19 December 2010

Call for papers: Integrating Learning Behaviour with Change Context

A special issue of International Journal of Learning and Change

The need to link learning behaviour and change processes including organisational design (OD) techniques has never been greater. At a time when organisations are calling for clear performance parameters related to measuring change, and/or measuring learning behaviour, managers lack specificity and knowledge about how to integrate key areas. Change is often studied as a process with a clear beginning and end in some studies (Greiner, 1972; Nadler and Tushman, 1989; Arthur and Huntley, 2005) yet in others, change processes are discussed as punctuated, cyclical or continuous events (e.g.Tushman and O’Reilly, 1996; Brown and Eisenhardt, 1997; Gersick, 1991). In all of these studies, what seems to be missing is a coherent sense of what kind of learning behaviours are required to understand the change(s).

Similarly, the link between individual, team and organisational learning is well known (Crossan, Lane and White, 1999; Argyris, 1999; Fiol and Lyles, 1985). Here, the key premise is that what individuals actually learn influences team learning which in turn influences organisational learning. This makes sense if an organisations intellectual capital is an accumulation or compilation of capability so that the best capabilities can be exploited in ways that unearth new behaviours on a relatively continuous basis. March (1991) contends however that organisational systems engaged in too much exploitation at the exclusion of exploration are likely to find themselves trapped in suboptimal stable equilibria (1991: p.71). Both the learning and strategy literature to this extent is consistent. That is, core capabilities can quickly become core rigidities since no new learning occurs to break the cycle.

A key thesis between these mutual associations of change and learning is form. What form or structure links the two? There is a fuzzy link thus far between change and learning.
  • If change management processes are meant to both exploit existing capabilities yet explore new horizons, then how does this occur?
  • What role does learning play in change from one state to another?
  • Which learning behaviours are required?
  • Where do these new capabilities come from if underlying learning behaviour(s) are explored?
  • How does learning at both the individual and team level influence change processes or change contexts and vice versa?
Organisation design techniques are often imbued with learning behaviour yet they are not explained in terms of discrete learning events.

This special edition to our knowledge is the first of its kind to explore these mutually reinforcing processes. There are a number of factors in and around connecting themes. Scholars may choose to focus on form thus explicating important associations between learning behaviour and change processes, providing some context to bridge gaps in the literature. Alternatively, scholars may focus on more transformational events vested in individuals or managers as leaders, or in teams, or in organisational processes per se. We are particularly interested in solid empirical links that demonstrate sound constructs of learning and change. Accordingly, although our focus is quite broad in terms of context, we are particularly counting on the special issue to make a substantial contribution to the literature in these critical areas.

Examples of topics appropriate to the theme of learning and change include but are not limited to:
  • Learning processes and change techniques
  • earning behaviour and modes of learning
  • Change models linked to learning
  • Types of change and modes of learning
  • Organisation design techniques and learning behaviour
  • Performance management systems and behavioural change
  • Learning and adaptive performance
  • Small to medium sized change and learning
  • Transformational leadership and learning
  • Dynamic capabilities and learning modes
  • Individual and team learning
  • Organisational learning constructs
  • Multi-dimensional individual and team learning instruments
  • Multi-method research techniques of learning and change
  • Contextual studies in practice
  • Learning behaviour as a form of competitive advantage
  • Human resource systems as dynamic learning capabilities
  • Culture and learning contexts
  • Knowledge creation in international markets
Important Dates
Draft submission deadline: June 30, 2011
Final paper submission deadline: August 30, 2011

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