Learning how to learn: an integrative perspective on the emergence of learning routines

Caroline Sargis Roussel, Cécile Belmondo

Abstract


In recent years, organizational learning research has been revolving around three different perspectives: cognitive, social and routine-oriented/behavioural. Although a cumulative body of studies appears within each perspective, a lack of studies bridging these different perspectives leaves us with an unclear and partial vision of the different forces that shape learning processes and of the processes by which organizations achieve learning how to learn, i.e. building learning routines. This article aims at understanding the processes by which learning routines emerge within groups through an integrative approach of all three perspectives of learning. To do so, we start with the conceptualisation of routine proposed by Feldman and Pentland. We study how activities (behavioural perspective), formal structures (cognitive perspective) and power relationships (social perspective) affect the emergence of learning routines. A qualitative methodology is used to contrast two longitudinal case studies of groups engaged in processes of knowledge creation about their organisation’s competitive environment (TELCIS case) and about information system implementation (PROBANK case). The two case studies are complementary and lead to an original integrative model. Results show that the emergence of learning routines is effectively shaped by the three factors and suggest, in the conclusive part, that this influence is indirect: emergence seems to be shaped by the dynamic interactions occurring between the three factors rather than by direct influence from each isolated factor. Results also cast light on the political games that take place around the tools provided by formal structures (boundary objects) or created by individual activities (instantiation of epistemic objects). For practitioners, this research underlines the double importance of managers and project managers for the emergence of learning routines as tools provider and as the locus of vertical power relationships. Theoretically, the research enriches the practice turn and the material turn in learning research, especially in the context of information system management.

Keywords


routines, learning, activities, formal structure, power

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only

References


Anand, N., Gardner, H. K. et Morris T. (2007), « Knowledge-based innovation: Emergence and embedding of new practice areas in management consulting firms », Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 50, n°2, p. 406-428.

Andriopoulos, C. et Lewis M.W. (2009), « Exploitation – exploration tensions and organizational ambidexterity: Managing paradoxes of innovation », Organization Science, Vol. 20, n°4, p. 696-717.

Argote L. (2011), « Organizational learning research: Past, present and future », Management Learning, Vol.42, n°4, p.439-446.

Argyris, C. et Schön D.A. (1978), Organizational learning: a theory of action perspective, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Becker, M.C. (2004), « Organizational routines: A review of the literature », Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol.13, n°4, p.643-677.

Berle, A.A. 1969. Power. New-York: Harcourt, Brace, World.

Bresnen, M., Goussevskaia, A. et Swan J. (2005), « Organizational routines, situated learning and processes of change in project-based organizations », Project Management Journal, Vol.36, n°3, p.27-41.

Brown, J. S. et Duguid P. (1991), « Organizational learning and communities of practice », Organization Science, Vol.2, n°1, p.58 -82.

Carlile, P.R (2002), « A Pragmatic View of Knowledge and Boundaries: Boundary objects in New Product Development », Organization Science, Vol.13, n°4, p.442-455.

Contu, A., et H. Willmott (2003), « Re-embedding situatedness: The importance of power relations in learning theory », Organization Science, Vol.14, n°3, p.283-296.

Crossan, M.M., Lane, H.W et White R.E. (1999), « An Organizational Learning Framework: from Intuition to Institution », Academy of Management Review, Vol.24, n°3, p.522-537.

Crozier, M., et Friedberg E. (1980), Actors and systems: The politics of collective action. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ewenstein, B. et Whyte J. (2009), « Knowledge Practices in Design: The Role of Visual Representations as Epistemic Objects », Organization Studies, Vol.30, n°7, p.6-30.

Feldman, M. S. et Pentland, B.T. (2003), « Reconceptualizing Organizational Routines as a Source of Flexibility and Change », Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol.48, p.94-118.

Feldman, M. S. et Pentland, B.T. (2008), Routine Dynamics, in Barry D. et Hansen H. (Eds), The Sage Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization, Sage, 302-315.

Felin, T. et Foss, N.J. (2005), « Strategic organization: a field in search of micro-foundations », Strategic Organization, Vol.3, n°4, p.441-455.

Foss, N.J., (2007), « The emerging knowledge governance approach: Challenges and characteristics », Organization, Vol.14, n°1, p.29-52.

Foucault, M. (1984) The history of sexuality, Volume 1: An introduction, Harmondsworth : Penguin.

Gherardi, S., (2000), « Practice-based Theorizing on Learning and Knowing in Organizations », Organization, Vol.7, n°2, p.211-223.

Gherardi, S. et Nicolini, D. (2000), « To Transfer is to Transform: The Circulation of Safety Knowledge », Organization, Vol.7, n°2, p.329-348.

Hardy, C. (1996), « Understanding power: Bringing about strategic change », British Journal of Management, special issue”, Vol.7, n°1, p.3-16.

Hatchuel, A. et Weil B., (1995), Experts in Organizations: A Knowledge-based Perspective on Organisational Change, Walter de Gruyter.

Heizman H. (2011), « Knowledge sharing in a dispersed network of HR practice : Zooming in on power/knowledge struggles », Management Learning, Vol.42, n°4, p.379-393.

Hong, J. F. L, Easterby-Smith, M. et Snell R.S. (2006), « Transferring Organizational Learning Systems to Japanese Subsidiaries in China », Journal of Management Studies, Vol.43, n°5, p.1027-1058.

Jasperson, J., Carte, T., Saunders, C., Butler, B., Croes, H., et Zheng W. (2002), « Review: Power and information technology: A metatriangulation review », MIS Quarterly, Vol.26, n°4, p.397 – 459.

Knorr Cetina, K. (2001), Objectual Practice, in Schatzki T.R., Knorr Cetina K., Von Savigny E. (Eds), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, London Routledge, New-York.

Langley, A (1999), « Strategies for theorizing from process data », Academy of Management Review, Vol.24, n°4, p.691-710.

Larif, S. et Lesobre T. (2004) « Positionnement des acteurs face à l’implantation d’un ERP: Le cas d’Air France », Systèmes d’Information et Management, Vol.9, n°2, p.51-75.

Latour, B (2005), Re-Assembling the Social. A Introduction to Actor-Network Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lave, J. et E. Wenger (1991), Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation, Cambridge University Press.

Lawrence, T. L., Mauws, M. K., Dyck, B. et Kleysen, R.F. (2005), « The politics of organizational learning: Integrating power into the 4I framework », Academy of Management Review, Vol.30, p.180-191.

Levine, H. G. et Rossmoore, D. (2005), « Politics and the Function of Power in a Case Study of IT Implementation », Journal of Management Information Systems, Vol.11, n°3, p.115-143.

Lukes, S (1974). Power: A radical view. London: Macmillan Press.

Meyer J. W. et Rowan B. (1977), “Institutionalized organizations: formal structure as myth and ceremony”, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 83, p. 340-363.

Miles M. B. et Huberman A. M (1994), Qualitative Data Analysis, Second Edition, Sage.

Mintzberg H. (1982), Structure et dynamique des organisations, Les Editions d’Organisation

Mork, B.E., Hoholm, T., Ellingsen, G., Edwin, B. et Aanestad, M. (2010), « Challenging expertise: On power relations within and across communities of practice in medical innovation », Management Learning, Vol.41, n°5, p.575-592.

Murray, P. et Blackman, D (2006), « Managing innovation through social architecture, learning, and competencies: A new conceptual approach », Knowledge and Process Management, Vol.13, n°3, p.132-143.

Nelson R. R. et Winter S. G. (1982), An evolutionary theory of economic change, Cambridge MA: Belknap Press

Orlikowski W., (2002), « Knowledge in practice enabling a collective capability in distributed organizing », Organization Science, Vol.13, p.249-273.

Pentland B. T. et Feldman S., (2005a), Designing Routines: Artifacts in Support of Generative Systems, Positive Design Working Conference, Case Western Reserve University, November 11-12.

Pentland B. T. et Feldman S., (2005b), « Organizational routines as a unit of analysis », Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol.14, n°5, p.793-815.

Roberts, J., (2006), « Limits to communities of practice », Journal of Management Studies, Vol.43, n°3, p.623-639.

Truijen, K.J.P., Hoeve, A., & Nieuwenhuis, A.F.M., (2007), Measuring Organizational Routine change in Work Teams: Towards a theoretical framework for studying organizational routine change, Third International Conference on Organizational Routines, Strasbourg, 25-26 May.

Weppe X., (2009), Création de connaissances et coordination. Étude des pratiques dans cinq équipes-projets, thèse de doctorat, IAE de Lille




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9876/sim.v17i3.427

Copyright (c)