Relational Perspectives in Organizational Studies
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Relational Perspectives in Organizational Studies

A Research Companion

Edited by Olympia Kyriakidou and Mustafa F. Özbilgin

The contributors to this highly innovative and authoritative research companion, leading experts in their field, apply relational analyses to different areas of organization studies and provide a comprehensive review of the relational perspectives. The book features empirical, theoretical, philosophical and methodological contributions from a wide spectrum of disciplinary perspectives on relationality in and around organizations.
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Chapter 4: Relational Perspectives on Collective Learning and Knowledge Creation

David R. Schwandt, M. Turan Ayvaz and Margaret D. Gorman

Extract

4 Relational perspectives on collective learning and knowledge creation David R. Schwandt, M. Turan Ayvaz and Margaret D. Gorman Introduction The idea that knowledge constitutes an economically important aspect of social existence has been a fundamental assumption since civilizations began to contemplate human interaction (Plato, 1941). For a while the notion of knowledge has been connected with economic survival of organizations (Hayek, 1945; Boulding, 1966; Lamberton, 1971). Unfortunately, in an effort to better understand knowledge management, the literature has tended to treat knowledge as a commodity that can be exchanged between parties, much like money is exchanged for an automobile. In the process, knowledge has been disassociated from its dependence on a value context and its social relational origins. The differentiation of ‘knowledge’ from ‘information’ has been sacrificed so that terms such as ‘management’, ‘transfer’, and ‘storage’ might be applied in a traditional, pragmatic manner, not only to information, but also to knowledge. This leaves organizations open to the fallacies associated with over-relying on benchmarking and best practices designed to transfer knowledge from one organizational context to another, without consideration of the dynamic social relations that are required to value new information – so that new knowledge that is created is specific to their context, and only their context. If knowledge is only seen as passive – composed of facts that can be stored, retrieved and disseminated, with little concern for the context in which the facts were originally set – then there will be little concern for the...

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