Networks of learning: Exploring what organization means in professional attempts at organizing learning

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This chapter address what organization means in professional attempts at organizing learning. What an organization is and what it may learn was at the heart of classical literature on organizational learning. This early literature considered a close link between individual- and organizational learning, and stressed the importance of creating shared cognitive maps of organization. While this literature provided important insights into how mainly intraorganizational learning was accomplished, it favored a cognitive perspective and downplayed the role of materialities and other organizations in organizing learning. More recent literatures have replaced the cognitive understanding with a focus on how practices and sociomaterial configurations impede and enable learning, and increasingly consider learning to occur in between organizations. While moving beyond cognitive understandings, this more recent literature neglect the early question of what an organization is. This is a critical shortcoming not least in the context of the current focus on organizing learning within and between organizations. In this chapter we aim to reclaim the importance of considering how a shared map of organization is created, and we bridge the early awareness on organization with the focus on materiality and practice. Drawing on a qualitative case study of developing cross-sectional organization in continuity of public healthcare, we focus on what we call translation loops and how a network of learning is established. We theorize the multiple translations involved in mobilizing a new mode of organization, and analyze how organization stabilize. Through this case, we contribute to the knowledge about workplace and organizational learning by showing how a new (inter-) organizational configuration came into being and got lasting properties through ongoing translation work, and the composing of a heterogeneous network of actors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent practices in workplace and organizational learning : Revisiting the classics and advancing knowledge
EditorsBente Elkjaer, Maja Marie Lotz, Niels Christian Mossfeldt Nickelsen
Number of pages16
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-85059-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-85060-9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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