Special Issue "Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice"

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A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 May 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Russ Vince (Website)

School of Management, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
Interests: organizational learning; leadership and change; emotion in organizations; the organization of reflection

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In a recent review of her ‘4I’s framework’, Professor Mary Crossan and her co-authors have suggested we are at a stage in our understanding of organizational learning where a unifying theory could be developed. Five ‘promising directions’ have been pinpointed that could be integrated to create an evolutionary and multi-level theory of organizational learning. This special issue offers authors the opportunity to engage with these ‘promising directions’—either separately or in combination—in order to contribute to our knowledge of organizational learning both in theory and in practice. These ‘promising directions’ are:

  • Power, politics and emotion in organizational learning
  • Leadership and organizational learning
  • Organizational learning barriers, levels of learning, types of learning
  • Organizational learning and knowledge management
  • Social processes of organizational learning – practice and activity

The Guest Editor, Professor Russ Vince, invites the submission of theoretical and empirical papers that make a clear and explicit contribution to knowledge in one or more of these areas of organizational learning. In their papers, contributors should identify, develop and illustrate one well-focused idea or issue that will help readers of Administrative Sciences to improve their understanding of organizational learning.

Reference
Crossan, M. M., C. C. Maurer, et al. (2011). "Reflections on the 2009 AMR Decade Award: Do we have a Theory of Organizational Learning?" Academy of Management Review 36(3): 446-460.

Prof. Dr. Russ Vince
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Administrative Sciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Bretton Woods Institutions and the Environment: Organizational Learning within the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(4), 166-201; doi:10.3390/admsci3040166
Received: 24 July 2013 / Revised: 18 September 2013 / Accepted: 24 September 2013 / Published: 8 October 2013
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Abstract
Due to a growing public awareness, in the last 40 years environmental impacts of development projects financed and supported by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have come into view. Since then, the member states have pressured both organizations [...] Read more.
Due to a growing public awareness, in the last 40 years environmental impacts of development projects financed and supported by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have come into view. Since then, the member states have pressured both organizations to implement environmental concerns. We analyze the reactions of the World Bank and the IMF’s bureaucracies towards their principals’ demands. To reveal if, and to what extent, the observed reactions of both bureaucracies towards environmental integration can be assessed as organizational learning, we develop in a first step a heuristic model that allows for a distinction between different levels of learning (compliant and non-compliant, single-loop and double-loop). In a second step we describe the efforts of the bureaucracies of the World Bank (from the 1970s until today) and the IMF (from the 1990s until today) to integrate environmental protection into their activities. Due to our interest in the quality of the organizational changes, we finally analyze if and to what extent the bureaucracies’ reactions to the new external demand qualify as organizational learning. Furthermore, we discuss which factors helped or hindered organizational learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)
Open AccessArticle Relationship between Leadership and Characteristics of Learning Organizations in Deployed Military Units: An Exploratory Study
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 143-165; doi:10.3390/admsci3030143
Received: 12 July 2013 / Revised: 3 September 2013 / Accepted: 4 September 2013 / Published: 13 September 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (233 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Previous research has shown that military units operating in the context of risky missions display the characteristics of a Learning Organization. The present work provides preliminary exploratory evidence about the association between Learning Organization characteristics and leadership styles used by military leaders [...] Read more.
Previous research has shown that military units operating in the context of risky missions display the characteristics of a Learning Organization. The present work provides preliminary exploratory evidence about the association between Learning Organization characteristics and leadership styles used by military leaders in the field. Based on the literature, we hypothesized that higher Learning Organization characteristics would be associated with a more transformational style of leadership that inspires followers. With this purpose, the five characteristics of a Learning Organization as defined by Peter Senge (Systems Thinking, Team Learning, Shared Vision, Mental Models, and Personal Mastery) and leadership styles as defined by the multifactor leadership model of Bass and Avolio (Transformational, Transactional, and Passive-Avoidant), were measured among commanding officers who had recently served in a mission abroad. Associations with organizational outcomes (Extra-Effort, Effectiveness, and Satisfaction) were also investigated for both Learning Organization characteristics and leadership styles. The correlations showed that Learning Organization characteristics were highly related to Transformational leadership dimensions, and also with Transactional leadership based on Contingent Rewards; meanwhile no association was found with a Passive-Avoidant leadership. Organizational outcomes were also related to Transformational leadership, Contingent Rewards and to various characteristics of a Learning Organization. Implications of these results, as well as avenues for future research, are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)
Open AccessArticle Extending the 4I Organizational Learning Model: Information Sources, Foraging Processes and Tools
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 96-109; doi:10.3390/admsci3030096
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 5 August 2013 / Accepted: 15 August 2013 / Published: 27 August 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (90 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The continued importance of organizational learning has recently led to several calls for further developing the theory. This article addresses these calls by extending Crossan, Lane and White’s (1999) 4I model to include a fifth process, information foraging, and a fourth level, [...] Read more.
The continued importance of organizational learning has recently led to several calls for further developing the theory. This article addresses these calls by extending Crossan, Lane and White’s (1999) 4I model to include a fifth process, information foraging, and a fourth level, the tool. The resulting 5I organizational learning model can be generalized to a number of learning contexts, especially those that involve understanding and making sense of data and information. Given the need for organizations to both innovate and increase productivity, and the volumes of data and information that are available to support both, the 5I model addresses an important organizational issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)
Open AccessArticle Reflective Practice as a Fuel for Organizational Learning
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 76-95; doi:10.3390/admsci3030076
Received: 11 May 2013 / Revised: 2 July 2013 / Accepted: 11 July 2013 / Published: 16 July 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (549 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Learning theories and their interpretations in management research recognize the role of reflection as a central element in the learning process. There also exists a broad consensus that organizational learning (OL) happens at three intertwined levels of the individual, the group and [...] Read more.
Learning theories and their interpretations in management research recognize the role of reflection as a central element in the learning process. There also exists a broad consensus that organizational learning (OL) happens at three intertwined levels of the individual, the group and the organization. This tri-level analysis has been most influentially presented by Crossan, Lane and White (1999), as a premise for their 4I framework of OL. Though the 4I framework builds strongly on existing literature on OL, it does not address the role of reflection as a factor operating between the inputs and outcomes in 4I sub-processes. Though a large body of research exists regarding the notion of reflection and its importance in terms of OL, this has not been discussed in the specific context of the 4I framework. This article contributes to the development of the 4I model by discussing how reflective practice—on three levels and within 4I sub-processes—fuels the OL process. The argumentation is based on an extensive literature review in three dimensions of learning, illustrated with an empirical inquiry into three business organizations and their reflective practice. In addition, the aim is to increase the understanding of reflection as not only an individual or group process, but as an organized practice, enabled by the tools of management control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)
Open AccessArticle Learning to Learn: towards a Relational and Transformational Model of Learning for Improved Integrated Care Delivery
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 9-31; doi:10.3390/admsci3020009
Received: 22 April 2013 / Revised: 3 June 2013 / Accepted: 17 June 2013 / Published: 21 June 2013
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Abstract
Health and social care systems are implementing fundamental changes to organizational structures and work practices in an effort to achieve integrated care. While some integration initiatives have produced positive outcomes, many have not. We reframe the concept of integration as a learning [...] Read more.
Health and social care systems are implementing fundamental changes to organizational structures and work practices in an effort to achieve integrated care. While some integration initiatives have produced positive outcomes, many have not. We reframe the concept of integration as a learning process fueled by knowledge exchange across diverse professional and organizational communities. We thus focus on the cognitive and social dynamics of learning in complex adaptive systems, and on learning behaviours and conditions that foster collective learning and improved collaboration. We suggest that the capacity to learn how to learn shapes the extent to which diverse professional groups effectively exchange knowledge and self-organize for integrated care delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)

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