Schofield, Keith (2013) People Learning In Organisations: A Socio-Cultural Approach. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

A research study has been completed to explore notions of community, participation and practice in relation to organisational learning. Finding that existing organisational learning literature was only able to partially explain the learning process, literature is drawn from non-organisational contexts and mapped across to the workplace in order to comprehensively explain the mechanisms of learning. In doing this, learning is positioned a social process;
this thesis contributes to existing literature by unpicking the intricacies of social interaction and the nuanced nature of participation in the case study organisation to develop an understanding of the learning process.

The research project was undertaken in a debt recovery agency in the Huddersfield area, Smart Debt Recovery. Using an ethnographic research
style, research involved participant observation, interviews and document collection. The initial analysis was completed on the observation notes and involved the data being constructed into a story that enables the reader to get a real feel for what working at Smart Debt Recovery is like. Additionally, it served as a valuable analytic tool that informed the interview schedule that
followed. Analysis after this was completed thematically; the data were coded in such a way that all aspects of participation in Smart Debt Recovery’s practices were understood in terms of learning.

The research has developed understandings of learning within an organisation by making use of non-organisational learning theories and applying them within a workplace context. Notably, social constructivist understandings of learning, such as progression through a Zone of Proximal Development are applied to learning instances and notions of participation in multiple communities of practice, and the multi-faceted nature of this, is used to reflect on individual levels of learning and performance. The key outcome of this research is a thorough, unique and detailed exploration of learning happening within an organisation.

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