Abualqumboz, Moheeb (2015) Challenges to Interorganisational learning in learning networks: implications for practice. Doctoral thesis, University of Manchester.

Research on organisational learning (OL) was mainly positioned within the psychological and sociological domains. Past and extant research on OL focused on the behavioural, cognitive and intuitive perspectives in addition to a growing track of research grounded on social theory. So far, a countless number of research studies attempted to address inter-organisational learning (IOL) from various perspectives. However, the lack of understanding of how IOL occurs in networks can be observed due to the social tensions that are created at the inter-organisational level such as free-riding and knowledge leakage.
This thesis, therefore, aims to draw theoretical explanations of IOL and how it occurs in learning networks, taking into consideration similarities and contradictions amongst a network’s participating organisations. Towards this end, the thesis employs two theoretical lenses, namely structure-agency and social exchange theories to draw conclusions that provide fresh explanations of how networks are helpful in fostering or hindering learning activities in addition to how reciprocity as an efficacy device mediates IOL dynamics.
Positioned within a qualitative vein, the thesis employs an interpretive perspective to collect and analyse empirical evidence. The qualitative data were developed through a mixture of participant observations, semi-structured interviews and casual conversations with network administrators and participants. The data were analysed using thematic analysis which generated codes, following which conclusions were drawn. The main contributions of this article are (1) unfolding the network as agency which provides a fresh understanding of how the agential role of networks mediates IOL and (2) drawing a framework of dimensions of reciprocal exchanges that explains how IOL occurs in networks.
The first conclusion of this thesis explained how the agential role is socially constructed and how the interpretive device facilitated this construction. The second conclusion of this thesis explained how reciprocal exchanges mediate IOL and provide a framework that suggested IOL can be better understood through temporal, spatial, directional and symmetrical perspectives.

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