University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

The hunting of the learning organization - A paradoxical journey

Tosey, P (2005) The hunting of the learning organization - A paradoxical journey MANAGE LEARN, 36 (3). pp. 335-352.


Download (128kB)


This article addresses the epistemology of learning, as reflected in some discourses of the learning organization. The article is inspired by, and draws substantially from, Lewis Carroll’s ‘Hunting of the Snark’. It employs a broadly systemic theoretical perspective. The article highlights relevant characteristics of Carroll’s fiction and argues for the importance of differentiation between orders of learning, following Bateson’s model of levels of learning. Building on this differentiation of orders of learning, and on the notion of the inevitable paradoxical nature of organizations, the article explores a possible conceptual integration of ‘learning’ and ‘politics’, which Easterby-Smith et al. consider desirable. A question raised is of whether experiences cited as paradigmatic of ‘the learning organization’ are most likely to be transient and emergent. The analysis questions the extent to which such states can be produced through intention and design, and therefore to what extent the wish for these to become permanent states may parallel the hunt for the Snark.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors : Tosey, P
Date : September 2005
DOI : 10.1177/1350507605055350
Uncontrolled Keywords : learning, learning organization, learning to learn, organizational learning, paradox, systems theory, POWER
Depositing User : Mr Adam Field
Date Deposited : 27 May 2010 14:38
Last Modified : 06 Jul 2019 05:06

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800