Engaging action learning dynamics within development administration and management
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Purpose – The present study investigates how a management action learning international collaborative program involving academic institution(s) and a governmental development organization in Brazil, going through multiple compliance-resistance dynamics, produces emotional and political impacts on participants who deal with the decay of public administration and the rise of managerialism within the broad and contested realm of development administration and management. Methodology/Research Design – Qualitative action research, with the co-creation of data divided into two interconnected parts. The first part was co-created via participant observation and engaged inquiry within and across multiple sites within and outside the focal organization. The second was undertaken via semi-structured interviews with selected participants. Both processes happened alongside constant and heterogeneous interactions between researcher, advisor, academic colleagues and other members of the action learning program. Findings – Analysis indicates that practitioners and academics who practice and both research and teach within realms of management and administration might embrace learning-unlearning engaged practices and critical reflection in order to understand contemporary compliance-resistance impacts faced by individuals within academic and governmental institutions and foster engaging alternatives within the realms of education and research particularly in development administration and management. Research Limitations – Due to multiple constraints in the meetings' schedule over time, there is no guarantee that the participants were the same across all interactions, which hampers our capacity to match each participant with its own narratives (i.e., to single out individual’s interventions). Due to privacy issues and the sensitive issues addressed during the investigation, the names and business positions of participants are not disclosed. Moreover, this study represents the thoughts of participants during the investigation, which may or may not represent current participants’ thoughts. Practical implications – The present research contributes to understanding how collaborative action-oriented research and education impacts individuals and organizations within the realm of development administration and management facing the rise of managerialism and decay of public administration at large, within a broad context marked by multiple dynamics of compliance and resistance. For unravelling complex and sensitive questions, from a Global South perspective, that are relevant for the under-researched field of development administration and management results have implications for the fields of both public administration and management learning. It also contributes for showing the importance of academic-organization collaborative action learning programs to engage compliance-resistance dynamics at different levels of reality.