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Interventions to stimulate group learning in organizations

Valerie I. Sessa (Department of Psychology, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA)
Manuel London (State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, USA)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 13 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe a model of group learning, examine variables that stimulate a group to learn and determine the group's readiness to learn, and provide suggested interventions to enhance group readiness to learn.


This practical paper, based on a model of group learning and recent group, learning, and systems literature, examines what triggers groups to learn and what makes groups ready to learn, and then suggest interventions to enhance group readiness to learn. Learning requires that the group recognizes variables that trigger learning. These may be pressures or opportunities from outside the group or encouragement and direction from group members. In addition, the group needs to be ready to learn when the triggers occur. Readiness to learn is a function of the group's maturity, boundary permeability, and learning orientation.


Based on a review of the literature and the model, the paper suggests ways to diagnose learning triggers and readiness and propose interventions to increase general readiness to learn as well as the group's readiness to learn as the group is forming, when the group makes progress, and as the group concludes its work. Finally, the paper presents a case to demonstrate learning triggers and the importance of readiness to learn.


This paper fulfills an identified need by managers in organizations regarding understanding group learning, what triggers it, and how to enhance group readiness to learn and offers practical help to stimulating a group's readiness to learn.



Sessa, V.I. and London, M. (2008), "Interventions to stimulate group learning in organizations", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 554-573.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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