Formality and Informality: Learning in Relationships in an Organisation

Formality and Informality: Learning in Relationships in an Organisation

Karin Dessne (University of Borås, Borås, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/ijkm.2013100102
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An organisation and its work are formed by social structures in the form of relationships. The aim of this paper is to explore the nature of relationships and its impact on learning with a qualitative approach. A case study focusing on the Land Warfare Centre (LWC) of the Swedish Armed Forces (SwAF) was conducted. The main target of the study was learning from experiences in training and field action. The analysis shows that relationships are characterised by and contributing to 1) local and oral learning, 2) confusion in the formal design of concepts and processes and 3) issues of power, status and trust. The results of this research support and clarify the viewpoint that the nature of relationships – with various degrees of formality/informality – impacts on learning in an organisation. The relationships are formed and re-formed by their preconditions and may be altered through conscious and unconscious changes of the preconditions.
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Point Of Departure

The point of departure for the study presented in this paper is:

  • Knowing is a consequence of learning;

  • Learning is a consequence of social interaction and interpretation;

  • Information has potential to nourish learning.

In short, learning results in knowing by interpreting information and by participating in social interaction. The point of departure stating that learning is a consequence of social interaction and interpretation connects two perspectives on learning; that is, the cognitive and the social.

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