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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Marianne Döös, Lena Wilhelmson, Thomas Backlund and Nancy Dixon

In the telecommunication industry, companies gain a competitive edge through the competence of their employees, making issues of learning critical. The study aims to…

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1297

Abstract

Purpose

In the telecommunication industry, companies gain a competitive edge through the competence of their employees, making issues of learning critical. The study aims to identify specific learning processes necessary when working at the edge both of one's own knowledge and of that of the branch.

Design/methodology/approach

This research draws on theories of learning through experience and interaction, and looks at software development engineers working at the interface between tele‐ and datacom within one company, Ericsson, Sweden. Data were collected in 2000 in four software‐engineering teams, through semi‐structured interviews, reflection groups and observations. Data were analyzed in an interplay between empirical findings and theoretical concepts.

Findings

The research identified three kinds of learning processes in which employees engage to accomplish their tasks: learning basic knowledge; co‐creating new knowledge; and learning changing‐knowledge. Learning basic knowledge was a frequent returning to a state of knowing nothing among skilled workers. The co‐creation of new knowledge implied close interaction processes in the midst of carrying out difficult work tasks. Learning changing‐knowledge questioned hitherto acquired knowledge through the necessity of taking in new facts and aspects in relation to already existing deep and extensive knowing.

Practical implications

Differentiating these learning processes has theoretical implications and a practical significance for organizations wanting to focus on competence and learning issues.

Originality/value

When organizing for learning it is of crucial importance to be aware of the kind of actual learning processes that are ongoing and need support and infrastructure.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 17 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Lena Wilhelmson

The aim of this paper is to show what the leaders themselves regard as the working ingredients in their mutual work situation that help to facilitate personal development.

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2871

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to show what the leaders themselves regard as the working ingredients in their mutual work situation that help to facilitate personal development.

Design/methodology/approach

In the paper data were collected through semi‐structured interviews with 14 leaders at low and middle management levels in different lines of business within the private and public sector. The analysis of the learning processes draws on the theory of transformative learning.

Findings

The paper revealed that joint leadership, according to the leaders, could provide the leaders themselves with a basis of personal development and learning. This depends on common core values, a supportive relationship and common work processes as well as complementarity, joint sense making and critical reflection.

Research limitations/implications

The implies that joint leadership provides possibilities of transformative learning through examination of different points of view, through explicitly talking about habits of mind, and through stepwise changes of existing frames of reference. The results indicate that joint leadership offers the possibility of a deepened learning process in daily work in a communicative relationship where profound values and ways of acting are openly shared and critically‐reflected upon. Joint leadership should however not be forced on to managers.

Originality/value

The paper provides insights into learning processes for leaders, based on the possibilities, which can be created through joint leadership.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 18 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Marianne Döös, Peter Johansson and Lena Wilhelmson

This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of learning-oriented leadership as being integrated in managers’ daily work. The particular focus is on managers…

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2045

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of learning-oriented leadership as being integrated in managers’ daily work. The particular focus is on managers’ efforts to change how work is carried out through indirect acts of influence. In their daily work, managers influence the organisation’s learning conditions in ways that go beyond face-to-face interaction. Neither the influencer nor those influenced are necessarily aware that they are engaged in learning processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was part of a larger case study. The data set comprised interviews with nine middle managers about ways of working during a period of organisational change. A learning-theoretical analysis model was used to categorise managerial acts of influence. The key concept concerned pedagogic interventions.

Findings

Two qualitatively different routes for indirect influence were identified concerning social and organisational structures: one aligning, that narrows organisational members’ discretion, and one freeing, that widens discretion. Alignment is built on fixed views of objectives and on control of their interpretation. The freeing of structures is built on confidence in emerging competence and involvement of others.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to managers’ descriptions in a specific context. An issue for future research is to see whether the identified categories of learning-oriented leadership are found in other organisations.

Practical implications

The learning-oriented leadership categories cover a repertoire of acts of influence that create different learning conditions. These may be significant for the creation of a learning-conducive environment.

Originality/value

Managerial work that creates conducive conditions for learning does not need to be a specific task. Learning-oriented elements are inherent in aspects of managerial work, and managers’ daily tasks can be understood as expressions of different kinds of pedagogic intervention.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2011

Marianne Döös and Lena Wilhelmson

The paper seeks to argue for a theoretical contribution that deals with the detection of collective learning. The aim is to examine and clarify the genesis processes of…

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1643

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to argue for a theoretical contribution that deals with the detection of collective learning. The aim is to examine and clarify the genesis processes of collective learning. The empirical basis is a telecoms context with task‐driven networking across both internal and external organisational borders.

Design/methodology/approach

The research draws upon an integration of organisational learning theory and a relational and contextual branch of experiential learning theory framed as organisational pedagogy. A case study of R&D work serves as the empirical foundation. Four teams were studied through interviews, focus groups, and observations. Data were analysed in interplay between empirical findings and theoretical concepts.

Findings

Collective learning does not only occur within the boundaries of well‐defined groups where previously identified. Characterised by distributed work processes and rapid changes in the telecom context, collective learning is associated with individual distribution of tasks, insufficiency as a foundation, a question‐and‐answer space, and the imprints of others in a shared action arena.

Research limitations/implications

Conclusions concern how collective learning can be comprehended. The paper points to the importance of interaction and a shared action arena. The way in which knowledge develops is, to some extent, context‐dependent. This indicates that the characteristics of the shared action arena vary.

Practical implications

Differentiating learning processes has a practical significance for organisations wanting to focus upon competence issues.

Originality/value

This study identified the importance for collective learning of the presence of a shared action arena. The theoretical contribution fills a gap in the understanding of how collective learning arises when moving from face‐to‐face learning within local teams, to networking across both internal and external organisational borders. This contributes to the understanding of how the learning of individuals links with the learning of an organisation.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 23 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Paul Hager

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331

Abstract

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 18 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2014

Christina Ekelund, Lena Mårtensson and Kajsa Eklund

Self-determination is governed by ethical and legal rights in western society. In spite of that, older people are still restricted by others in their decision-making…

Abstract

Purpose

Self-determination is governed by ethical and legal rights in western society. In spite of that, older people are still restricted by others in their decision-making processes. The purpose of this paper is to explore older persons’ different conceptions of self-determination.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative phenomenographic interview study on frail older persons (n=15).

Findings

Three categories emerged, showing the variations of conception of self-determination as experienced by frail older people: first, self-determination changes throughout life; second, self-determination is being an agent in one's own life; and third, self-determination is conditional. In summary, while self-determination is changeable throughout life, and older persons want to be their own agents, and struggle to be that, certain conditions must be met to make it possible for them to be able to exercise self-determination.

Practical implications

Suggestions for supporting and strengthening frail older persons’ self-determination, and indirectly their well-being and health: to have a person-centered approach, treat them with dignity and respect and give them opportunities to influence and to feel involved; to improve their health literacy by, for example, supporting them with enough knowledge to be able to exercise self-determination; to make them feel safe and secure in relationships, such as with family and caregivers.

Originality/value

This study explores frail older persons’ own conceptions of self-determination to be able to gain knowledge of how professionals can support them so that they may experience self-determination in life.

Details

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-7794

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2018

Agneta Halvarsson Lundkvist and Maria Gustavsson

This study focuses on a transformation effort in a social welfare department of a Swedish municipality where continuous improvement, which is a Lean principle, was…

Abstract

Purpose

This study focuses on a transformation effort in a social welfare department of a Swedish municipality where continuous improvement, which is a Lean principle, was introduced in employees’ everyday work via a workplace development programme (WPDP). The aim of this paper is to explore the conditions (internal and external) that enabled or constrained employee learning during the introduction of continuous improvement into employees’ everyday work in a WPDP-supported social welfare department.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study is based mainly on 22 semi-structured interviews with individuals holding different positions in the department and overarching municipality.

Findings

The findings show that multiple and emerging conditions, both internal and external, shaped a predominantly restrictive learning environment during the introduction of continuous improvement into the social welfare department. The major conditions identified were related to the initial implementation and top management’s steering and monitoring of the “Lean investment”, activities and support provided by the WPDP, activities and support provided by the internal Lean support team and first-line managers’ abilities to facilitate employee learning.

Originality/value

Apart from unique empirical material depicting an effort towards change under conditions far from favourable for employee learning, the value of this study lies in the attention given to the external dynamics that drive change in line with the concept of new public management in public service organizations, including a WPDP that supported the social welfare department.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 30 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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