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Systemic Action Research: A Strategy for Whole System Change Hardcover – 24 Oct 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Policy Press (24 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861347383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861347381
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 17.3 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"Two decades on from Robert Chamber's epic "Rural Development, Putting the Last First", this book is a milestone in development thinking."
-- Stuart Worsley, Director of SNV Kenya and Southern Sudan - The Netherlands Development Organisation

This is an excellent and long overdue contribution to the action research literature which emphasises a holistic approach to intervention. Written in a compelling style, this book bridges the gap between small-scale, local research and the bigger collective potential that action research has as a movement for change...an important contribution for all those working towards social transformation.
-- Professor Margaret Ledwith, University of Cumbria and Co-ordinator of the International Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN)

"Danny Burns does a service to the contemporary action research field with this clear and accessibly argued discussion of sophisticated 'whole systems' facilitation. In explicating the kinds of complexity we are now experiencing, the book takes the discussion to a next level." -- Professor Yoland Wadsworth, University of Melbourne and President of the International Association for Action Learning, Action Research & Process Management (2001-2004)

About the Author

Danny Burns is Professor of Social and Organisational Learning at the University of the West of England and Director of SOLAR (Social and Organisational Learning as Action Research).

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an important book with seminal ideas, and highly recommended to readers interested in Action Research; Systems Thinking; and Conflict Management. For these three subject areas are blended through a change process (System of Inquiry).

Professor Burns introduces key ideas of systemic change such as Improvisation; Parallel Development of multiple streams of inquiry; and Resonance in achieving stakeholder commitment. There are also a wide range of supporting techniques, some new as part of the development of Systemic Action Research such as Whole System Review; Storyboards; Cross road events; and Mapping Connections, while others are drawn in such as "Open Space" and "World Cafe" covering a range of senses: verbal; visual; physical.

My personal view is that this is a very important book on how to enable successful and sustainable change, one that also has the potential to fit into the area of Complex Socio-Technical Systems Thinking.

The book's strength can also be it's weakness. The book is written as an extension of Professor Burns' experience in this field; his "Journey Traveled". While this benefits the narrative it can also make the book more difficult to read for some, such as myself. Though I do encourage persistence if this is the case. For example: First, one cannot dip into it, it is best read cover to cover to understand what the author is conveying. Second, key concepts are not highlighted but built into the text's narrative. Third, examples are based on academic and non government agency funded social research some readers may not relate easily to. Fourth, while consistent with past and current perspectives on Action Research it is inconsistent with Systems Thinking with regard to organisations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Burns writes splendidly about his activist projects, but I'm not all that sure using complex adaptive systems (CAS) adds all that much to the discourse when all he apparently means is that he is improvising and using intuition in designing the interventions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 8 Oct. 2015
By Katie Clarke-Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book
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