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How to Generate Knowledge from Single Case Research on Innovation?


  • Oyvind Palshaugen


The article starts with some specifications of the question raised in its title. These specifications makes clear that in practice this is a question of providing some partial, supplementary knowledge which is useful for those who are involved in processes of organisational change and innovation. Then follows a few methodological considerations, which emphasises the complementary role of the researchers versus to actors within enterprises in the kind of action research projects presented in this article. The case presented is one of broad participation in organisational innovation, based on an action research project in a Norwegian enterprise. It is shown that contrary to common belief, the broad participation in the discussions and the preparation of the foundations for the decision making by the top management is of great importance both to the employees and to the enterprise, even though the final decision on organisational choice was quite different from what was wanted and expected by the employees and the middle management. In the final section it is argued that the possibility of making use of knowledge generated from single case research on innovation is immensely enhanced when the diffusion of knowledge takes places as an aspect of national programmes of innovation. This is because then not only the general validity of but also the general interest of such knowledge are much greater.

Suggested Citation

  • Oyvind Palshaugen, 2009. "How to Generate Knowledge from Single Case Research on Innovation?," International Journal of Action Research, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 5(3), pages 231-254.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:ijares:doi_10.1688/1861-9916_ijar_2009_03_palshaugen

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    knowledge generation; organisational innovation; broad participation; dialogue conference; decision making;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General


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