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Title: The Learning Organisation Part I. The Learning Organisation : what is it? Does it constitute a useful set of ideas for the human resource development practitioner?
Authors: Hughes, Jason
First Published: Dec-2000
Publisher: Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester
Citation: Centre for Labour Market Studies, Working Paper 29
Abstract: ‘The learning organisation’ has achieved great prominence over the last decade or so, particularly within the training and development literature, but also more widely within management and organisational studies. This paper aims to provide a coherent exposition of what is meant by the term, and to consider whether the concepts involved constitute yet another transient ‘fad’ to add to a growing list of fashionable ideas which are enthusiastically embraced before rapidly disappearing. Also considered are the questions of whether there is anything particularly ‘new’ about the ideas involved, and the extent to which the term points towards a set of ideas useful to the human resource development (henceforth HRD) practitioner. Is argued that at its conceptual base ‘the learning organisation’ suffers from a number of conceptual flaws (these are examined in some depth), and that practitioners need to have an awareness of these limitations before using the ‘learning organisation’ to inform their work. An alternative conceptualisation of ‘organisational learning’ is developed in critical response to key learning organisation literature and its tendency to ‘reify’ ‘the organisation’ as though it had a ‘real’ existence beyond the level of the human beings that constitute it.
Series/Report no.: CLMS Working Papers
Type: Report
Description: This paper was published as Working Paper 29 by the Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester. It is available from
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Appears in Collections:Reports, Centre for Labour Market Studies

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