PurposeThe aim of the paper is to analyze the process of “germ cell” formation by framing it as an opportunity for promoting organizational learning and transformation. The paper aims to specifically answer two research questions: Why does the “germ cell” have a pivotal role in organization’s transformation? and Which conditions facilitate the formation of the “germ cell” in the management of complex and uncertain problems?Design/methodology/approachThe paper answers the research questions first by presenting the literature related to knowing and learning inside organizations, and second by introducing the concept of “germ cell” and connecting it with the metaphors of “waiting experiment” and “anchoring forward”. Finally, the paper analyzes the steps by which the “germ cell” is shaped, thus owing to the exploration of problematic situations, underpinning the “germ cell’s ” role to open perspectives for multiple applications and development. Two research interventions are presented by focusing on the construction of the “germ cell” moving from the problematic situations to promote organizational learning and change.FindingsThe paper describes the formation of the “germ cell” as a process that opens possibilities for subjects to recognize and reflect on the recurrent and taken-for-granted practices and concepts and give sense to them by making the inner contradiction and the ways for managing it visible.Originality/valueThe unfolding and challenging inceptive configuration of the germ cell sheds light on the discursive/conversational/language processes and the activities entangled in socio-material instrumentalities and environments in which people are involved.
Journal of Workplace Learning – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 9, 2016
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