Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Richard A. Young
Action theory is based on a school of thought in philosophy, social and cognitive psychology, neurology, and organizational behavior as well as in counseling and career development. This school of thought addresses the intentional, goal-directed nature of human behavior. It has historical roots in the works of George Herbert Mead, Talcott Parsons, and Lev Vygotsky, among others. Action theory has been referred to as a language for how people engage themselves in their daily lives by focusing specifically on processes across time. It takes a teleological perspective of human behavior, thus seeking explanations primarily in the goals of behavior rather than in their causes. Furthermore, action theory is not a theory in the traditional sense, whose purpose is to generate specific hypotheses that can be tested and subsequently accepted or rejected as part of the canon of science. Rather, it is more like a metatheory that provides a guiding framework ...