Thoughtlet: Linking theory and practice: Action science


  • Bob Dick


action science, action research, system dynamics, theories of action, theory-in-use, espoused theory


A simple question and a simple but surprising answer provide the foundation for the substantial theoretical and practical framework now known as action science.  This brief paper sets out the framework, the question and answer, and some practical implications for action learning and action research.  Later, I also suggest that it has even more relevance now than it did when it was first developed.


Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1974).

Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978).

Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1996).

Schwarz, R.M. (1994). The skilled facilitator: practical wisdom for developing effective groups. San Francisco, Ca.: Jossey-Bass. [Revised 2002, 2016]

Schwarz, R.M. (2013). Smart leaders, smarter teams: how you and your team get unstuck to get results. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Senge, P. (1990). The fifth discipline: the art and practice of the learning organisation. New York: Doubleday. [Revised and updated, 2006]

Smith, D.McL. (2011). The elephant in the room: how relationships make or break the success of leaders and organizations. New York: Jossey-Bass.



How to Cite

Dick, B. (2023). Thoughtlet: Linking theory and practice: Action science. Action Learning and Action Research Journal, 29(1), 103–109. Retrieved from