Action Research of Cyclonic Transactions in Online Management Education
Creed, Andrew Shawn
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The aim of the research was to generate a cyclonic model for understanding the influences and processes of continuously improving management education in an environment rich in online learning technologies. The research questions were: 1. What is the nature of the cyclonic interactions observed in the transactions of a team of online management educators? 2. How might an understanding of cyclonic interactions, a. help refine action research, and, b. generate rich insight for online management education? The methodology was an action research project. The research team worked in an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) to continuously develop teaching practice in one unit of the MBA. The methodology matched the objectives of the project, and the appropriate rigour associated with qualitative, interpretive research. The results showed that theories of systems and relational dynamics, adapted to hermeneutics and aligned with other learning theories, can be framed by the metaphor of a cyclone to conduct research into teaching practice and build upon the theory base in the field of online education. Online management education is subject to reinterpretations. The cyclonic framework explains some of the changes. The project showed that a chaotic but organised cyclonic program development process in one particular MBA course was informative for and informed by the chaotic and cyclonic globalized business world. For the education of managers the cyclonic view was relevant. The approach was metaphorical and, therefore, opened new ways of seeing and speaking. Findings pertained to the nature of the cyclonic interactions, how an understanding of cyclonic interactions helped to refine action research, and how an understanding of cyclonic interactions helped generate rich insight for online management education. It was found that it was the asymmetrical impetus of imperfection that created the examples of cyclonic learning spirals formed as double feedback loops for improved understanding. Online education in the action research required cyclical enhancement of connectedness by teachers, stronger emphasis on relational considerations in learning, and heightened expectations of collaboration by educators. It became possible to correlate earlier conceptions of action research with cyclonic categories and analyse the parallels with events in this action research project. Models were developed and presented to explain cyclonic connections with hermeneutics, collaborative teaching, online resource development, and the environment of online management education.
PhD in Education