PurposeThe purpose of this paper was to explore how the two groups of action learning experts (Korean and non-Korean experts) define success of action learning to see whether there are any cultural differences. To this end, the authors conducted a total of 44 interviews with action learning experts around the world. Research questions guiding our inquiry included: How do action learning experts around the world define the success of action learning? Are there any cultural differences in action learning experts’ definitions of success? What do we learn from action learning experts’ definitions of success?Design/methodology/approachThe authors approached willing participants first and then recruited more participants using a snowball sampling technique by requesting them to help us make contact with additional participants. Due to interview participants’ busy schedule at an international conference and work, individual interviews took approximately 30 min to complete using an interview protocol of 10 questions regarding the definitions of success in action learning.FindingsTo answer RQ1 (How do action learning experts around the world define the success of action learning?) and RQ2 (Are there any cultural differences in action learning experts’ definitions of success?), the authors analyzed interview data using a content analysis method. Analysis of interview participants’ narratives generated four themes including: definitions of success in action learning, the context where action learning is being practiced, challenges in action learning practice and the comparison of action learning with other approaches. The authors compared and contrasted cultural differences in the review of non-Korean and Korean experts’ narratives.Research limitations/implicationsThe authors presented four significant discussion agendas including: cultural differences, relationships between interview questions, typology of definitions of success and comparing action learning with other approaches. Based on the discussion, the authors presented four propositions, three research questions, two methodological questions and two more questions for cultural differences for future investigation.Practical implicationsTo answer RQ3 (What do we learn from action learning experts’ definitions of success?), the authors provided at least three practical implications for action learning practitioners.Originality/valuePrevious studies, using research methods such as Delphi and surveys, have not captured a complete picture of the meaning of success in action learning, and the interview method was used for a small number of experts only. In addition, as action learning originally emerged from the UK and Europe, and Korean companies adopted a US approach to action learning with little effort at indigenization, international comparison studies were called for, so the authors turned to action learning experts around the world to learn how they define success in action learning.
European Journal of Training and Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 20, 2017