Action research in a problem avoiding culture using a buddhist systems methodology

Shen, Chao-Ying and Midgley, Gerald (2015) Action research in a problem avoiding culture using a buddhist systems methodology. Action Research, 13 2: 170-193. doi:10.1177/1476750314558428

Author Shen, Chao-Ying
Midgley, Gerald
Title Action research in a problem avoiding culture using a buddhist systems methodology
Journal name Action Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1476-7503
Publication date 2015-06
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1476750314558428
Open Access Status
Volume 13
Issue 2
Start page 170
End page 193
Total pages 24
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher SAGE Publications Ltd
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Problem avoidance can be an issue in both Eastern and Western cultures, and in some Eastern contexts it can stem from the desire to promote organizational harmony: identifying problems can lead to blame, thereby fracturing harmonious relationships. The authors have developed and applied a Buddhist systems methodology (BSM) to counteract problem avoidance in Taiwanese Buddhist organizations. Unlike many Western action research approaches, which require participants to start by identifying problems or problematic situations, the BSM uses Buddhist concepts that are closely associated with the practice of harmonious living. Thus, it reframes problem exploration as the exercise of Buddhist discipline applied to organizational life, which is likely to be viewed as a co-operative and culturally valued endeavour. In a project with a large non-profit organization, the authors tackled a significant conflict and underlying issues. An evaluation of the project demonstrated that the BSM helped overcome the culture of problem avoidance. While the BSM itself might only be relevant to Buddhist organizations, there is a wider principle at work: when problem avoidance has cultural roots, action researchers could usefully look at how problem exploration might be reframed using a way of thinking that is culturally familiar and highly valued by the participants.
Keyword Buddhist systems methodology (BSM)
Problem avoidance
Systemic intervention
Systems thinking
Vable system model (VSM)
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2016 Collection
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