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Collective learning: Interaction and a shared action arena
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Workplace Learning, ISSN 1366-5626, Vol. 23, no 8, 487-500 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The paper argues for a theoretical contribution that deals with the detection of collective learning. The aim is to examine and clarify the genesis processes of collective learning. The empirical basis is a telecom context with task-driven networking across both internal and external organizational borders.

Methodology/approach: The research draws upon an integration of organizational learning theory and a relational and contextual branch of experiential learning theory framed as organizational pedagogy. A case study of R&D work serves as the empirical foundation. Four teams were studied through interviews, focus groups, and observations. Data were analyzed in interplay between empirical findings and theoretical concepts.

Findings: Collective learning does not only occur within the boundaries of well-defined groups where previously identified. Characterized by distributed work processes and rapid changes in the telecom context, collective learning is associated with individual distribution of tasks, insufficiency as a foundation, a question-and-answer space, and the imprints of others in a shared action arena.

Research limitations/implications: Conclusions concern how collective learning can be comprehended. The paper points to the importance of interaction and a shared action arena. The way in which knowledge develops is, to some extent, context-dependent. This indicates that the characteristics of the shared action arena vary.

Practical implications: Differentiating learning processes have a practical significance for organizations wanting to focus upon competence issues.

Originality/value: This study identified the importance for collective learning of the presence of a shared action arena. The theoretical contribution fills a gap in the understanding of how collective learning arises when moving from face-to-face learning within local teams, to networking across both internal and external organizational borders. This contributes to the understanding of how the learning of individuals links with the learning of an organization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 23, no 8, 487-500 p.
Keyword [en]
Action arena, Collective learning, Telecom, Interaction, Organizational learning, Competences, Learning, Learning organizations
National Category
Pedagogy Learning
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63936OAI: diva2:453553
Available from: 2011-11-02 Created: 2011-11-02 Last updated: 2011-12-16Bibliographically approved

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