Org Learning Spec. issue LO6222

Tojo Joseph (
Mon, 4 Mar 1996 23:45:06 -0500

Hello Richard, here is the table of contents and summary/abstracts of the
special issue of Journal of Organizational Change Managment that I guest
edited. Could you please place this on the LO List? Copies of the issue may
be purchased by contacting Samantha Strauss, Subscription Services
Department, MCB University Press Limited,
60/62 Toller Lane, Bradford, W Yorks BD8 9BY, UK. Tel: 1274 777700; Fax:
1274 785280.

They may also be available in local libraries.
Thank you.

Organizational Learning: Past, Present, and Future

Journal of Organizational Change Management
Volume 9 Number 1 1996

Editor: David M. Boje

Guest Editor: Tojo Joseph Thatchenkery
Table of Contents
Guest Editorial
Organizational learning, language games, and knowledge creation
Tojo Joseph Thatchenkery

Historical foundations of organizational learning
Philip H. Mirvis

Resolving the spirit and substance of organizational learning
Mark Addleson
Conviction and doubt in organizational learning
Param Srikantia and William Pasmore

The Role of creative action in organizational learning and change
Cameron M. Ford and dt ogilvie

Organizational knowledge, learning and memory: Three concepts in search of a
J-C Spender

Exploring knowledge diversity as a basis for integration in knowledge
intensive firms: A new role for information systems
Ramkrishnan V. Tenkasi and Richard J. Boland, Jr.

Research notes
>From theory to practice: Research territory, processes and structure at an
organizational learning center
George Roth and Peter Senge

Organizational learning research profile
Mary Crossan and Tracy Guatto

Historical Foundations of Organizational Learning
Philip H. Mirvis

A broad review of theory and research about organizations as social,
information processing, interpretive, and inquiry systems locates the
origins of key concepts behind organization learning. This shows how
different schools of thought explain what is behind routine versus creative
action in organizations and what might be done to help people to
collectively unlearn old habits and develop new behaviors. A look at
contemporary models and practices considers to what extent wholistic
thinking and work arrangements will promote organizational learning and how
measures to enhance collective consciousness could enable people to learn
how to learn.

Resolving the Spirit and Substance of Organizational Learning
Mark Addleson

There are two strands in the organizational learning (OL) literature marked
by incompatible world views. The dominant substance is modernist while the
spirit is interpretive. The focus on systems, in form of learning loops and
systems archetypes, identifies an acceptance of the tenets of modernism.
The spirit offers an innovative view of management and contradicts the
modernist substance. Drawing on contemporary hermeneutics, the spirit leads
to a different conception of the organization, the role of management, and
OL. Organizations comprise communities with different interests and
understandings. Both organizational problems and solutions reflect people's
understanding. Cooperation involves establishing mutual interests and is
achieved through discourse that builds communities of understanding.
Conviction and doubt in organizational learning
Param Srikantia and William Pasmore

This paper examines the roles of conviction and doubt in organizational
learning processes and focuses on the challenge of transforming individual
learning into organizational learning. The individual and organizational
effects of too little doubt or too little conviction are explored in terms
of awareness of the need for organizational learning, the design of
organizational learning processes, and active experimentation in
implementing what is being learned. Using the concepts of conviction and
doubt, a tentative model of organizational learning is presented which
posits a cycle that alternates between individual doubt and collective
consensus and conviction. A case study is presented in order to illustrate
how doubt and conviction might be employed to assist interventions in
organizational learning.

The Role of Creative Action in Organizational learning and Change
Cameron M. Ford and dt ogilvie

Organizational learning is most frequently depicted as an
intra-organizational information processing activity. However, the role
that experience plays in the development of organizational knowledge has
recently become a more central focus of learning theories. Yet, the two
primary perspectives on organizational learning present strikingly different
depictions of the relationship between action and learning.
Systems-Structural models of organizational learning based on positivist
epistemological assumptions emphasize internally-directed information
collection and distribution activities aimed at reducing uncertainty.
Conversely, interpretive models utilize an interpretivist epistemology that
emphasizes the necessity of taking action in ambiguous circumstances as a
means of creating knowledge. Unfortunately, neither of these alternative
views of organizational learning describe how learning outcomes vary as a
consequence of different types of action. Specifically, previous models of
organizational learning have not emphasized the critical role that creative
actions play in the development of organizational knowledge. This paper
delineates assumptions that serve to legitimize creative action taking
within organizational contexts, and describes the learning outcomes that
result from creative and routine actions. This framework extends previous
models of organizational learning that emphasize cognition and communication
processes by distinguishing the varied influences that different actions
have on the production of knowledge.

Organizational knowledge, learning and memory: Three concepts in search of a
J-C Spender
There is much interest in organizational knowledge following the recognition
of its strategic place in inter-firm competition. But we lack an adequate
theory of such knowledge, or of its acquisition, storage and application.
Penrose's (1959) theory of the growth of the firm, Nelson and Winter's
(1982) evolutionary economics, and the Gestalt notions of discontinuous
perceptual change taken from Lewin (1935), still define the cutting edge of
the learning and knowledge-based approaches to the firm. Compared with
these field-shaping works, the recent literature on organizational
knowledge, learning and memory seems inconclusive. We step back and take a
new start from the Jamesian distinction between knowing what and knowing
how, and the Durkheimian distinction between individual and social forms of
knowledge. The resulting pluralistic organizational epistemology implies a
dynamic theory of the firm as a dialectical system of knowledge processes.

Exploring Knowledge Diversity as a basis for Integration in Knowledge
Intensive Firms: A New Role for Information Systems
Ramkrishnan V. Tenkasi and Richard J. Boland, Jr.

The emerging global economy is increasingly characterized by knowledge
intensive firms. These firms require that diverse, specialized knowledge
workers develop unique knowledge competencies, and also collaborate in ways
to create new knowledge that enhances the performance of the organization.
Information technologies are increasingly playing an integrative role in
knowledge intensive firms as a way of achieving mutual learning. However,
the Information Systems field has been predominantly driven by the notion of
integration as a rational design process and an end state to be achieved
through a static incorporation of knowledge domains. It has failed to
consider the interpretive dynamics associated with the integration of
differentiated knowledge and expertise. This paper argues a new role for
information technology, one that supports the exploration of differentiated
theories of meaning and knowledge and facilitates the conduct of dialogue
among highly differentiated experts as a basis for integration.

Research Notes
>From Theory to Practice: Research Territory, Processes and Structure at an
Organizational Learning Center
George Roth and Peter Senge

By definition, all organizations that survive as their environment evolves
are learning, at least to some degree. Yet we believe that the learning
capabilities of most organizations are extremely limited, especially when
learning requires that diverse constituencies build shared understanding of
dynamically complex business environments. As such learning capabilities
become increasingly needed, those organizations which possess them will have
unique advantages. Discovering how organizations might develop such
learning capabilities represents a unique opportunity for partnership
between researchers and practitioners. To do this will require consensus
about the research territory, research methods and goals, and how meaningful
field projects can be designed and conducted.

Organizational learning research profile
Mary Crossan and Tracy Guatto

This paper presents the results of a key word search of the Social Science
Citation Index (SSCI), ABI Inform, and PyschLit data bases using the terms
"organizational learning" and "learning organization" to uncover patterns
relating to the:
1. Amount of publishing activity by year;
2 Influential authors;
3 Journals publishing organizational learning research; and
4. Type of research published.

Tojo Joseph Thatchenkery
Program on Social and Organizational Learning
George Mason University, 4084 University Drive, Suite 206
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone (703) 934 1565 & 993 1142. Fax: (703) 934 1578 Mailstop 5C7


Tojo Joseph <>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>