Learning Organization

In her review of research on learning in work Fenwick (2005) concluded that the relation between the individual and the collective in work-learning processes was a particularly prominent topic in the literature (Tynjälä, 2008, p.136).

One group of studies has focussed on analysing workplace learning on different levels – individual, team and organisation – and their interrelations. Much of the research on learning in work organisations is based on the research tradition of organisational learning or the learning organisation (e.g. Argyris & Schön, 1996 ; Nikkanen, 2001; Senge, 1990). Learning at the organisational level embraces the activities of an organisation that is continually expanding its capacity to create its own future (Senge, 1990). This capacity is grounded on the ability of employees and organisations (as collectives of individuals) to change and become more effective, and on the fact that change requires not only open communication and the empowerment of all members of the work community but also a culture of collaboration (Tynjälä, 2008, p.136).

 Thus, the learning organisation can be defined as “an organisation that facilitates the learning of all its members and continuously transforms itself” (Pedler, Boydell, & Burgoyne, 1991 as cited in Tynjälä, 2008, p.136).

 Recent research on workplace learning has emphasised the importance of networking and other forms of social exchange for both individual learning and organizational development. Concepts such as “innovative knowledge communities” (hakkarinen, Palonen, Paavola and Lehtinen, 2004) and “ba” – a space for learning – (Nonaka and Konno, 1998) have been developed to describe the collaborative nature of learning. Learning is seen as a knowledge creation process that takes place in social interaction where explicit and tacit knowledge embedded in organisations meet each other. One important feature in innovative knowledge communities is that people and organizations form and utilise social networks in their work. Thus, studies of networked learning have emerged as a new branch of learning. research (e.g. Holmqvist, 2005; Knight, 2002; Palonen, 2003). Many studies have suggested that innovations emerge in interactive networks (Camagni, 1991; Miles, Miles, & Snow, 2005; Nelson, 1993 as cited in Tynjälä. 2008, pp.136-137).