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Handbook of Research on the Learning Organization

Handbook of Research on the Learning Organization

Adaptation and Context

Elgar original reference

Edited by Anders Örtenblad

This timely Handbook establishes the ‘contextualization’ of the learning organization idea as a research field. In contrast to much of the previous literature, which has approached the learning organization as a panacea that every organization could and should adopt, this major new Handbook puts the learning organization into context. It examines the relevance of the learning organization idea to organizations in various specific contexts, employing examples from a wide variety of cultures including China and Islamic nations, and from industries as diverse as the police force, care services for the elderly and family firms.

Chapter 14: Universities as learning organizations: internationalization and innovation

Hong T.M. Bui and Yehuda Baruch

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, organisation studies, innovation and technology, knowledge management


As Christensen and Eyring (2011) state, universities and higher education institutions (HEIs), more than ever, must proactively evolve and respond to change swiftly in order to cope with and meet the demand of a knowledge and technology-intensive society. This poses a question: how do HEIs equip themselves to survive and succeed in such an environment? Through our own research (Bui & Baruch 2012) and the extant literature it is evident that many HEIs are in the process of becoming, or aspire to become, learning organizations. A learning organization in the context of higher education is somewhat different than a learning organization in the business context, for several reasons. Firstly, higher education is a unique environment where massive knowledge is created and transferred. Secondly, HEIs are typically not-for-profit organizations, with performance criteria different than for-profit firms (Baruch & Ramalho 2006). Therefore, most resources can be invested within the organization, giving priority for learning, much of it via development of employees and team-learning. Investment in people can and should be more than a slogan in the higher education sector.

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