The purpose of this paper is to add to the emerging literatures on organizational learning and strategic management by developing a practice perspective on strategic organizational learning (SOL). While the literature on SOL has been growing, much of it has targeted exclusively practitioners and has not yet elaborated the mechanics and the micro‐dynamics of SOL. This paper is an initial attempt at exploring two important aspects of SOL: deep‐structure politics, and sensegiving.
The paper reports a qualitative case study of a major construction project undertaken by a mid‐size urban university as a part of its strategic change initiative.
Several ways in which deep‐structure politics shaped SOL at the research site are highlighted. The findings suggest that deep‐structure politics and sensegiving can shape identity processes in the context of SOL in important ways, such as dramatically altering the identity of the project team and symbolically separating it from the host institution.
The paper enriches the predominantly practitioner literature on SOL with empirical examination of the practices of SOL.
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