Yeadon-Lee, Annie (2015) Organizational Learning: Keeping Pace with Change through Action Learning. In: Tenth Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, 11-14 June 2015, University of Split Split, Croatia.
Abstract

In the current climate of economic ‘austerity’, organisational learning has increasingly gained importance, and a need for new ways of transferring learning has been identified. Organisational learning is seen as key to organisational success, ensuring both competitive advantage and organisational longevity. However, in order for organisations to keep pace with change they must not only strive to learn but also pay attention to how they might learn. A dominant view within the field of organisational learning is that employees are the most productive source for learning. For the most part, learning largely takes place through training, management and leadership development programmes, or on the job, where the goal is to convert tacit knowledge into explicit and practical forms of knowledge that can inform and transform organisational processes and practices. A limitation of these forms of learning is that they rely on a didactic approach to teaching and learning. This paper discusses the value of action learning as a tool for a more effective way of knowledge transfer, and as a way in which organisations can facilitate and utilise learning in new and more effective ways. The paper draws on qualitative research carried out with middle and senior managers, from a variety of sectors, who have recently completed educational programmes that utilised action learning. The paper highlights how through this learning approach, the managers uncovered explicit knowledge, and developed the skills and ability to challenge organisational mores. The paper also reports on the challenges and solutions they found in diffusing their new explicit knowledge in their respective workplaces. Through these findings the paper argues that action learning offers a productive approach to facilitate and support both organisational learning and organisational change.

This paper discusses the value of action learning in facilitating and supporting both organisational learning and organisational change.

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