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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 22: Towards a contingency model: recommendations for further research

Anders Örtenblad

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


Prior research should be commended for efforts to contextualize the learning organization idea; however, there is generally a lack of both systematicity and evidence of a more critical approach which does not simply regard the learning organization idea as an existing ideal, the relevance of which there is no need to challenge. On the basis of the literature reviews that were presented in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 in this volume, it is also clear that previous works have tended to keep the research design too implicit. Further, the works are rather to be regarded as isolated islands without bridges in between; that is, they do not explicitly build on each other. Thus, the findings from these works cannot easily be compared. This book is a first step on the road towards more systematic research on the learning organization idea put into context. One of the more explicit contributions in this regard is Abrahamson Löfström’s Chapter 12 on elderly care institutions as learning organizations, in which she presents reasons to doubt whether the learning structure aspect/type is of relevance to such organizations.

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