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Learning and knowledge: a dream or nightmare for employees

Nadine Newman (The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica)
Dunstan Newman (The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




The paper aims to focus on the issues relating to the concepts of knowledge management (KM) and the learning organization and discusses the relationship between these concepts and the issues of power and control. It looks at Coopey’s (1998) critical review of the “Foucauldian gloom” with regard to the learning organization and helps to assess whether the concept is a dream or a nightmare for the employees and the organizations as a whole. While both concepts have many positive attributes and have helped to transform many organizations, the issues of power, control, trust and empowerment have been overlooked and disregarded. This paper will attempt to answer some of these questions.


This paper presents an analysis of literature in the field of KM and learning organizations and its relationship with the concepts of power, control and trust.


This paper shows that one of the main features of the management of organizational culture is to comprehend and effectively deal with the perceived connection involving knowledge, learning and power in organizations. It notes that while some writers are disproving of the learning perception in research on organizations, they also obscure issues of politics and power in organizations and do not focus on the more important question of whose interests are being provided. To spread democracy and liberation and create a democratic utopia in the learning organization requires more focus on the issue of power in the concepts of the learning organization and KM.


This paper will bring together research which links learning, knowledge and power. It also builds on the literature in learning and KM and offers essential information to human resource practitioners.



Newman, N. and Newman, D. (2015), "Learning and knowledge: a dream or nightmare for employees", The Learning Organization, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 58-71.



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