Psychological climates in action learning sets: a manager's perspective

Annie Yeadon-Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Action learning (AL) is often viewed as a process that facilitates professional learning through the creation of a positive psychological climate [Marquardt, M. J. 2000. “Action Learning and Leadership.” The Learning Organisation 7 (5): 233–240; Schein, E. H. 1979. “Personal Change Through Interpersonal Relationships.” In Essays in Interpersonal Dynamics, edited by W. Bennis, J. Van Maanen, E. H. Schein, and F. I. Steele, 129–162]. A psychological climate that fosters an environment in which learning set members feel psychologically safe enough to reflect upon both the successes and the failures in their professional life, without any form of repercussion. However, there has been little attention given to the ways that that psychological climate develops, and the differing facets that create that climate. In response to such deficit, this paper reports the outcomes of interviews with 11 managers, all of whom are former AL set (ALS) members, on their experiences of ALS membership. Drawing upon an interpretivist philosophy, the paper explores the key themes that emerged from the analysis of those interviews. The analysis serves to illustrate the differing facets that collectively contribute to the creation of a positive psychological climate that is conducive for learning. The analysis points to the relative importance of such facets as trust, honesty, vulnerability, reciprocity, confidentiality and personal disclosure, all of which have the capacity to lead to a positive psychological climate in ALSs. This paper is useful for developing an understanding of the differing facets in ALSs that create a psychological climate conducive for learning. As such, it has utility for AL facilitators, set members, academics and educational consultants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-275
Number of pages15
JournalAction Learning: Research and Practice
Issue number3
Early online date28 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychological climates in action learning sets: a manager's perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this