Critical Assessment of Training Actions in Companies

Subject: Employee Management
Pages: 15
Words: 4474
Reading time:
16 min
Study level: PhD

Critical Action Learning Writing


Action research is one of the critical instruments, which is used to determine and assess the essentiality of the establishment of modifications and alterations to enhance the company’s success in operations during cruel times. Nonetheless, the application process might be complicated in implementation due to the presence of external forces and fluctuations in the environment. In this instance, the positioning of the issue and problem has to be assessed from different perspectives, as problem restatement will assist in the determination of the action research plan while implementing the precise stages or reviewing the right literature. Moreover, it will assist in finding the solution to the issue and portray the ways of successful implementation.

The primary goal of critical action learning writing is to re-evaluate the chosen issue at the workplace while assessing it from various angles and perceptions. In this instance, the literature review was determined as one of the potential sources of information due to the availability of the necessary information from the trusting readings and publications. Furthermore, the primary operations to address the issues have to be determined to understand the flow of the processes during the modifications of the action plan and its research principles. In this instance, all of these actions will contribute to the coherent framing of the issue and determination of the definite solution of the problem. Setting team discussion will contribute to the formation of the specific perception towards the issue at the workplace. In the end, the results and conclusions are provided to evaluate the success of the action research objectives and problem positioning.

Background to the Workplace Case

The crude oil segment had to face substantial obstacles due to the fluctuations in the crude oil prices and the economic downturn in the world. This aspect was the primary reason for the essentiality of the dramatic layoffs in the organization, which operates in this sphere. In this instance, despite having leading positions in the industry with approximately 120,000 employees, my workplace had to lay off the employees by 15 % and decrease the particular features in workers’ wages by 20 % simultaneously. Nonetheless, the company continues the expansion of its activities while acquiring other business segments and companies. Some employees do not support the decision-making and proposed solutions. However, the layoffs are necessary attributes for existence, and it is evident that the process seeks to inquire.

The layoff problem in the crude oil industry was chosen as the primary focus of the action research, as the workers are not able to understand the necessity of the modification of the number of the workforce in the organization by reducing the number of personnel and decreasing the salaries while expanding through acquisition. However, only the workers from Base Managers and Shop Floor Group do not support the current situation, as they have to experience the negative consequences of the layoff. Consequently, the issue at my workplace can be reframed to the ability of the human resource management to implement a coherent layoff plan to maintain the employees’ dissatisfaction at a low level. In this instance, reframing of the case scenario will contribute to the changes in choosing the right stages while implementing the phases of the action research.

Literature Review

The primary goal of the literature review is to underline the necessity of the alterations in the organization while focusing on the different perceptions and portrayals of the issue. In this instance, the literature review will justify the choice of actions and determine the potential outcomes of their implementation while implementing the steps of the action research. It could be said that the literature review identifies and supports the essential steps of the action research and assists in the redefinition of the problem statement and the portrayal of the problem from a dissimilar perspective.

Firstly, the cyclic nature of the action research has to be considered, as the problem can be restarted after the implementation of the particular stages. It remains evident that the application of the actions of the certain phases might be questionable due to the different levels of knowledge and different points of view concerning the topic of discussion, Coghlan states (2011). In the context of the established problem, taking into account the opinions of participants from different levels will assist in avoidance of the adverse consequences and obstacles related to the application of the stages of the action research. Nonetheless, the issue has to be discovered by utilizing and applying a combination of scientific and practical methodologies to maintain the ability to reach the outcomes on a high level (Coghlan & Brannik, 2014). Using this method will contribute to the profound understanding of the issue while focusing on the combination of practical and theoretic perceptions. In the context of the workplace, the problem was determined based on the literature review and the scientific approach to the principles of the objectives’ definition and the action research. The next step was to make the problem closer to reality, as the survey helps reveal the potential attitudes of the workforce towards the issue.

In turn, an efficient econometric study should have its basic magnitudes and conditions established based on the precise empirical foundation. The primary reason is the assurance of the absence of misperception of the theoretical model from the subject of the study, as, otherwise, it will misguide the research study. Empirical studies by Watcher, Perry, Parnes, and Hall have raised central macroeconomic questions regarding laying off the workers, inflation and unemployment (Ghasabeh, Reaiche & Soosay, 2015). This issue is one of the major management challenges today, in turn, an increase in oil price is often a key setback that leads to massive downsizing.

Furthermore, the maintenance of the trusting relationship with employees has also been revealed in the literature review, as the employees are the important attributes for the ability to reach the organizational goals and preserve the company’s success. In support of this aspect, the application of the participatory action research is one instrument, which can modify the attitude of the workforce while building trusting interactions, Beringer and Fletcher claim (2014). In turn, Fugate, Prussia, and Kinicki emphasize the preservation of building trusting relationships with the employees, as they are the primary determinants of the company’s sustainability during the economic downturn (2010). The combination of these statements underlines the significance of the employees while determining the success of the organization and reaching the common goals. In this instance, discovering the issue from the employees’ perception by conducting the surveys will determine the formation of the future action plan. Nonetheless, conducting the survey is one of the potential ways to establish a trusting relationship, as the employees’ significance will be underlined by asking their opinion about the situation at the workplace.

Additionally, it is necessary to focus on the particular employees’ groups to determine the new perception of finding the solution to the issue. In turn, the ability to define the diversity of the action research and participants contribute to the discovery of the problem from multiple levels (Friedman, Razer, & Sykes, 2004). In this instance, the stages have to be implemented on the level of management and employees. Nonetheless, conducting the survey to understand the perception of the employees and viewing the issue from a dissimilar perspective cannot be underestimated due to the ability to systematize the problem of the research. In this instance, the survey revealed that the Base Managers and Shop Floor Group are vehemently affected by the layoff and reduction of the salaries. It could be assumed that focusing on this perception will determine the future stages of development as it remains evident that the new approach of the layoff implementation has to be introduced to avoid the adverse attitudes among the employees of these groups.

Despite being highly criticized the reductions in force, rightsizing or layoffs for economic reasons do not worsen the conditions of the employment and the company’s image since this phenomenon generates a pool of job losers. Nonetheless, the increase in the employment level occurs after the economy experiences a business upturn. However, modern research argues that the current unemployment level is not caused by layoffs or loss of previous jobs. Rather, it claims that alterations in workforce re-entering new work areas and in some cases is one of the primary reasons for the occurrence of this situation, as some employees tend to quit voluntarily. In my opinion, this argument is a distortion of the varied views of lay-offs. It hinges on the notion that temporary layoffs cause unemployment, a spell, which only lasts for four weeks without job change after which a rehiring occurs. All layoffs have a temporary nature in some sense. While the phenomenon of layoffs and their significance tends to be questionable, the current theories of unemployment require major re-evaluation (Hillier, Cannuscio, Griffin, Thomas, & Glanz, 2014).

Insider action research on layoff in the oil sector reveals that workers are constantly being laid off temporarily or permanently, a situation that calls for planned intervention (Hillier et al., 2014). While their work environment might be complicated, these workers are structurally subordinate and not autonomous. Human resource analysts agree on the significant role of the employees while the realization of the organizational mission and vision. In this instance, the employees generate a critical interlink between the different entities in an organization while being the determinants of the information flow within the company. This phenomenon contributes to sufficient economic growth. Nonetheless, laying the employees off is the primary reason for the existence of the challenge in comprehending and complying with the set goals and objectives of the organization. Consequently, the proper legislation, which protects workers against layoff as opposed to hiding behind the existing loopholes in the legislation, has to be created to protect the employees’ rights during the layoff (Björkman & Sundgren, 2005).

The studies depict that the workforce is placed on a critical balance between the potentials of a layoff due to the economic downturn and legislations that support highly oppressive employers (Hillier et al., 2014). This approach makes their position challenging and questionable due to the necessity of making the right decision. Owing to the increasing layoff in the oil sector that stands at about 15% in my organization and a 20% reduction in salaries, there is the need to challenge and modify the current employment legislation to find potential ways to improve the existing approach in the sector. In this instance, the legal systems that support the layoff and consider it as the primary instrument for the enhancement of employment should also be considered. As Harris & Clark (2014) claim that, employment legislation that protects workers against layoffs system should be established to ensure the absence of professional gaps due to downsizing (Coghlan & Brannick, 2014).

Moreover, the motivation among workers in the oil and gas industry is one of the most influential factors, which determines the coherent achievement of higher productivity and profitability. The role of motivation to bring out the best in a workforce acts as the main springboard in the effective promotion of an organization’s management plans. In this case, motivation was discovered as a critical determinant of success due to the possibility of the rebound occurrence. Consequently, the motivation should be assimilated on the multiple levels of subordination to derive genuine intrinsic returns. This approach has to be employed to affect the critical modification and assimilate holistic productivity and progress in the industry.

Furthermore, the literature review reveals that the managerial perspective to lay off the right personnel from different departments is one of the possible approaches to emphasize the discovery of the workplace from a different angle. Moreover, the management of the company has to understand that the employees experience a high level of stress and take a long time to adapt to the particular changes in their everyday routines until they find another job offer (Orazem, Vodopivec, & Wu, 2005). In the context of the workplace, the employer has to assess the characteristics of the employees and control his/her decision-making based on rational actions, as in this instance, it remains questionable whether firing the employees from the same departments is appropriate.

Lastly, the literature review reveals that the maintenance of the essential qualities of the employees on the right level, as the employees are the primary asset, which determines the company’s success from the Human Resource Management’s perception. In this instance, providing the high quality of the jobs and maintenance of the employees’ competencies determines the excellence of the company’s operations in the future, Burgess and Connell claim in the article Introduction to Special Issue: HRM and Job Quality Overview (2008). In this instance, the next stage is to establish trusting relationship with the human resource management, as this approach will contribute to the efficient allocation of the layoff among the departments and the establishment of the right strategy to maintain the employees’ expertise on the high level.

Nonetheless, the predicted outcomes might not be reached to the continuously environmental fluctuations and the inability to adapt to changes (Susman & Evered, 1978). In the context of the workplace, the appropriate outcomes and stages of the research have to be modified. Nonetheless, in this instance, problem reframing is one and can be considered as the relevant determinant of the future flow of the events. Furthermore, considering the limitations while changing the implementation method of the research is a necessity, Cassel and Johnson claim (2006). In this instance, the evaluation of the potential limits of the research will assist in avoiding them. In the context of the workplace case, the substantial sources of the problem are the conflicting interests of the management and employees and the possible lack of desire of the human resource management to change the layoff strategy in favor of the workforce.

In conclusion, it could be said that the literature review revealed that the action research has to be highly specialized and systematized to determine the sufficient flow of the events. The relationship with the employees remains on the high level, but the survey revealed that the Base Managers and Shop Floor Group have adverse attitudes towards the necessity of acquisitions and layoff, as their well-being was dramatically affected by the modifications inside the organization. In this instance, focusing on this employees’ group as the cover subject will contribute to narrowing the problem coverage. In turn, the issue has to be discovered from the managerial perspective to define a sufficient plan for the layoff and salary reduction to assure the well-being of the laid-off workforce and establish a coherent action plan to maintain the expertise and knowledge of the employees on the high level. Lastly, it remains evident that legislation plays a significant role in the company’s industry, and, in this instance, the alterations have to be introduced to improve the conditions of the employees during downsizing and layoff.

Steps Taken to Address the Problem

The fundamental aspect is to discuss the flow of events, which determines the particular steps to be taken into account while implementing the action research in the context of the workplace scenario. In this case, the primary goal of this section is to generalize the application process to increase the ability of its implementation in similar spheres. Moreover, the outcomes and their compliance with the initial goal setting are assessed, as it is one of the primary objectives of the task. Furthermore, one of the potential solutions is introduced to reveal the actions, which are highly connected to the problem reframing based on the literature review.

The presence of the problem and its influence on the employees has to be determined by evaluating their attitude towards the problem and understanding the necessity of modifications. In this instance, it was beneficial to conduct the survey to access the essentiality of the explanation of the modifications to the employees. According to the responses, Technical & Operation Support Managers Group, Sales Managers Group, Project Engineering Group show a positive attitude towards the actions, which were implemented by the company, and consider them as being logical and necessary in the context of the present situation. It could be assumed that their attitude has not been affected due to the now direct influence on their actions and salaries. These employee groups remain hopeful and look towards the expansion of the company while considering it as a necessity. In turn, Base Managers and Shop Floor Group experience a significant layoff, as the company has chosen them as the primary group, which has been affected by the economic situation. In this instance, their attitude towards the necessity of acquisitions and layoff remains negative. In the end, constructing the survey and conducting it determines the flow of events and contributes to the reframing of the problem, as the focus is Base Managers and Shop Floor Group.

In this instance, the next step is to concentrate on the Base Managers and Shop Floor Group to assure the alterations of their attitudes and opinions in the context of the current situation of the workplace and the necessity of actions. In this instance, it remains apparent that the layoff of the workforce has been done inefficiently, as the employees only from Base Managers and Shop Floor Groups have been decreased. In this case, the issue has to be discovered from the HRM perspective to maintain the quality of the company’s products on a high level. Consequently, the new step is to re-evaluate the layoff strategy, as in this case, it is one of the fundamental areas of the company’s sustainability on the market due to the key role of the employees in every organization. Moreover, focusing on the human resource and workforce’ perspectives will help develop a profound understanding of layoff reorganization. In turn, the literature review revealed that changes in legislation are the requirement due to the necessity to protect the employees during the downsizing. Nonetheless, these modifications and alterations have to be introduced on multiple levels of subordination to avoid misconceptions in the understanding of the primary principles.

The application of the action research stages, which were revealed in the literature review, determined the final solution to the issue. The importance of the stages and review of the issue from the Human Resource Management point of view determined the action plan and the way to solve the issue in the workplace, as the issue became more specialized in the context of the workplace. Nonetheless, the reframing of the issue is one of the primary issues, which contributes to the development of the discussion between the team members. One of the potential questions of discussion is choosing the right focus, as in this scenario, it is unclear whether the particular group of employees should be the critical focus or the re-establishment of the human resource management’s strategy should be considered of the higher importance. Choosing the right approach will conclude the future development of stages.

As for the solution to this issue, the issue at the workplace has to be discovered from the managerial perception while implementing the efficient human resource+ management solution for the layoff. In this instance, focusing on the right allocation and determining the essentiality of the reduction of the workforce in the particular sectors. The reframing of the human resource strategy will contribute to the increasing efficiency of the company and maintenance of the quality of the production on a high level. Furthermore, these actions will contribute to the building of a trusting relationship with the employees by underlining the significance of their actions for the company’s success. Lastly, all of these actions have to contribute to the development of sufficient legislation principles in the context of the crude and oil industry, as the workforce experiences significant inconveniences and faces obstacles during the layoff. Consequently, the introduction of new legal principles will contribute to the development of the new approaches, which can be actively utilized to avoid the adverse consequences of the layoff on the employees’ reputations.

As for the development of the plan, the reframing of the issue has been one of the first steps, and the survey implied focusing on the particular employees’ groups. It could be assumed that the implementation has been successful, as the problem was systematized and narrowed to the particular perception. In this instance, the primary challenge, which was faced during the implementation of the actions, is the ability to depict the right problems from the interview’s responses. Nonetheless, the movement towards the determination of the primary problem can be considered as being entirely positive due to the ability to identify the key aspect of the issue. Nevertheless, the success of the resolution of the issue is dependent on the ability to explain the necessity to diminish the particular negativity in the organization by the management of the organization.

In the end, the solution to the issue at the workplace can be implemented by various companies, which experience similar issues. Firstly, the steps of the action research and the problem have to be identified. Secondly, the survey related to the employees’ attitude towards the situation at the workplace has to be determined, as this aspect will contribute to systematization and focus on the particular employee segment. Thirdly, the actions of the management team have to be re-evaluated, as in this instance, the layoff has to be conducted efficiently to maintain the workforce satisfied and the expertise of the others on the high level of expertise. Re-focusing on managerial actions will assist in determining the right solution to maintain success on a high level. Lastly, sufficient modifications in legislation have to be introduced to improve the quality of the workplace and underline the significance of the employees while reaching the organizational goals.

Results and Conclusion

In conclusion, it could be said that action research is one of the fundamental tools while underlying the essentiality of modifications in the organization. Nonetheless, literature review assists in determining the coherent image and perception of the problem while trying to find the solution to the issue. In this instance, conducting the survey, redefining the objective of the alteration, and determining a new angle of the problem portrayal contribute to the new perception of the action research principles. In this instance, the reorganization of the understanding of the employees’ groups, which have to experience layoff will help increase the employees’ satisfaction and maintain the company’s success at a high level during times of acquisition and economic downturn. The perspective of Human Resource Management reveals the necessity of building trusting relationships with the employees and beneficial decision-making during the layoff. Moreover, re-evaluation of the legal principles concerning the layoff has to be introduced due to the adverse consequences, which the workers have to experience during the economic downturns. Nonetheless, the stages of the action research can be modified due to the constantly changing environment and the inability to assess the potential outcomes.

In this case, it could be the question of discussion whether taking into account the multiple scenarios while implementing the stages of the action research should be in priority while determining or reframing the problem at the workplace. Moreover, it is also doubtful whether considering multiple angles simultaneously will contribute to the development of the sufficient issue during the stage of economic recession. Nonetheless, the nature of the action research contributes to the understanding of these actions and the resolution of the issue. In the end, the constantly changing external environment should remain one of the primary concerns due to the necessity to reach compliance with the outcomes and modifications of the action research.

Reflections on the Readings

The primary goal of this part is to determine the individual reflections and reveal the connection with the workplace scenario. The reflection contributes to the understanding of the individual perception of the action research and essentiality in the application of the modifications while discovering the issue from dissimilar angles. In this instance, the literature focuses on the fundamental principles of the action research methodology while reflecting the new perception of the issue.

Coghlan and Brannick imply that the systematization and combination of scientific and practical knowledge in various contexts and situations contribute to sufficient decision-making while taking into account the external influencers (2014). In the context of the workplace case, the combination of these factors contributes to the evaluation of the issue from the employees’ and managerial perspectives. Consequently, this approach provides a profound understanding of the issue. Furthermore, it reflects my perception of the action research, as it implies the necessity to combine opinions of the multiple participants to determine the coherent solution.

Greenwood and Levin focus on the essentiality of complying with reality by depicting the particular scenarios from the case studies (2007). As for the reflection on the formation of the action research plan, this fact implies that being in direct contact with the management and employees corresponds with the primary principles of the action research and its vehement connection with the reality of the workplace.

Nonetheless, evaluation of the conditions and problem reframing is essential before implementing the other actions, as the chosen research approach has its limitations (Cassell & Johnson, 2006). In this instance, the conceptualization of the issue is essential while determining the essential steps of action due to the unknown consequences and complexities of the problem. This approach reflects my perception of modifying the content of the research and establishing the particular action research plan in compliance with the case.

In turn, Coghlan discusses the complexity of the action research by referring to the combination of the different gradations of knowledge and science approaches while implementing the stages of the action research (2011). The existence of these principles implies that the complexity of the action research while implementing it in the current workplace scenario cannot be underestimated. In this instance, the issue was observed from multiple perspectives, and a sufficient solution was determined due to the plethora of existing choices. Moreover, Susman and Evered emphasize the exceptionality of the foundations by referring to the inability to assess its outcomes (1978). In the context of the workplace scenario, the outcomes can be assumed. Nonetheless, the determination of whether they can cause the positive alterations or not can be fully evaluated due to the constantly changing external environment. These readings reflect and emphasize the complexity of the action research and particular complications, which can cause be the primary reason for the changes to my perceptions.


In conclusion, the analysis of the literature depicts the fundamental principles of the action research and portrays my reflection towards the implementation of these principles in my workplace scenario. The readings determine my understanding of the issue and contribute to the development of the particular form of the systematization of the action research principles in reality. Lastly, the principles of the action research application assess the fundamental aspects while reframing the problem by taking into account the plethora of choices.


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Burgess, J., & Connell, J. (2008). Introduction to the special issue: HRM and job quality: An overview. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19(3), 407.

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