Grounded Action: Achieving Optimal and Sustainable Change


  • Odis E. Simmons Fielding Graduate Institute
  • Toni A. Gregory Fielding Graduate Institute



grounded action, grounded theory, action research, social change, organizational change, complexity, transformative learning


Grounded action is the application and extension of grounded theory for the purpose of designing and implementing practical actions such as interventions, program designs, action models, social and organizational policies, and change initiatives. Grounded action was designed by the authors to address the complexity and multi-dimensionality of organizational and social problems and issues. It extends grounded theory beyond its original purpose of generating theory that is grounded in data by providing a means of developing actions that are also grounded (systematically derived from a grounded theory). URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0303271


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Author Biographies

Odis E. Simmons, Fielding Graduate Institute

Dr. Odis Eugene Bigus SIMMONS was awarded a Ph.D. in sociology in 1974 from the University of California, San Francisco, where he received training in grounded theory from its originators, Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss. He also did graduate work in social psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has devoted his career to researching and devising ways of using grounded theory as a foundation for action. One result of these efforts is a methodological rather than preconceived clinical/theoretical approach to conducting counseling and psychotherapy which he refers to as "grounded therapy" that he researched and devised during many years as a practicing counselor/therapist. Another result is "grounded action," which he devised with his colleague and co-author, Dr. Toni Gregory. He has served academic appointments on the Sociology and Urban Studies faculties at the University of Tulsa, as Director and faculty member of the Katharyn Cornell School of Alcohol and Other Drugs Studies at the University of Tulsa, as Director of Research and Development for the Self-Care Program in the Yale University School of Medicine, and currently as a faculty member in the Educational Leadership and Change Doctoral Program at the Fielding Graduate Institute, where he and Dr. Gregory teach a doctoral level training sequence in grounded theory and grounded action.

Toni A. Gregory, Fielding Graduate Institute

Dr. Toni A. GREGORY is a core faculty member at the Fielding Graduate Institute School of Educational Leadership and Change as well as a consultant specializing in the study of organizational learning and the impact of culture and complexity on organizational transformation. She has an extensive background in leadership, management, organization theory and research. She was formerly a professor of management at the Morehouse School of Business at Morehouse College. Additionally, she has been a corporate manager as well as a senior administrator in higher education. She was director of research at the American Institute for Managing Diversity where she established and managed a global research division and supervised a variety of research initiatives. She has experience in a broad range of research methodologies including a variety of quantitative and qualitative models of research. She is also experienced in the learning history methodology designed specifically for use in studying learning organizations. The method was developed by George Roth and Art Kleiner at the MIT Center for Organizational Learning with whom she has worked extensively on learning histories for corporate as well as academic organizations. She co-developed the grounded action method with Dr. Odis Simmons. They are collaborating on a book about the method. Dr. Gregory received a Bachelors degree from the University of Michigan in Psychology, 1970, a Masters degree from the University of Cincinnati in Corporate Education, 1988 and a Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati in Organizational Psychology/Organizational Learning, 1996.




How to Cite

Simmons, O. E., & Gregory, T. A. (2003). Grounded Action: Achieving Optimal and Sustainable Change. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 4(3).



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