This paper compares the practice of academic action research against management consulting. Consulting is founded upon a body of underpinning knowledge drawn from a different perspective than action research. Nevertheless, consulting and action research, in practice, draw from similar methods of investigation. The difficulty in distinguishing action research from consulting adds to unique ethical problems in practice. In this paper, an ethics quandary is identified, defined and explored with implications for research practice. An example of an action research project is presented to highlight the potential ethical dilemma and conflict of interest points of the investigation, whether as an academic or a consultant. The authors, by crystallising the boundaries of academic action research and consulting posit that, when designed and executed well, risk can be minimised to gather rich and deep insights into management practice.
Field of Research
150312 Organisational Planning and Management
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
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