Free «Journal Article Summary: Organizational Transformation and Social Change» UK Essay Paper

Free «Journal Article Summary: Organizational Transformation and Social Change» UK Essay Paper


This is a review of a journal article titled ‘Reconsidering participatory action research for organizational transformation and social change’ written by Jae Eon Yu. The aim of the article was to assess and recommend an approach to Participatory Action Research (PAR) in facilitating the processes of transformation and social change. A consideration of the conception of the ambiguity of organizational and social context during organizational transformation and social change processes remains imperative. A dramaturgical model of organization was suggested to facilitate organizational learning and transformation in local and contingent contexts. PAR was suggested for it appreciates the importance of multiple research methods. This is an in-depth article full of practical information concerning an approach to PAR. The author provides an insight into participant-driven research using a post-structuralism thought. The information layout of Jae Eon Yu’s article is straightforward. However, the author did not define the terminology used in the article journal. Furthermore, the author did not provide a detailed literature review.


The journal states that PAR has emerged as a critique to other existing forms of social research. It also states that the dualism of research and practice is a problem. In other words, research and practice are not distinct, and they should be viewed as unitary and stage-like, and seen through the fixed viewpoint. For this reason, PAR is concerned with how researchers, who become practitioners, or vice versa, endeavor to conduct and organize the research process that involves and appreciates the continual interpenetration of both practice and research. The article indicates that PAR, as some researchers contend, liberates ‘subjugated knowledge’ in society and organizations (Yu, 2004). The journal article explores the dramaturgical model of organization and reports on how PAR works. The piece reports that it is possible to conduct PAR in accordance with post-structuralism thought.

The journal reports that PAR is essential in ensuring that there is a good relationship among research partakers. Therefore, it is essential for bringing about social change within an organization. Change in an organization results from lasting collaboration, dialogue and learning over a period of time. The author identified main elements of PAR. First, PAR requires openness. It incorporates moving from passive research to active engagement. Therefore, PAR brings organizational staff under study together. Second, active participation comes with a form of self-reflecting inquiry that creates the learning process that is critical and supportive of any organization. In some occurrences, self-reflecting process leads to the learning process, which eventually changes the nature of research, beliefs and ethical codes of conduct, organizational setting, decision-making process and organizational structure. Finally, sense is a base of any ‘pure event’, which allows people to represent the world’s image and act upon it in a certain way (Yu, 2004).

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Case Study

The researcher conducted a case study to illustrate how the dramaturgical model of organization works through the use of PAR. The case study was carried in Samsung Semiconductors between 1997 and 1998 (Yu, 2004). Hard, soft and events data was collected. To gather quantitative data, the researcher did an in-depth study of Samsung Semiconductors’ written documents and records (Yu, 2004). The researchers also observed daily activities of the organization, toured production lines, and attended formal meetings and conferences. In addition, questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data in an attempt to understand Samsung Semiconductors’ organization.

To obtain qualitative data, the researcher prepared a qualitative questionnaire with an aim of getting information about employees’ subjective understanding of the research question (Yu, 2004). More qualitative data were collected using ethnographic research. The researcher, though not an actual member of the organization, had time to interact with Samsung Semiconductors’ staff members. Therefore, the researcher had an opportunity to interact with members, observe what happens daily, and to understand the employees’ emotions, feelings, and ideas concerning their work situation and their desires. According to Given (2008), a good research must clearly identify the research methodology and limitations of the research design. The author clearly stated methods used to collect data. However, he omitted limitations of his research design.

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Using a dramaturgical model of organization, the researcher linked Samsung Semiconductors’ process of organizational transformation and social change with improvisational drama staged within improvisational theater. The researcher made use of four elements of improvisational theater: actors, audiences, theme, and events and suspense. Like actors in the theater, initiators must be willing to undertake responsibility without full information. Audience, theme, events, and suspense are important. However, the researcher is the main actors during PAR in the Samsung Semiconductors’ organization. Researchers brought organization’s members together in their interactions. In an improvisational theater, audience’s interaction is an essential component. Organizations have both inside and outside audiences. In Samsung Semiconductors’ study, audience was mainly the observers who were outside the boundary of the created self-organization. Negotiations and participation were among the audiences and actors in an effort to facilitate collective PAR learning process.

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The theme must be focused enough to create an in-depth potential and broad enough to encompass a range of possibilities. The top research management agrees on a clear topic, theme, and research direction. Samsung Semiconductors’ CEO provided a focused, clear and broad research theme. Lastly, theater approach entails the suspense element. In the research strategy, direction and approach become clear as actions proceed. In short, the researcher used the case study to demonstrate that using “improvisation” as an allegory and a dramaturgical model of organizations, PAR can be connected to post-structuralism thought in order to describe, understand and facilitate the process of organizational transformation in local and contingent environments (Yu, 2004).

Intellectual Reflection

The journal article contains a case study. In the words of Thomas (2011), a case study is an experimental analysis that examines a phenomenon with its environment. The journal article provides an in-depth, up-close, and detailed examination of Samsung Semiconductors organization. The case study permitted a generalization and it was effective for this research. The journal pronounces the use of case study in research. The researcher did a single case study using both quantitative and qualitative evidence from several sources. The study was used to develop a theoretica lframework of the research. The journal illustrates that the case study can be used in research of any profession and discipline ranging from social work, anthropology, sociology, administrative science, political science, clinical science to psychology.

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The author used a case study to show how PAR strategy was applied to make a series of events involving actors and audiences. Actors and audience were used to make subjugated knowledge that was implicitly assumed by minority groups and low-ranking employees in Samsung Semiconductors. Using the cinema or drama allegory, PAR operated as an initiation of organizational transformation that the author refers to as a “series of events” in the Samsung Semiconductors organization (Yu, 2004). The author’s examination of PAR using a dramaturgical model of organizations proposes a need to reassess PAR’s value. First, there is a need to involve and appreciate contributions of all ‘actors’ and ‘audiences’ during the PAR process in order to make a series of event and drama in the improvisational auditorium (Yu, 2004). Expressed differently, the author suggested that an actual member of staff under the study should act as a proactive researcher.

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Secondly, there is a need to appreciate the fundamental ‘ontological’ becoming from research to practice that is grasped through the ‘micro-politics’ of engagement with local and contingent participants in the research (Yu, 2004). This micro-politics of engagement with all ‘audiences’ and ‘actors’, who were involved in ‘group thinking’ of the certain groups of people during PAR, appraised uncommon, unpopular, minority, and even creative views of the minority groups within Samsung Semiconductors (Yu, 2004). The author argued that micro-politics of “becoming minority” may contribute to the liberation of “subjugated knowledge” within the research been undertaken (Yu, 2004). Lastly, the researcher who uses a dramaturgical model of organizations should appreciate the process of organizational transformation and social change in terms of multiple dimensions of structural, cultural and strategically changing processes that tend to happen as “improvisation” within organizations (Yu, 2004).

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The article draws the line between the “hard” traditional scientific research methods and a “soft” action research method (Yu, 2004). Traditional research method is appropriate when it identifies problems in organizations concerning a particular worldview. Nevertheless, traditional scientific method underestimates the importance of observers, agents, and other participants who can bring changes to an organization. The author compared the usefulness of multi-paradigms and multi-methodology research theories. Multi-method can provide a rich social science research. Contrariwise, multi-methodology is most of the time impractical and it omits some critical issues that are more essential than the desirability of research design and the methodological assumption process. By using a dramaturgical model of organization, the author proposed that PAR strategy is needed to facilitate the process of organizational transformation and social change within local and contingent settings.

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The main intention of the journal article was to review and reconsider the value of PAR for facilitating organizational transformation and social change. In real sense, negotiations and participation are indispensable amongst researchers and research participants in order to bring about richness of organizational and social contexts. As a result, “making of events” is needed to facilitate transformations and changes in an organization through the PAR process (Yu, 2004). Consequently, it is necessary to look at different means of understanding the social reality or the nature of organizational transformation in local and contingent frameworks. The article may be of great benefit to a student who wants to understand the best criteria for carrying out social science research.

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