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A Systemic Cybernetic Model of Programmatic “Action-Research”: Lessons from Case Observations of the Integrated Generation, Communication & Management of Health Care Knowledge

Carol MCWILLIAM, Moira STEWART, Evelyn VINGILIS, Catherine WARD-GRIFFIN, Sandra COLEMAN, Donna LADOUCEUR and Anita Cole.


This paper presents a case study illustrating the integrated generation, communication and management of health care knowledge using a non-linear,  programmatic systemic cybernetic action-research model. The model was evolved through the conduct of a 22-year program of applied health services studies. Lewin’s theory-driven action and Argyris’s practice-driven research approaches transpired simultaneously through synergistic feedback and feed-forward loops that constituted a helix of knowledge generation, communication and management, ever-evolving over time. The case study overviews the outcomes achieved by the interdisciplinary team of Canadian researchers, decision-makers and practitioners.. Outcomes reflect not only the research program’s content aim of enhancing the health and independence of in-home healthcare clients, but also, simultaneously, the successful integration of knowledge generation, communication and management processes that ultimately comprised a learning organization attuned to the on-going evolution of evidence-based practice.  The case illuminates several strategies for advancing the theory and practice of integrated knowledge generation, communication and management. In an era demanding accountability for efficient, effective allocation of resources, in-depth examination of this integrated interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral longterm approach affords lessons for both the practice and theory of knowledge translation.

Full Paper in PDF Document

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