The structuration of organizational learning

F.K. Boersma, H. Berends, M. Weggeman

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    Although it is currently common to speak of organizational learning, this notion is still surrounded by conceptual confusion. It is unclear how notions like learning, knowledge and cognitive activities can be applied to organizations. Some authors have tried to unravel the conceptual and ontological problems by giving an account of the role of individuals in organizational learning. However, this has not yet led to an agreed upon analysis, In this article we use structuration theory to overcome the dualism of individual and organization in organizational learning. We support, illustrate and elaborate our structurationist perspective by an ethnographic and historical study of an industrial research laboratory. We show how organizational learning evolves from distributed social practices, creatively realized by knowledgeable individuals, and illustrate how these practices are enabled and constrained by existing structures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1035-1054
    Number of pages20
    JournalHuman Relations
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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