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The centrality of teams in the organisational learning process

Peter Murray (Department of Business, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Maree Moses (Department of Business, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 October 2005




The purpose of this paper is to provide a greater understanding of the role of team learning by examining the link between team centrality and organisational learning.


This paper is a conceptual paper that examines a range of literature related to team learning. It is the first paper in a series of three. The final paper examines the propositions developed in this and a subsequent paper by exploring team learning in over 30 large companies across a range of industries. Team processes are all but defined by pre‐existing organisational processes. At one extreme, they are directive and driven. At another, they are dynamic and fluid and underlie a degree of self‐managed activity. Team processes accordingly are potentially dynamic or rather basic depending on the level of structured or unstructured activity. The paper suggests that potentially dynamic teams are those that display superior learning routines that are embodied within each team's processes. This paper contends that team learning is a centrally located variable within organisational learning processes.


To date, team characteristics, team building, and team structures have been the focus of much research, but team learning routines have been underplayed in the team's literature. Teams are central in the organisational learning process.

Practical implications

This paper establishes the theoretical underpinning for a final paper that will make significant recommendations. There are practical implications, however, of various links across the themes, particularly the centrality of the team in the learning process.


This paper is a highly valuable due to very little research being completed to date on this topic.



Murray, P. and Moses, M. (2005), "The centrality of teams in the organisational learning process", Management Decision, Vol. 43 No. 9, pp. 1186-1202.



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