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Collective learning: A way over the ridge to a new organizational attractor

Tomas Backström (Department for Labor Market and Work Organization, National Institute for Working Life (NIWL), Stockholm, Sweden)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



A theoretical model of collective learning has been developed based on complex systems theory. The need for collective learning is illustrated by an empirical study of an “unsuccessful” organizational‐renewal project in a Swedish Telecom firm. The conclusion, using chaordic systems thinking as a diagnostic framework, is that its interior was underdeveloped. A suggestion is given for use of collective learning to develop the organizational‐mind domain of the telecom firm in order to make the desired organizational‐behavior change more likely to occur. Collective learning is drawn apart for analytical purposes into four abilities: relationics, correlation, internal model, and praxis. It was possible to operationalize the theoretical model into a questionnaire and the model functioned well when analyzing the answers in a way that could be understood and accepted by the respondents of the questionnaire, and to give a base for work on improvements.



Backström, T. (2004), "Collective learning: A way over the ridge to a new organizational attractor", The Learning Organization, Vol. 11 No. 6, pp. 466-477.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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