An evolving approach to the Kafka Brigade methodology.
…..only when you engage with the subject matter will it reveal its nature and inform you on how best to study it.
The Kafka method (now applied through Kafka Field Labs) was initially developed in the Netherlands as a practical approach to shift services to become more citizen centred. We started with action research, to learn about bureaucratic dysfunction in detail from the user perspective and to help tackle it at the same time. Action research can be described as a family of research methodologies that pursue action (or change) and research (or understanding) at the same time (Dick 1991). Ideally this is done through cyclical or spiral processes, which alternate between action and critical reflection. While our developmental process has been messier than that, we have continuously made efforts to refine methods, data and interpretation in the light of our developing understanding of bureaucratic dysfunction. Action research requires proximity to the object of study (Reason and Bradbury 2004, Stringer 2007): only when you engage with the subject matter will it reveal its nature and inform you on how best to study it. We found this highly applicable to the diagnosis of bureaucratic dysfunction.
... inspired by our experiences, our fieldwork, and by thought leaders in public management and leadership theory…
Moreover, our goal was to contribute to change through our research – and to test if change is more successful when those affected are involved. This led us to develop a participatory research approach, focused on collaborative inquiry with practitioners and with affected citizens. While inspired by our experiences, our fieldwork, and by thought leaders in public management and leadership theory, we deliberately tried to keep an agnostic mindset on the causes and effects of dysfunction. We were not led by any particular theoretical framework, although we were aware that many different theoretical perspectives would be helpful in interpreting the bureaucratic conundrums we came across. After 18-24 months, we began to recognize that the patterns we were finding through our empirical research were reflected in some academic frameworks – particularly those which formulated challenges in public management and leadership at a higher level of abstraction. Over the past few years we have increasingly drawn on these theories too, to afford rich insights into bureaucratic dysfunction.
….collaborative inquiry with practitioners and with affected citizens.
If you would like to know more, or follow up any of the cited references, please read “The Kafka Brigade Public Management Theory In Practice” by clicking on the link.