How do organisations learn in a project environment? A multiple case study analysis drawing lessons from the built environment context.

University of Newcastle
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Symposium: Building Across Borders Built Environment Procurement CIB W092 Procurement Systems, 2007, pp. 77 - 88
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This paper is comprised of four parts. First it briefly reviews the literature on organizational learning, learning organizations and knowledge management and their relationship and describes a multifaceted model of organizational learning proposed in the literature to facilitate organizational learning. Second, it explains how organizational learning takes place in a project environment using three case studies based on doctoral research conducted by managers in their own organizations. Each of these projects was implemented as a strategic project in the organizations undergoing rapid change. All three projects used insider action research to implement change. Project teams were used in these projects during implementation that promoted learning, knowledge sharing and dissemination. The multifaceted organizational learning model is then used to analyse how organizational learning took place in these projects. Third it points out that there has been considerable interest in organizational learning and knowledge management in both project and construction management. While these practices have been widely adopted in a project management environment the construction industry is still in the early stages of adoption. Fourth, the paper reports on a discussion with built environment practitioners on the applicability of a multifaceted model to construction management. The paper concludes that while there is an increasing interest in both organizational learning and knowledge management in construction only a few facets of the multifaceted model are actually being used by the industry in Australia. The paper proposes that further research is needed to find a suitable model for promoting organizational learning and knowledge management in construction.
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