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The role of facilitators in project action learning implementation

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Purpose ‐ This paper addresses the importance of a more proactive role of organizational learning (OL) facilitators, learning motivation reinforcer, through a two-part longitudinal study in a case company. The first part of this study aims to investigate and analyze some unexpected challenges in the project action learning-driven (PAL) OL implementation in the case company, and the second part seeks to discuss an enhanced role of OL facilitators to cope with the new challenges. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A longitudinal case study supplemented with a series of carefully choreographed field research activities, e.g. interviews, on-site observations, survey tests, was conducted to achieve the research purpose. In the first part of this study, the feedbacks regarding PAL implementation were collected from different PAL stakeholders to identify the problems and barriers that undermined the effectiveness of PAL implementation. In its second part, the proposed facilitator's interventions were introduced in the case company. The results were examined through a controlled group experiment conducted with an on-going round of PAL implementation. Findings ‐ The study found that adverse changes in business circumstances and organizational restructurings could dampen staff's motivation toward organization's OL initiatives which would further reduce the OL effectiveness. To redress the situation, a set of facilitator's interventions was developed to reinforce OL members' learning motivation. Study results indicate that the proposed interventions can positively influence the learning motivation of the PAL members in the case company. Practical implications ‐ This paper describes the difficulties encountered in a real life OL journey and the role OL facilitators could take on to help overcome them. It provides empirical evidence of how the learning motivation and commitment of OL members can be positively influenced by OL facilitation. Originality/value ‐ The authors believe such longitudinal case based OL research is rare and valuable to OL theorists and practitioners.
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Keywords: Action learning; Business environment; Learning motivation; Learning organizations; Organizational learning; Project action learning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 13, 2012

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