When is it OK to learn at work? The learning work of organisational practices

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Workplace Learning, 2010, 22 (1-2), pp. 13 - 26
Issue Date:
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of "learning" through what we have termed "integrated development practices". These are common organisational practices that both enhance organisational effectiveness and contribute to organisational and employee learning. Design/methodology/approach: The paper analyses the ways in which learning and being a learner were talked about and enacted with regard to one of the integrated development practices identified in a study of four different organisations - safety practices, and how learning and being a learner regarding safety were legitimate in one of the organisations. Data are drawn from semi-structured interviews with members of a variety of workgroups in one major division of the organisation. Findings: Interviewees' responses reflected that learning was fully embedded as an accepted part of a necessary function of the organisation. This use of a learning discourse is discussed in the light of findings from an earlier study on informal learning at work that suggested that learning and the identity of being a learner were sometimes resisted in the everyday culture of work. Originality/value: Using the theorisations of practice of Schatzki and the lifelong education framework of Delors the paper discusses the implications of these findings to examine when it is acceptable to articulate learning as part of work and be identified as a learner at work. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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