From digital administration to organisational learning

Bente Elkjaer (Learning Lab Denmark, The Danish University of Education, Copenhagen, Denmark(E‐mail:

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To explore whether deliberate organisational change of a public sector organisation (a local municipality) would create an avenue for organisational learning.


A case study was set up to study the means by which the organisational change towards a digital administration was to come about. The organisational change was interpreted through the optics of theories of organisational learning. A pragmatic version of these theories is presented and applied in the study in which learning is understood as being triggered by the meeting with uncertainty and the relation between the individual and the organisation (subject‐world) as transactional (a continuous mutual formation).


Viewed through the lenses of a pragmatic understanding of organisational learning it is possible to extend this understanding to an understanding of organisations as arenas made up by social worlds created and held together by commitments to organisational activities. Further, elaborating the idea of learning as being triggered by the meeting with uncertainty into the organisational arena, it is possible to characterise organisational tensions made up by different commitments to the organisational change and development as tensions between social worlds. It is argued that these tensions may act as closures or openings towards organisational learning understood as the continuous transformation of the organisation.


This paper offers an understanding of organisational learning that ties the subject‐world, the individual‐organisation, together in a way that is coherent with the learning theory. Further, it offers possibilities for working with the enhancement of organisational learning by way of paving a way for joint critical thinking or inquiry.



Elkjaer, B. (2005), "From digital administration to organisational learning", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 17 No. 8, pp. 533-544.

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