Experiential learning in retrospect: a future organizational challenge?

Experiential learning in retrospect: a future organizational challenge? Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe a retrospective reflection over unconscious, emergent learning among employees of an organization and to suggest how to capture these moments of experiential learning for future organizational learning. Design/methodology/approach – Action research in organizations is undertaken in interaction with the employees of the organization studied. The outcome is characterized by a deep understanding of the individuals as well as of the course of events in the system. The paper therefore applies action research, focusing on the experiential learning from daily actions in the case organization at Volvo Cars’ production plant in Sweden. Findings – The conclusion is that an evolution toward a learning organization, as exemplified by the case studied, is not identified until after it actually happens, i.e. in retrospect. It is suggested that the competence build‐up recognized in retrospect should become an integral part of future educational programs. The multidisciplinary competence established should also be considered when teams are set up for new projects. Practical implications – Future strategies for capturing learning are provided and summarized, to structure the capturing of learning as it takes place in the daily operation, to identify the individuals who initiate changes and let them act as learning ambassadors, to integrate multidisciplinary competencies in the early stages of projects, and to facilitate multidisciplinary cooperation along organizational processes, within and between firms. Originality/value – The paper's contribution is the identification of and reflection about emergent learning that takes place in daily work tasks. It also provides suggestions for future strategies of capturing these experiential learning occasions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Workplace Learning Emerald Publishing

Experiential learning in retrospect: a future organizational challenge?

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1366-5626
DOI
10.1108/13665620810892094
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe a retrospective reflection over unconscious, emergent learning among employees of an organization and to suggest how to capture these moments of experiential learning for future organizational learning. Design/methodology/approach – Action research in organizations is undertaken in interaction with the employees of the organization studied. The outcome is characterized by a deep understanding of the individuals as well as of the course of events in the system. The paper therefore applies action research, focusing on the experiential learning from daily actions in the case organization at Volvo Cars’ production plant in Sweden. Findings – The conclusion is that an evolution toward a learning organization, as exemplified by the case studied, is not identified until after it actually happens, i.e. in retrospect. It is suggested that the competence build‐up recognized in retrospect should become an integral part of future educational programs. The multidisciplinary competence established should also be considered when teams are set up for new projects. Practical implications – Future strategies for capturing learning are provided and summarized, to structure the capturing of learning as it takes place in the daily operation, to identify the individuals who initiate changes and let them act as learning ambassadors, to integrate multidisciplinary competencies in the early stages of projects, and to facilitate multidisciplinary cooperation along organizational processes, within and between firms. Originality/value – The paper's contribution is the identification of and reflection about emergent learning that takes place in daily work tasks. It also provides suggestions for future strategies of capturing these experiential learning occasions.

Journal

Journal of Workplace LearningEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 8, 2008

Keywords: Learning organizations; Experiential learning; Action research; Case studies; Packaging

References

  • Action science and organizational learning
    Argyris, C.
  • Operationalizing the concept of value – an action research based model
    Näslund, D.; Olsson, A.; Karlsson, S.

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