Handbook of Research on the Learning Organization
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Handbook of Research on the Learning Organization

Adaptation and Context

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.
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Chapter 11: The police force: to be or not to be a learning organization?

Cathrine Filstad and Petter Gottschalk


We expect the police to protect our society against threats, as they pursue, detect, investigate and stop crime. We also trust the police to perform honestly, fairly, efficiently and in a lawful manner (Graham 2006). These responsibilities are becoming increasingly more challenging and complex, and so many countries give the police comprehensive powers. These comprehensive powers and new challenges have called for the Norwegian police force to develop a learning organization that focuses on experience-based learning, the evaluation and identification of important learning arenas, knowledge sharing across boundaries and police districts, and the creation of a strong learning culture (Filstad2010; Gottschalk et al. 2009). It is believed that a learning organization will enhance the intensity of knowledge to produce better-quality and more effective procedures, and encourage learning from experience, previous mistakes and successes. For example, to deal with potential terrorists, continued learning and knowledge sharing, and cooperation between police districts, is crucial as has been stated in several evaluation reports following the horror of 22 July 2011 in Oslo and Utøya.

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