Adaptation and Context
Edited by Anders Örtenblad
Chapter 20: Alternative learning organization
In the area of the learning organization, the term ‘learning’ is usually considered as a desirable activity, for learning seems to bring about obvious positive change for an organization (Pedler et al. 1998). In this chapter, however, I start with a critical attitude that contradicts the positive image of learning. I take the position that learning can be a potentially harmful activity and that we need to be mindful of it. The aim of this chapter is to propose some alternative understandings of the learning organization. In particular, I shall try to ‘adapt’ the discourse of the learning organization to a different context, that is, the world that we live in, or, to borrow Martin Heidegger (1962 ), ‘being-in-the-world’. The learning organization is, at its birth, a response to the requirements of the so-called knowledge society (Drucker 1993) and knowledge economy (Thurow 1999), proposed by theorists who believe that, in the future, knowledge will be the most meaningful resource, and as such organizations, like individuals, will have to develop the ability to learn.
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