners’ frames creating the problem, but even more a matter of effective powering with practitioners frames to gain a powerful say in the collective puzzle
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInterpretative Policy Analysis conference (IPA), Wageningen, the Netherlands -
Duration: 3 Jul 20145 Jul 2014


ConferenceInterpretative Policy Analysis conference (IPA), Wageningen, the Netherlands

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