Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning
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Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning

The Path to Sustainability

Paul Coughlan and David Coghlan

Improvement is fundamental to the competitiveness of networks and requires the participating firms to collaborate in identifying and introducing changes. This book presents collaborative strategic improvement as a cycle of activities in which firms in a network can engage together. Drawing on actual cases, authors link this cycle with disciplined action learning as a means of building upon experience generated through collaborative action. They describe how a network can learn from experience and deploy that learning in the marketplace.
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Chapter 10: Guidelines for Realizing Sustainable Strategic Improvement

Paul Coughlan and David Coghlan


This book contributes to the development of know-what, know-how and know-why in the realization of sustainable strategic improvement. This chapter addresses managers, consultants and action learning facilitators. The network action learning process described throughout the book did not happen of its own accord. Neither will it happen in the future just upon a clear reading of chapters one to nine. In terms of Revans, learning involves more than the otherwise solid P (programmed knowledge) presented. The thrust of this chapter is towards implementation by a variety of stakeholders in practice who, as managers, may be at the centre of a strategic improvement initiative or, as consultants and action learning facilitators, may find themselves facilitating co-directing, co-developing and co-deploying improvement initiatives. Such practitioners would benefit from codifying combinations of organizational and network implementation guidelines in the earlier chapters into actionable knowledge. For these audiences, we present the actionable knowledge in terms of implementation guidelines. A key component of such guidelines is how they are enacted (Coughlan and Coghlan, 2008). The premise underlying implementation guidelines as presented in this chapter is that no real learning takes place unless and until action is taken. Implementation, rather than recommendations to others, is central. Further, learning crosses both intra-organizational and interorganizational boundaries, going from home to away and then home again. The guidance for the implementation guidelines comes from the formulation, SSI = f(CoSI, NAL) (given a transformational network), that is, sustainable strategic improvement comes from the synthesis of both collaborative strategic improvement and network...

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