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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Max Visser

This paper aims to discuss the “truism” that learning organizations cannot be large organizations and, conversely, that large organizations cannot be learning…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss the “truism” that learning organizations cannot be large organizations and, conversely, that large organizations cannot be learning organizations. This paper analyzes learning in the German and US armies in the Second World War, based on a four-dimensional model of the learning organization.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper entails a secondary analysis of historical and military sources and data.

Findings

It is found that the German and US armies differed in learning capacity, which can be plausibly, but not exclusively, related to differences in the battlefield performance between those armies in the Second World War.

Research limitations/implications

The research scope of the paper is limited to the analysis of two particular armies in the Second World War. Implications of theory reside in the importance of organizational learning capacity and its dimensions for learning in current organizations.

Practical implications

The paper has clear practical implications for large organizations wishing to become effective and responsible learning organizations.

Originality/value

This is among the first organizational papers to analyze army learning in the Second World War and to derive lessons from that analysis for current large organizations.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Stephan Raaijmakers, Inge Bleijenbergh, Brigit Fokkinga and Max Visser

This paper aims to challenge the alleged gender-neutral character of Argyris and Schön’s theory of organizational learning (1978). While theories in organizational science…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to challenge the alleged gender-neutral character of Argyris and Schön’s theory of organizational learning (1978). While theories in organizational science seem gender neutral at the surface, a closer analysis reveals they are often based on men’s experiences.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses the method of gender subtext analysis, centering on gendering and its interaction with gender, class and race.

Findings

The dichotomous learning scheme of Argyris and Schön, in which a limited learning approach with alleged masculine values and interaction styles is opposed to an ideal learning approach with feminine values and interaction styles, is related to Bendl’s subtexts of feminization and of unconscious exclusion and neglect in organizational theories. To overcome the binary character of the theory, a gradient and contextualized approach to organizational learning is proposed.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to apply gender subtext analysis to theories of organizational learning and, thus, to analyze their gender subtext.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2017

Max Visser

Organizational learning and unlearning are often viewed as different and distinct concepts in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the unlearning…

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1048

Abstract

Purpose

Organizational learning and unlearning are often viewed as different and distinct concepts in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the unlearning concept and reassess its position vis-à-vis learning, in particular second-order and double-loop learning.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper entails a conceptual analysis.

Findings

It is found that there are two conceptual problems with unlearning, and that it is best embedded in the dynamics of the learning process, where it appears to fit well in the “interruption” phase.

Research limitations/implications

The research scope of the paper is limited to a theoretical analysis of organizational learning and unlearning. Implications for theory reside in the importance of unlearning and its relation to learning in current organizations.

Practical implications

The paper has practical implications for organizations wishing to become more adept at learning and unlearning.

Originality/value

The paper is among the first organizational papers to analyze unlearning in direct relation to different phases in the learning dynamics.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Max Visser, Ricardo Chiva and Paul Tosey

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435

Abstract

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Max Visser

While intended as a bridge between the concepts of learning organization and organizational learning, current conceptualizations of organizational learning capability…

Abstract

Purpose

While intended as a bridge between the concepts of learning organization and organizational learning, current conceptualizations of organizational learning capability still predominantly lean toward the learning organization side, specifically directed at profit firms. The purpose of this paper is to propose a four-dimensional model of organization learning capability that leans more toward the organizational learning side, specifically directed at nonprofit and government organizations in general, and army organizations in particular. This model is applied to the British Army in the Second World War.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper entails a secondary analysis of historical and military sources and data.

Findings

It is found that the British Army possessed only a moderate learning capability, which can be plausibly, but not exclusively, related to differences in battlefield performance between the British and the German Army in the Second World War.

Research limitations/implications

The research scope of the paper is limited to the analysis of one particular army in the Second World War. Implications for theory reside in the importance of organizational learning capability and its dimensions to the effectiveness of “lessons learned” processes inside organizations.

Practical implications

The paper has clear practical implications for armies and organizations that resemble armies in one or more aspects, like prisons, correctional facilities, police forces, hospitals, mental institutions and fire departments.

Originality/value

The paper ranks among the first organizational papers to analyze army operations and functioning from the perspective of organizational learning capability.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 9 August 2021

Lucas Gronouwe, Matthijs Moorkamp and Max Visser

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a more pragmatic critical management studies (CMS), by exploring the emancipatory intent of organizational (re)design…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a more pragmatic critical management studies (CMS), by exploring the emancipatory intent of organizational (re)design concepts and ideas from the modern sociotechnical approach integral organizational renewal (IOR).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is of a conceptual nature in that it engages with relevant literature from the fields of CMS and IOR, guided by a focused conceptualization of emancipation from CMS literature.

Findings

It is found that although IOR can to a large extent be considered as an emancipatory project, it contains a number of dangers which jeopardize its emancipatory potential. Complemented with other sociotechnical approaches and ideas, however, it appears that IOR could make some valuable contributions to a pragmatic CMS.

Originality/value

This paper is unique in engaging in an exchange of ideas between CMS and IOR. By doing so, it contributes, first, to the debate on a more pragmatic CMS; second, to the dialogue between CMS and “mainstream” organization science; third, to the field of organizational (re)design.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2020

Eric-Hans Kramer, Matthijs Moorkamp and Max Visser

The purpose of this paper is to provide insight in how military expeditionary task forces cope with the dual challenge of organizing and learning, by reflecting on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide insight in how military expeditionary task forces cope with the dual challenge of organizing and learning, by reflecting on the experiences of Dutch expeditionary task forces in post-conflict missions in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reflects on the outcomes of a research project into the experiences of operators of different specific expeditionary task forces of the Dutch Armed Forces in dealing with everyday problems in their working environment. The case studies were based on interviews with military personnel of all ranks and focused on relating the process of making sense of environmental dynamics to characteristics of the organizational context.

Findings

The case studies indicate that designing and learning become intertwined in the realities of everyday problem-solving in the more complex missions. As task forces are essentially tailor-made for the purpose of specific missions, units initially need to be selected. Subsequently, the design of the task force needs to be adapted to suit local conditions. This challenge interrelates with the everyday challenge for operators of making sense of their environment and finding pragmatic solutions for the everyday problems they are confronted with. In pragmatically solving everyday problems, operators in the cases engaged in working out incomplete or ill-fitting aspects of the task force design.

Practical implications

The findings are relevant for military task forces and more in general for organizations that are confronted with dynamically complex environments that rely on temporary structures.

Originality/value

Existing literatures on learning and on organizing generally treat these as two related but essentially separate phenomena. In the expeditionary military task forces, operators that aimed to develop pragmatic solutions to everyday problems, the processes of learning and organizing became intertwined: units needed to organize to learn and to learn to organize. The paper ends by suggesting a combination of specific circumstances that influences the nature of the interrelation between these processes.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Cathrine Filstad, Boyka Simeonova and Max Visser

The purpose of this study is to investigate the crossing of knowledge and power boundaries within a bureaucratic organization by using enterprise social media (ESM). …

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the crossing of knowledge and power boundaries within a bureaucratic organization by using enterprise social media (ESM). (Carlile’s 2002) boundary crossing framework is used to guide this research.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews and observations in a large Norwegian public sector organization.

Findings

The authors find that investigating crossing knowledge and power boundaries by using ESM is problematic at syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels. ESM is used predominantly for sharing, storing and retrieving explicit knowledge, which is a display of crossing the information-processing boundary. Hence, the possibilities of shifts in formal power positions where all employees can participate on equal terms is not achieved. On the contrary, as shared meaning on how to use EMS, taking the perspective of other on how to share knowledge and thus creating new knowledge practices in EMS by overcoming these knowledge barriers is not evident. Therefore, examples of crossing the semantic and pragmatic knowledge boundaries are rarely found.

Research limitations/implications

The framework could be applied to a variety of contexts to further explore the role of ESM in learning and knowledge sharing and its ability to cross power and knowledge boundaries.

Originality/value

This paper addresses a gap in the literature around discussions of power, trust, boundary crossing and the use of ESM for knowledge sharing and learning.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2018

Paul Manning, Peter John Stokes, Max Visser, Caroline Rowland and Shlomo Yedida Tarba

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the processes of open innovation in the context of a fraudulent organization and, using the infamous Bernie L. Madoff…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the processes of open innovation in the context of a fraudulent organization and, using the infamous Bernie L. Madoff Investment Securities fraud case, introduces and elaborates upon the concept of dark open innovation. The paper’s conceptual framework is drawn from social capital theory, which is grounded on the socio-economics of Bourdieu, Coleman and Putnam and is employed in order to make sense of the processes that occur within dark open innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

Given the self-evident access issues, this paper is necessarily based on archival and secondary sources taken from the court records of Madoff v. New York – including victim impact statements, the defendant’s Plea Allocution, and academic and journalistic commentaries – which enable the identification of the processes involved in dark open innovation. Significantly, this paper also represents an important inter-disciplinary collaboration between academic scholars variously informed by business and history subject domains.

Findings

Although almost invariably cast as a positive process, innovation can also be evidenced as a negative or dark force. This is particularly relevant in open innovation contexts, which often call for the creation of extended trust and close relationships. This paper outlines a case of dark open innovation.

Research limitations/implications

A key implication of this study is that organizational innovation is not automatically synonymous with human flourishing or progress. This paper challenges the automatic assumption of innovation being positive and introduces the notion of dark open innovation. Although this is accomplished by means of an in-depth single case, the findings have the potential to resonate in a wide spectrum of situations.

Practical implications

Innovation is a concept that applies across a range of organization and management domains. Criminals also innovate; thus, the paper provides valuable insights into the organizational innovation processes especially involved in relation to dark open innovation contexts.

Social implications

It is important to develop and fully understand the possible wider meanings of innovation and also to recognize that innovation – particularly dark open innovation – does not always create progress. The Caveat Emptor warning is still relevant.

Originality/value

The paper introduces the novel notion of dark open innovation.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 56 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Patrice M. Buzzanell

This paper aims to first introduce the four contributions to the themed issue of The Learning Organization entitled “Learning Organization/Organizational Learning and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to first introduce the four contributions to the themed issue of The Learning Organization entitled “Learning Organization/Organizational Learning and Gender Issues”. Second, the commonalities among these articles function as themes that can generate further research and engaged or problem-driven scholarship and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Feminist critique.

Findings

These articles challenge commonsense, blur boundaries between reality and imagined visions and form a multilevel matrix for understanding and change regarding gendered learning organizations.

Originality/value

As an introduction to a special issue, this essay summarizes and extends on the four contributions and then extends the insights to encourage discovery, learning and engagement.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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