Organisational Learning Won't be Turned Off

Authored by: Bente Elkjaer

The Routledge International Handbook of Learning

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415571302
eBook ISBN: 9780203357385
Adobe ISBN: 9781136598562


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Enterprises have always been learning organisations in much the same way as it is hard for people to avoid learning. A sign of learning organisations are the many successful enterprises and the abundance of new products and services that keep emerging. The question about organisational learning is, how is it possible to ‘see’ and to analyse learning when learning is not connected to individuals but to organisations and organising? In a normative sense, however, ‘organisational learning’ is often used as our answer to the difficulties in enterprises of how most efficiently to channel knowledge to the right people and places in ways that help to maintain and develop prosperous enterprises. Then, organisational learning is viewed as an image of an enterprise as that of a learning organisation. The guidelines or ‘best practices’ of how to become a learning organisation are, however, often made with reference to ideas of education, i.e. intentional processes of the production of knowledge. In this paper, I argue that learning and organisational learning does not primarily appear as a result of intended processes, but often as the opposite, i.e. as a struggle to maintain the old and create new.

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