Civil Service - Impact of Action Learning & Organisation Development

31st December 2018

Richard Hale, Carolyn Norgate & James Traeger (2018): From nurturing the H in HR to developing the D in OD – systemic benefits where action learning and organisational development combine, Action Learning: Research and Practice  

The authors review the Organisational Development and Design (OD&D) capability building programmes they have facilitated in the UK Civil Service and consider the learning and impact which they have had at an individual and organisational level. These programmes have been delivered to over 350 professional civil servants across a broad range of business functions, ministries, departments and agencies. This paper builds on the article published in this journal entitled ‘Nurturing the H in HR’ (Hale, R. and Saville, M. 2014. “Nurturing the H in HR: Using Action Learning to Build Organisation Development Capability in the UK Civil Service.” Action Learning: Research and Practice 11 (3): 333– 351) which explained the early stages of programme roll out. Data to inform these findings has been drawn from a desk based review of the postgraduate level accredited papers written by participants as an integral requirement of the programme and an impact review exercise which used a storytelling approach in order to understand and interpret real accounts of practice. It can be seen how combining the Action Learning Question methodology with a humanistic approach to organisation development has made a significant cultural contribution beyond individual learning and this is impacting the wider system of a complex and dynamic government organisation that has faced, and most likely will continue to face, unprecedented and unpredictable political, social and economic change.



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