Culture as Organizational Learning

I have always struggled to understand the concept of organizational learning. After all, how can an insentient thing be said to learn? This is particularly ironic, as I often refer to myself as working in the area of adult and organizational learning.

Quite a timely piece, but I just read and have been discussing an article by Scott D. N. Cook and Dvora Yanow (1993), Culture and Organizational Learning.  In it, they focus on the learning that occurs within organizations as a facet of organizational cultural:

We hold that learning can indeed be done by organizations, that this phenomenon is neither conceptually nor empirically the same as either learning by individuals or individual learning within organizations; and that to understand organizational learning as learning by organizations, theorists and practitioners need to see organizations not primarily as cognitive entities but as cultural ones (pg. 374).

They go on to define organizational learning as:

the acquiring, sustaining, or changing of intersubjective meanings through the artifactual [sic] vehicles of their expression and transmission and the collective actions of the group (pg. 384).

Never thought about it in this perspective.

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