The initiative we report here came out of a belief that the university needed to become a learning organization through the development of its professionals and the formation of a community of practice.Consequently wetook Lewin’s Normative-Re-educative approach. It was our view that only the introduction of Action Research as a professional practice by the staff of the institution through a ‘T’-group approach, epitomizing Lewin’s beliefs, held the potential to deliver the participation, empowerment, and democratic process that could bring about the revitalization of the institution.
The success of this project was rooted in four key principles: neutrality, voluntary participation, time flexibility, and sensibility of motivation. Our initial understanding that the process of change would go through three linear and discreet phases was replaced by the recognition that these are not distinguishable, sequential phases in time but occur simultaneously and overlap. The interweaving of objectives through time may be represented through the visual metaphor of a rhizome or stele. It must also include an appreciation that actions have the potential to work against some objectives whilst simultaneously for others. It is the congruent adherence to a set of core principles within a flexible framework of action that permits us to achieve our objectives.