University of Twente Student Theses


From positioning to professionalizing learning

Pantjes, E.A. (2013) From positioning to professionalizing learning.

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Abstract:In the current knowledge economy it is important for organizations to change quickly and continuously to keep up with their opponents and the external environment. Working and learning becomes more intertwined, wherefore it has become important to achieve a culture that supports learning: the collective learning culture. This research aims to contribute to the understanding of continuous organizational change and to the integration of working and learning. We have conducted this research for Triamfloat, a consultancy company in The Netherlands. The goal of this research was to gain insight in important aspects of the change from an individual towards a collective learning culture and interventions that can support this change. A literature study provided data for important aspects that change during the transition from an individual towards a collective learning culture. It showed that culture consists of assumptions, values and norms that are shared through experiences, knowledge exchange and the interaction between organizational members. An organization should have the ability to bind members together. Culture is therefore not something holistic, but dynamic. The results show three important aspects for knowledge productivity that change during the transition from an individual towards a collective learning culture: leadership, collaboration and communication. ‘Leadership’ changes from a directive towards a participative style and more responsibility for learning and working is given to the individual. The degree of ‘collaboration’ changes from little collaboration and knowledge transmitting through formal education in an individual learning culture towards more collaboration and knowledge sharing in a collective learning culture. ‘Communication’ changes from one-sided and closed communication towards dialogue, openness and transparency. As a result, knowledge becomes explicit and can be spread throughout the organization. Semi-structured interviews with organizational members of VolkerWessels, a construction concern and an expert meeting with consultants provided data for the question: what interventions could be supportive for the change in leadership, collaboration and communication. The results of this research showed planned change interventions that were mainly focused on the change in leadership, on the individual level and changing systems and procedures. Continuous change interventions supported the change in all three aspects of change. These interventions are aimed at the team level of an organization, reflection, envisioning a future, work-related moments, a positive approach and on team functioning. This research have shown that for organizations it is important to change towards a collective learning culture in order to be knowledge productive and keep up with environmental changes. In conclusion, cultural change derives from the social interaction and sense-making of organizational members. Interventions to support this change process therefore should fit the development of an organization and its members. This can be found in the continuous approach to change. These interventions change hidden assumptions, improves the social interaction and learning. Planned change interventions are still significant but in a parallel process. Executives and HRD practitioners have to be aware of their approach and the context of the organization when implementing interventions. It is recommendable to take this into account in further research. Moreover, other researchers can study the aspects of a learning culture further, because the possible intertwinement between the different aspects. In addition, the effect of the interventions that derived from this research can be studied.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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