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Exploring, Constructing and Reconstructing Reality Published: Sunday, October 28, 2001 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

Action theory can be applied to sport psychology as well as to organizational behavior issues. This perspective has gained substantial attention by researchers and practitioners in relation to various constructs that are of value to sport psychology and organizational behavior issues, such as strain, stress, anxiety and crisis. The action theory perspective has been applied to the transaction between cognition, (knowledge, perception, memory, judgment) emotion, (feelings such like love, hate, fear, hostility) and motivation (impulses, intentions, causes), and to the foundation of motor behavior.

The action theory perspective can be summarized in a set of four postulates. (1) System postulate – action is an integrative, complex system process; (2) Intentionality postulate – action is a particular form of behavioral organization, namely, a deliberate behavior; it is not determined by only objective causes, but rather by subjective purposes; (3) Regulation postulate – action as an intentional behavior cannot be explain by exclusively biological regulatory mechanisms, but is to a significant extent regulated psychologically; (4) Development postulate – as a system process, as well as from its intentionality and regulation aspects, action is a physiological, existential and societal – historic phenomenon.

Through action the relationship between person and environment is established and identified, with regard to a task to be fulfilled. The point is that the action situation of a person is determined by personal, environmental and task related factors, in their objective and subjective senser. To understand people’s actions, a simultaneous analysis of these factors should be carried out with the focus of the fit and reciprocal relationship between these components.

Intention means that every action has a goal, a purpose and a meaning. Again, action is a specific type of behavior, which is continuous, intentional and goal-directed. The concept of action is strongly related to the concept of purpose. Actions are linked to motives to be satisfied and with problems to be solved. Both are represented in future expectations of the individual. In other words, actions have explorative, constructive and presentational functions in everyday life. That is, an individual subjectively explores, constructs and reconstructs reality, and uses action for self-presentation in everyday-life. Whenever a purpose is clearly established it will nourish and guide action.

Psychological processes require a corporal basis and corporal physiological processes also influence psychological factors. This is the wellness imperative. Regulation is associated with the principle of hierarchical – sequential structuring of behavior organization. A long jump is structured in a hierarchy of steps ranging from general (long jump) to specific (start, go, take off, flight, landing, etc.) configurating working goals and plans. This is the principle of from higher to lower levels of behavior. Here the comparison of desired and actual outcomes is highly important for behavior improvement and regulation…

Action theory provides the conditions for a person to flexibly adapt to his or her environmental conditions, which in turn explains the particular emphasis on psychological considerations. Actions for management purposes should be considered with reference to the development of the individual and the personal, organizational and social context. If we want to improve performance one has to work with human beings, with their educational experiences and with the environments, contexts or situations that impact social-institutional behavior.

Copyright 2001 QBS, Inc. 
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