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An Explosive Force: A Multi-Level, Multi-Modal Approach to Organisational Learning.

Langley, Dawn. (2010) An Explosive Force: A Multi-Level, Multi-Modal Approach to Organisational Learning. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

Organisational learning is a field that has grown exponentially (Bapuji & Crossan, 2004) in recent years and is characterised by different disciplines and varying underlying assumptions with limited agreement about what it represents (Shipton, 2006). What has emerged from this research is the need for a framework, which extends beyond some of the existing literature that sees organisational learning as rational, planned and cognitive to acknowledge the role of emotions, embodiment and aesthetics. Building on Bateson’s (2000a) levels of learning and Elkjaer’s (2004) ‘third way’ of organisational learning an expanded framework is proposed. Whereas other models have focussed on intentionality and the entity undertaking the learning this study makes a contribution by considering the nature of learning itself in relation to the ‘event’ of organisational turnaround. What is proposed is a multi-level, multi-modai view of organisational learning which acknowledges the importance of context. This gives space for intentional and planned learning as well as the unintentional and spontaneous, the explicit and the tacit. It also responds to the complexities of not-for-profit turnaround by considering causes, content, process and context thereby addressing what has been regarded as a weakness in research in this field to date (Pandit, 2000). Based on an ethnographic study of three publicly funded arts organisations that faced financial crisis this research addresses two questions: What light do the three organisations studied throw on the nature of organisational learning? What was different in the two organisations that survived compared with that which did not? The organisations studied here suggest that organisational learning is always happening but that it occurs at different levels, from automated responses to the potentially explosive paradigm shift, and that the level of learning is context dependent. The two organisations that survived their crises showed evidence of automated and operational learning as well as the ability to reframe their contexts. Whereas the organisation that went into insolvent liquidation seemed unable to respond to a changing context and adapt their learning routines beyond the automated and operational.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Langley, Dawn.
Date : 2010
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2010.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 12:15
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 12:17
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855771

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