This article examines the promotion and adoption of action research as an instrument of institutional change by academic staff in a Brazilian rural university. The results of the research are presented showing the mobilisation of a group of volunteers, the implementation of their action research projects and the sustainability of the process. Particular attention is drawn to the significance of an insider change agent/facilitator as the initiator of the action research process and how his role became superfluous as the networks evolved into true communities of practice. On reflection the original composite daisy model of Melrose and Reid has been discarded in favour of a simpler buttercup-type flower model of analysis to describe the process. © 2010 Educational Action Research.
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