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results indicated that the lack of improved performance could be traced to the incompatibility of the new technology and the workers as a group of human beings who opposed operating as a separate entity. In another study, Einar Thorssrud, a Norwegian psychologist, in conjunction with Tavistock researchers Trist and Emery, scoped a project for a Norwegian setting. This project concerned itself with several experiments focusing on democracy with workers on the shop floor. Although this initial experiment and subsequent ones that took place in Norway were treated as interesting they did not, in the majority of Norwegian industries, translate to change.

Greenwood and Levin (1998) imply these core ideas of industrial democracy dispersed to other sections of the globe. Concepts were formulated that embraced contemporary notions, such as sociotechnical thinking, which was a departure from the Tayloristic thinking of the day evident in the post war years. This philosophy, according to Morton- Cooper (2000), was that workers were motivated to work by, in the main, economic rewards and were best controlled by a separate authority. Interventions were designed that realised clear links between technology, work organisation and psychological demands of a job, culminating in the idea of semi-autonomous groups within a workplace. This international evolution and the industrial democracy development saw the beginnings of research that would improve the research participants’ ability to govern their own situations.

Kemmis and McTaggart (2005) nominate four generations of action research. The activity of the first generation can be in part attributed to Lewin’s work. The second generation followed on from the Tavistock group and was the work of the British contingent Stenhouse, Elliot and Adelman. Somekh (1995), when writing on the contribution of action research to the development of social endeavours, explains why Stenhouse and later Elliot were influential in curriculum development within education. She explains Stenhouse came to understand that if teachers were involved in the research into curriculum they could change actual classroom practises. Elliot, in a similar fashion, saw the curriculum as a fluid active process with the teacher’s involvement as a crucial component.

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