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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter contains a critical analysis of the learning organization (LO). As part of this agenda, the possibilities for a more positive agenda for LO are also explored. The chapter introduces a political perspective in which LO is seen as part of power relations that produce particular types of learning. From this perspective the authors move to Foucault’s later ethical writings to clarify an important distinction between reflective and reflexive practices. Three different narratives of LO are then identified and discussed. 1st generation LO is characterized by learning models that are consistent with the rationalities of the classical bureaucratic model. 2nd generation LO is characterized by learning models that emphasize reflection, self-management, and self-directed learning according to corporate performance goals. 3rd generation LO focuses on reflexivity, creativity, and co-creation in groups and teams and across silos supported by the design of collective spaces where such actions and collaborative learning processes unfold.

Keywords: learning organization, politics, reflective and reflexive practices, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation learning organization

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