From transfer to co-creation: action research perspectives in knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) projects

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Action Research (AR) is about practitioners and academics interacting to generate knowledge. Using the University-Industry Collaboration (UIC) literature, we investigate the knowledge generation process through AR and whether this process can achieve the dual objective of practical relevance and theoretical novelty. Our study explores this through an examination of the utilisation of AR within UICs facilitated by the UK government’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme. Through an inductive, qualitative, multiple case study research design, we analysed three KTP projects, each lasting two years. We observed an evolution in the dynamics of the relationship between practitioners and academics, signifying a transition from mere knowledge transfer to a more participatory process of knowledge co-creation. We found that as the KTP project progresses through successive cycles of the AR spiral, there emerges a shift from single loop to double loop or multi loop learning, resulting in unplanned and emergent benefits and outcomes. This transition signifies a deeper exploration of underlying assumptions and strategies in AR projects, enabling the generation of novel knowledge. We offer a new framework by introducing the collaborative entanglement and linear knowledge enhancement arguments to explain the interaction patterns between researchers and practitioners in AR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalProduction Planning and Control
Early online date1 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Apr 2024


  • action research
  • knowledge co-creation
  • knowledge transfer
  • university industry collaboration
  • knowledge transfer partnership (KTP)


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