Learning Organizational Practices That Persist, Perpetuate and Change: A Schatzkian View

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Professional and Practice-based Learning, 2012, 8 pp. 233 - 247
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© 2012, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. In this chapter, we challenge two conventional assumptions from workplace learning research and organizational change research: that learning can be understood isolated from its embeddedness in work practices and that managing change at work aims to re-stabilize entities known as organizations. In contrast, we believe understanding the nexus between learning and change in organizational work lies in appreciating the apparent paradox when workers learn to carry forward (persist and perpetuate) practices, yet also learn to adapt (change) them to achieve the purposes of work. We draw significantly from Schatzki’s theorizations of practice and argue that practice theory has much to contribute in conceptualizing a more dynamic view of organizing, working and learning. We illustrate our use of Schatzkian concepts by discussing how workers at an Australian utility company use safety practices to learn how to become new kinds of safe workers and to embrace the organizational notion of safe working.
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