Semantic Learning as Change Enabler: Relating Organizational Identity and Organizational Learning
THE BLACKWELL HANDBOOK OF ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT, M. Easterby-Smith and M. Lyles, eds., Blackwell, 2003
16 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2004
Contrary to recent portrayals, we argue that the relationship between organizational identity and organizational learning is not only a strong one, but also one that facilitates organizational adaptability to a constantly shifting competitive environment. The implications of this relationship are perhaps most powerful in the context of change because both learning and identity are essential to both the strategic and personal aspects of organizational change. Most relevant to this volume, this adaptive interrelationship has implications for current conceptualizations of organizational learning that include: (1) the specification of a type of organizational learning heretofore downplayed in the literature - semantic learning (i.e., learning based in meanings); and (2) the realization that organizational learning can be more subtle and tacit than previously conceptualized and, therefore, can occur out of conscious awareness or without explicit articulation. These implications provide the foundation for inquiry into other organizational phenomena closely linked to the learning-identity relationship.
Keywords: Organizational Identity, Organizational Learning, Change
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