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Societies 2015, 5(4), 713-733; doi:10.3390/soc5040713

The Domains of Organizational Learning Practices: An Agency-Structure Perspective

1
School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
2
School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
3
Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gregor Wolbring
Received: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 27 October 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [693 KB, uploaded 28 October 2015]

Abstract

Background: Organizational learning theory has retained considerable attention in the past decades from a wide array of academic disciplines in social sciences. Yet few integrative efforts have satisfactorily offered a comprehensive and systematic articulation of the concept of organizational learning with regards to: (a) its core constitutive dimensions and associated mechanisms; (b) the analytical levels from such mechanisms operate (e.g., workers, teams, organizations); as well as (c) their interplay. Methods: This article builds on a critical synthesis of predominant approaches in organizational learning theory (i.e., structural functionalist, social constructivist and middle range approaches), highlighting the contributions of each approach on the key analytical elements guiding our inquiry (i.e., core dimensions and associated mechanisms, analytical levels, interplay). Drawing from the work of sociologists Anthony Giddens and Margaret Archer on agency-structure theory, we develop a series of theoretical propositions supporting the Organizational Learning Practices (OLP) concept as a unifying heuristic tool. Results: OLP are defined as a set of collectively shared practices held by members of a given organization embedded in normative, political, and semantic dynamics. At the heart of such dynamics lies organizational knowledge as a power resource pivotal to the sustainable development of organizations, as well as that of their members. Conclusion: OLP offer promising answers to on-going debates in organizational learning theory, and we conclude by discussing concrete guidelines to advance research and practice on OLP. View Full-Text
Keywords: organizational learning; agency-structure theory; organizational identity organizational learning; agency-structure theory; organizational identity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Beauregard, N.; Lemyre, L.; Barrette, J. The Domains of Organizational Learning Practices: An Agency-Structure Perspective. Societies 2015, 5, 713-733.

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