Rejecting the traditional separation between the researcher and the research setting, this volume discusses a philosophy in which the researcher is fully involved in the process of organizational learning and change. By involving members of the organization at all stages of the research process, from initial design to final conclusions and actions, the strategy empowers organization members through the knowledge gained through research. Whyte and his collaborators outline the theory and methods behind participatory action research. They weigh the strengths and weaknesses than present a series of cased where this resarch strategy was used in both industry and agriculture in various countries on four continents.
William Foote Whyte, a sociology professor known for his work with urban gangs, died July 16. He was eighty-six. A 1936 graduate of Swarthmore, he earned a PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago. He began teaching on the Hill in 1948 as one of the first ILR professors. The title of his autobiography, Participant Observer, reflects his approach to academia--that a researcher can be a positive force for social change. "If there is a common theme in my work, it is my commitment to social exploration," he wrote. "Fieldwork fascinates me. I want to explain what is out there." Whyte, who became an emeritus professor in 1979, published twenty books, including the ground-breaking Street Corner Society, a 1943 study of Italian gangs in Boston's North End. He is survived by his wife of sixty-two years, Kathleen King Whyte, four children, twelve grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.