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Creating an organizational space for learning

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Individual and group development is an essential element of achieving competitive advantage through people. The building and transfer of knowledge is widely discussed in the literature with respect to explicit knowledge, and some authors have gone on to address environments for learning and even building tacit knowledge. Separately, complexity theory suggests a process of self-organization and adaptation that, in some respects, parallels an environment of learning. Extensive interaction, learning by doing, and experimenting seem to be not only the foundation for individual development, but also a fundamental part of the natural adaptive process for organizations as complex adaptive systems. One problem noted, however, is that the current literature has done little to highlight the parallels between individual development and complex adaptive organizational systems. Drawing on the apparent similarities in these processes, describes self-organizing activities and the natural emergence of new systems as a model for a new type of learning environment. Explores the idea of facilitating self-organizing learning activities in a separate organizational space within existing organizations, and outlines the theoretical elements for making such a space successful.
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Keywords: Development; Groups; Information; Learning; Organizational learning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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