Using Cyberspace to Promote Transformative Learning Experiences and Consequently Democracy in the Workplace

Using Cyberspace to Promote Transformative Learning Experiences and Consequently Democracy in the Workplace

William F. Ritke-Jones (Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-893-2.ch016
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Abstract

This chapter will explain transformative learning and its value and application to corporate training practices by promoting critical reflection on one’s “frames of reference.” This critical reflection can help one to challenge cultural and social assumptions, potentially leading the person to more democratic ways of thinking and behaving in the workplace. Cyberspace offers a unique and potentially powerful place to employ transformative learning practices, and along with explaining transformative learning, this chapter will explore how cyberspace can be used for this kind of learning. This chapter will also posit that new cyberspace environments such as Wiki’s and Second Life hold tremendous promise as transformative learning spaces because they invite small group collaboration.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Theories in Use: These are the theories that a person actually uses to interpret a situation and act within it. These theories are often in conflict with a person’s espoused theories in those practicing model I behavior. Indeed, often people practicing model I behavior totally deny that they are acting in contradiction to what they say that they believe.

Critical Reflection: This refers to the reflection on experience that reveals the underlying assumptions, values, and beliefs that compel a person to act as she/he does in a particular situation and to interpret the actions of another in a particular way; thus critical reflection unveils one’s “frames of reference” as Mezirow calls them or one’s “espoused theories of action” as Argyris and Schon referred to them. Critical reflection is necessary before transformative learning may occur, but critical reflection does not necessarily lead to transformative learning.

Espoused Theories of Action: This refers to the theory that a person believes s/he operates under. These theories are created by the person according to his or her perceptions of himself/herself and are reinforced by his/her true but often erroneous interpretations of his/her experience and actions. For instance, s/he may believe that s/he does not harbor bias against those of other cultures, but in fact s/he may, a fact the interpretations that others make of his/her actions reveal.

Model II Behavior: This is behavior that is collaborative and inclusive. Rather than seeking to dominate, people who practice this behavior strive to be democratic, inviting and encouraging weaker voices to be heard. Argyris and Schon imply that this way of behaving illustrates more enlightened and emotionally mature people. When conflict occurs in organizations acting from model II, members of the organization seek to understand and empathize with one another even while stating their individual points of view.

Model I Behavior: This is behavior that is competitive and hostile. Argyris and Schon approach claiming that this kind of behavior is barbaric and uncivilized. In this behavior, individuals compete to get their own needs and wants satisfied with little thought to the collective good. Those practicing this kind of behavior seek to dominate others.

Reflective Discourse: This is the use of dialogue to find “a common understanding and assessment of the justification of an interpretation or belief” ( Mezirow, 2001 , p. 10). In a group setting, participants challenge each other’s assumptions and negotiate alternative perspectives. Arguably, transformative learning cannot occur except in dialogue with one’s environment either in a group setting or in acting within the world.

Frames of Reference: These are the “structures of assumptions and expectations through which we filter sense impressions” ( Mezirow, 2001 , p. 16). One’s frames of reference shape how a person perceives, thinks and feels and provides the framework by which one makes meaning of experiences. Frames of reference are “composed of two dimensions, a habit of mind and resulting points of view” ( Mezirow, 2001 , p. 17) that determine how we will choose to act in a particular situation and how we will interpret the actions or speech of others.

Perspective Transformation: This is the outcome of transformative learning. Fundamentally, it is a transformation of a frame of reference that allows a more “democratic” way of perceiving and acting in the world. Perspective transformation implies not just a change of perception but action as well because it is not enough to see the world differently; one must act differently in it. For a fuller definition, see Taylor (2001 AU34: The in-text citation "Taylor (2001" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Transformative Learning: This involves a re-framing of assumptions that provide a different perspective on the world. As such, transformative learning leads to “respect for others, self-respect, willingness to accept responsibility for the common good, willingness to welcome diversity and to approach others with openness” ( Mezirow, 2001 , p. 14). It should be noted that this concept of transformative learning assumes that the aforementioned characteristics are positive, but the pronouncement that these are positive characteristics is a social construct.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Kathleen Blake Yancey
Acknowledgment
Chapter 1
Pamela Estes Brewer
Virtual workplaces are constructed of people using technology to work at a distance, with the goal of transferring knowledge (both explicit and... Sample PDF
Gains and Losses in the Rhetoric of Virtual Workplaces
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Chapter 2
Christie L. McDaniel
Virtual teams are become more and more popular as the world becomes more connected; furthermore, research is suggesting that virtual teams are as... Sample PDF
Removing Space and Time: Tips for Managing the Virtual Workplace
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Chapter 3
Marie C. Paretti, Lisa D. McNair
This chapter uses activity theory as a lens to understand the implications of both virtual collaboration and cross-cultural contact for... Sample PDF
Communication in Global Virtual Activity Systems
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Chapter 4
Jamie S. Switzer
The world now lives and works in cyberspace. Often, organizations have their people perform functional tasks by working in virtual teams, where... Sample PDF
Successful Communication in Virtual Teams and the Role of the Virtual Team Leader
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Chapter 5
S. J. Overbeek, P. van Bommel, H. A. Proper, D. B.B. Rijsenbrij
Exchange of knowledge is becoming increasingly important to modern organizations. In this chapter, it is explained what this elementary knowledge... Sample PDF
Foundations and Applications of Intelligent Knowledge Exchange
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Chapter 6
Michelle Rodino-Colocino
Although the debate on the digital divide has evolved from an analysis of access to skill, scholars have largely neglected the significance of... Sample PDF
Digital Divide Redux: Why the Greatest Gap is Ideological
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Chapter 7
Parawork  (pages 81-97)
Leah A. Zuidema
The term parawork describes spaces and activities that function alongside—yet also outside—of traditional workplaces. Parawork spaces are not... Sample PDF
Parawork
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Chapter 8
Jamie S. Switzer
In face-to-face interactions, people generally form impressions by focusing on a variety of nonverbal cues. Increasingly, however, people are... Sample PDF
Impression Formation in Computer-Mediated Communication and Making a Good (Virtual) Impression
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Chapter 9
Alan D. Smith
Telecommuting is a tool that is becoming more and more a way a life for organizations as they strive to recruit and retain employees and assist them... Sample PDF
Telecommuting and the Management of the Human Moment
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Chapter 10
Bolanle A. Olaniran, David A. Edgell
This chapter introduces and explains some critical issues regarding Cultural Implications of Collaborative Information Technologies (CITs) in... Sample PDF
Cultural Implications of Collaborative Information Technologies (CITs) in International Online Collaborations and Global Virtual Teams
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Chapter 11
Yulin Fang, Dev K. Dutta
Despite a sizable body of literature on virtual organization, little attention has been paid to defining organizational virtuality and identifying... Sample PDF
Explaining Organizational Virtuality: Insights from the Knowledge-Based View
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Chapter 12
Frankie S. Jones
This chapter discusses the findings of a qualitative research study which explored how collaborative technologies facilitate or inhibit the work of... Sample PDF
The Perceptions of Collaborative Technologies Among Virtual Workers
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Chapter 13
J. Ramsay, M. Hair, K. V. Renaud
The way humans interact with one another in the 21st Century has been markedly influenced by the integration of a number of different communication... Sample PDF
Ubiquitous Connectivity & Work-Related Stress
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Chapter 14
Robert Sprague
This chapter addresses the legal aspects of employee privacy in virtual workplaces. The body of law regarding employee workplace privacy that has... Sample PDF
Employee Privacy in Virtual Workplaces
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Chapter 15
Belinda Davis Lazarus
Virtual workplaces offer persons with disabilities new opportunities in the workplace that may simultaneously accommodate their disabilities while... Sample PDF
Accommodating Persons with Disabilities in Virtual Workplaces
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Chapter 16
William F. Ritke-Jones
This chapter will explain transformative learning and its value and application to corporate training practices by promoting critical reflection on... Sample PDF
Using Cyberspace to Promote Transformative Learning Experiences and Consequently Democracy in the Workplace
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Chapter 17
Julia D. Sweeny
Online training or, e-training, can be less expensive, more efficient, and more productive than traditional face-to-face instruction. This chapter... Sample PDF
Instructional Design and E-Training
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Chapter 18
Parissa Haghirian, Bernd Simon
With the modern business environment becoming increasingly dependent on technology, management teaching in higher education faces the challenging... Sample PDF
Designing the Virtual Classroom for Management Teaching
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Chapter 19
Christa Ehmann Powers, Beth L. Hewett
Companies that conduct their business either in an entirely online setting or in hybrid environments (i.e., online and face-to-face) are in a unique... Sample PDF
Building Online Training Programs for Virtual Workplaces
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Chapter 20
Terrie Lynn Thompson
Before we can exploit new technologies to realize new ways of working, we must be able to imagine innovative possibilities for learning.... Sample PDF
The Virtual Classroom @ Work
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Chapter 21
Judith Szerdahelyi
In addition to their traditional low-tech repertoire of cheating methods, students are now compromising academic integrity by utilizing... Sample PDF
Video Technology for Academic Integrity in Online Courses
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Chapter 22
Kalyani Chatterjea
The concept of the virtual workplace is used in three initiatives to create an out-of-classroom environment where learners worked on virtual space... Sample PDF
Virtual Workplaces for Learning in Singapore
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Chapter 23
Mona Florea, Lillian Rafeldt, Susan Youngblood
The chapter presents healthcare examples of the current virtual working environment and introduces nursing skills necessary for evidence-based... Sample PDF
Using an Information Literacy Program to Prepare Nursing Students to Practice in a Virtual Workplace
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Chapter 24
Gary Hepburn
This chapter explores the potential of an educational commons to help schools better prepare students for the virtual workplace. Together with the... Sample PDF
Preparing for the Virtual Workplace in the Educational Commons
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Chapter 25
Alan McCord, Morell D. Boone
Our global business climate is rapidly evolving to require greater use of virtual work tools. This chapter provides an overview of today’s virtual... Sample PDF
Technologies and Services in Support of Virtual Workplaces
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Chapter 26
Kristie Edwards, Simeon Yates, Anne-Florence Dujardin, Geff Green
A healthy balance between social and task-oriented activities helps teamwork. In virtual teams, e-mail texts must often carry both task-oriented and... Sample PDF
Writing Research into Professional E-Mail Communication
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Chapter 27
Matt Barton
There are few terms in the past decade that have excited the popular imagination more than “New Media,” even though few self-described “New Media”... Sample PDF
New Media and the Virtual Workplace
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Chapter 28
Ran Wei
This chapter introduces adoption theory and applies it to examine the use of wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), which has the potential to expand virtual... Sample PDF
Adoption of Wi-Fi Technologies and Creation of Virtual Workplaces
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Chapter 29
Clint Bowers, Peter A. Smith, Jan Cannon-Bowers, Denise Nicholson
Virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games are becoming a useful tool for distributed teams. From providing a common working place, to... Sample PDF
Using Virtual Worlds to Assist Distributed Teams
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Chapter 30
Peter Rive
This chapter considers the virtual world Second Life as a workplace. It argues that despite its apparent novelty, Second Life is descended from a... Sample PDF
Knowledge Transfer and Marketing in Second Life
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Chapter 31
Goran Vlasic, Jurica Pavicic, Zoran Krupka
This chapter deals with the importance of intranets as knowledge management tools/media enabling efficient knowledge exchange and development within... Sample PDF
Intranets: Interactive Knowledge Management Tools of Networked Communities
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Chapter 32
Beth L. Hewett, Russell J. Hewett
This chapter discusses instant messaging (IM) as a valuable digital tool that has influenced business communication practices at least as much as... Sample PDF
Instant Messaging (IM) Literacy in the Workplace
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Chapter 33
Aizhong Lin, Erik Vullings, James Dalziel
This chapter introduces the trust virtual organization as a means of facilitating authentication and authorization for sharing distributed and... Sample PDF
Supporting Collaboration with Trust Virtual Organization
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Chapter 34
James K. Ford, Tobias Höllerer
Until recently, Augmented Reality (AR) technology has rarely been discussed outside of the computer science world. It has taken years for this... Sample PDF
Augmented Reality and the Future of Virtual Workspaces
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Chapter 35
James R. Zimmerman
This chapter applies the evolving principles of electronic communication rhetoric and recent leadership theory to the daily practice of e-mail... Sample PDF
Virtual Writing as Actual Leadership
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Chapter 36
José A. Rodrigues Nt, Jano Moreira de Souza, Geraldo Zimbrão, Geraldo Xexéo, Mutaleci Miranda
Business Process Management (BPM) brings together the idea of effectively managing organizations and properly using Information Technology to... Sample PDF
Business Process Reuse and Standardization with P2P Technologies
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Chapter 37
Norman E. Youngblood, Joel West
Collaborative writing is an important element of the virtual workplace. While it is sometimes enough to e-mail a document back and forth between... Sample PDF
Collaborative Writing Tools in the Virtual Workplace
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Chapter 38
Distance Internships  (pages 544-554)
David A. Edgell
Academic internships and cooperative programs exist so that students can build a bridge between their academic learning and their professional... Sample PDF
Distance Internships
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Chapter 39
Lei Lei Meng, Robert Schafer
This chapter aims to define a plan for an international virtual office by exploring the problems that hamper communication within a virtual office.... Sample PDF
An International Virtual Office Communication Plan
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Chapter 40
Diego Liberati
A framework is proposed that creates, uses, communicates, and distributes information whose organizational dynamics allow it to perform a... Sample PDF
Design and Managing of Distributed Virtual Organizations
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Chapter 41
Heinz D. Knoell
In this chapter we will present semi virtual workplace (SVWP) concepts in the German financial sector (FS) industry. We give a short introduction... Sample PDF
Semi Virtual Workplaces in German Financial Service Enterprises
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Chapter 42
R. Todd Stephens
This chapter examines the critical task of providing client support for virtual environments. The vast majority of information workers are not... Sample PDF
Implementing Client-Support for Collaborative Spaces
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Chapter 43
Douglas Eyman
This chapter proposes an analytic for the assessment of sustainability and success of virtual workplaces. This analytic considers value, visibility... Sample PDF
Value, Visibility, Virtual Teamwork at Kairos
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Chapter 44
Wendy Warren Austin
This chapter explains to business people, administrators, and educator/trainers what plagiarism is and is not, and explores authorship ambiguities... Sample PDF
Plagiarism, Ghostwriting, Boilerplate, and Open Content
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Chapter 45
Dana Lynn Driscoll, H. Allen Brizee, Michael Salvo, Morgan Sousa
This chapter describes results of usability research conducted on the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). The Purdue OWL is an information-rich... Sample PDF
Usability and User-Centered Theory for 21st Century OWLs
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Chapter 46
Neil P. Baird
Virtual workplaces are no longer the province of young technophiles, and we must become more conscious of the particular challenges and issues those... Sample PDF
Negotiating Virtual Identity in an Age of Globalization
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Chapter 47
Olena Igorivna Goroshko
Based on the underlying assumption that gender is a social construct, this chapter explores the World Wide Web home pages of key political figures... Sample PDF
Virtual Political Office Where Gender and Culture Meet
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Chapter 48
Eric Franzén
The Internet and other new technologies have made possible an ever-growing availability of distribution channels. New paths are being blazed for... Sample PDF
The Benefits of Using Print-On-Demand or POD
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Chapter 49
María José Crisóstomo-Acevedo, José Aurelio Medina-Garrido
Telemedicine requires a new type of worker: the health care teleworker. Nevertheless, physicians remain wary of adopting telemedicine. This work... Sample PDF
Difficulties in Accepting Telemedicine
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Chapter 50
Michael J. Klein
This chapter provides educators instructional methods for teaching audience analysis to students in professional writing courses. It argues that a... Sample PDF
Reconsidering the Lay-Expert Audience Divide
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Chapter 51
Jayantha P. Liyanage
Operational enterprising is gradually emerging as a new solution to manage offshore assets on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). This is seen as... Sample PDF
Rapid Virtual Enterprising to Manage Complex and High-Risk Assets
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About the Contributors