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Organizing for learning and knowledge creation – are we too afraid to kill it? Projects as a learning space

Organizing for learning and knowledge creation – are we too afraid to kill it? Projects as a... Purpose – This paper aims to raise the question of how to organize for learning and knowledge creation at work, and in particular whether intervention and facilitation may obstruct or ease these processes. Learning and knowledge creation are often seen to be hindered by lack of interaction and meeting places, and a project may offer such a meeting place. The purpose of the paper is to show that in spite of being a top‐down organized project, this project still forms a space for learning with features of a community of practice. Design/methodology/approach – The study is a longitudinal case study of a project within one ward in a hospital. Data were constructed from observation, interviews and informal conversations; supplied by document studies of reports and minutes from meetings in the project group. Findings – Findings from this study indicate that through facilitation of a project embedded in a single department, a hospital unit, a space for learning and knowledge creation is created. This learning space has features of a community of practice due to the embeddedness of the project and in spite of the alienating nature of the project task. As a consequence, practice is changed. Practical implications – This paper concludes that projects can provide a field for learning and knowledge creation, and that organization and controlling structures do have a facilitating effect. This means that projects as a knowledge management tool can be useful. Originality/value – This paper addresses how a top‐down project can work as a learning space and be a source of changes in practice. It is of value since projects are increasingly used as a tool to organize work also in public organizations like hospitals. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Emerald Publishing

Organizing for learning and knowledge creation – are we too afraid to kill it? Projects as a learning space

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-8378
DOI
10.1108/17538371311319034
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to raise the question of how to organize for learning and knowledge creation at work, and in particular whether intervention and facilitation may obstruct or ease these processes. Learning and knowledge creation are often seen to be hindered by lack of interaction and meeting places, and a project may offer such a meeting place. The purpose of the paper is to show that in spite of being a top‐down organized project, this project still forms a space for learning with features of a community of practice. Design/methodology/approach – The study is a longitudinal case study of a project within one ward in a hospital. Data were constructed from observation, interviews and informal conversations; supplied by document studies of reports and minutes from meetings in the project group. Findings – Findings from this study indicate that through facilitation of a project embedded in a single department, a hospital unit, a space for learning and knowledge creation is created. This learning space has features of a community of practice due to the embeddedness of the project and in spite of the alienating nature of the project task. As a consequence, practice is changed. Practical implications – This paper concludes that projects can provide a field for learning and knowledge creation, and that organization and controlling structures do have a facilitating effect. This means that projects as a knowledge management tool can be useful. Originality/value – This paper addresses how a top‐down project can work as a learning space and be a source of changes in practice. It is of value since projects are increasingly used as a tool to organize work also in public organizations like hospitals.

Journal

International Journal of Managing Projects in BusinessEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 29, 2013

Keywords: Project based learning; Knowledge creation; Interaction; Project embeddedness; Knowledge management; Learning methods; Project management

References