Constructing practice through processes
of socially situated learning
SINTEF Technology and Society/NTNU, Trondheim, Norway, and
CMOS, School of Management, Faculty of Business,
University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore organizational induction as socially situated
learning processes. It presents an empirical study of inductees going through an induction program in
a medium sized bank and discusses their induction as a dual process of becoming a practitioner and
Design/methodology/approach – The research performed is qualitative: ethnographic methods
including participant observation and interviews are used, and analysed through an interpretative
Findings – The paper suggests that the divide between the teaching curricula in the induction course
and the learning curriculainreal life banking contribute to the inductees’ ability and desire to engage in the
construction of customer service ofﬁcer practice; the divide itself legitimizes differences in particularities
of the practice, and enhances the inductees’ ability to enact, accomplish, and construct practice actively.
Research limitations/implications – The paper suggests induction should be viewed as
opportunities for organizational learning as much as the training of newcomers to adhere to
Originality/value – The paper presents a novel empirical case exploring socially situated learning.
Looking at the conﬂuence of authoring and performative acts allows us to expose the agentic
dimension of practices; thus emphasising the construction involved in any practising.
Keywords Learning, Induction, Socialization
Paper type Research paper
In this paper, we present an empirical study from DragonBank; we follow newcomers and
their learning to become customer service ofﬁcers (CSOs). We describe processes of
situated learning taking place in DragonBank’s induction course and in the bank’s
branches posterior to this formal induction course. In particular, we explore what we have
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The authors would like to acknowledge the Financial Support received by the UK Research
Funding Councils – ESRC/EPSRC Advanced Institute of Management Research, as part of the
AIM International Project “Practice and practising: a comparison across organizations, industries
and countries” under Grant No. RES-331-25-0024 led by Professor Elena Antonacopoulou.
The authors would also like to acknowledge the contribution and involvement of our industry
partner; their openness and honesty throughout the research project has been an exemplary
basis for research collaboration. In addition, they want to thank Arne Carlsen, Roger Klev,
Ingunn Hybertsen Lysø, and Kristian Mjøen for valuable feedback on earlier versions of this paper.
Society and Business Review
Vol. 5 No. 1, 2010
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited