Exploring Organizational Learning and Knowledge Exchange through Poetry

Exploring Organizational Learning and Knowledge Exchange through Poetry

Louise Grisoni (Bristol Business School, UK)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-176-6.ch007
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The central discussion in this chapter is that poetry can be used to provide a bridge between tangible, rational and explicit knowledge and tacit or implicit knowledge, providing opportunities to access new organizational knowledge, understandings and learning. A study based on 60 middle and senior United Kingdom public services managers is presented. In this study managers worked together to explore how creative inquiry into their organizational experience might help address some of the problematic issues facing their organizations and learn how to develop new ideas about best practice. The challenge was to generate new knowledge about the organization. Poetry in the form of ‘haiku’ was used as a creative research method to access tacit knowledge, which, when combined with explicit knowledge and understanding, led to new insights and organizational learning.
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Using Narrative And Poetry To Contribute To Knowledge Creation And Organizational Learning

The contribution of narratives and story telling as ways of understanding organizations is well developed (Gabriel 2000, Banks and Banks 1997, Czarniawska 1998, Hatch, Kostera, Kozminski 2005) and has been used as the starting point for sense making (Weick, 1991) in organizations.

'Documenting and analyzing organizational stories can enhance our understanding of human behavior. It can also enrich our appreciation of what it means to be a participant in an organization. We gain insights into ways that people interact, communicate, project anxieties, cope with problems and solve dilemmas in human relations. We also discover how people view organizations and what they expect socially aesthetically and symbolically. Hence the information and hypothesis have a practical application'. (Jones, Moore, and Snyder, 1988:14).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Poem: http://dictionary.oed.com. A piece of writing or an oral composition, often characterized by a metrical structure, in which the expression of feelings, ideas, etc., is typically given intensity or flavour by distinctive diction, rhythm, imagery, etc.; a composition in poetry or verse. A good poem seems to occupy a space beyond mere words especially when it is used to explore the full range of life’s experience. According to Grisham:

Haiku: Haiku originated in Japan, around the 15th century. It is a specific form of poetry, originally of jesting character, containing seventeen syllables, in three phrases of five-seven-five syllables. It usually presents a moment of heightened awareness in simple imagery, originally using an image from nature. Writing traditional haiku requires a long period of learning, practise and maturity. Modern Haiku are less exacting in their development and use.

Knowledge Creation, Exchange, and Organizational Learning: There are epistemological and ontological differences between approaches to knowledge creation. The definition which this chapter works with follows Chia’s (2003) argument that new organizational knowledge can be accessed through exploration of intangible and tacit knowledge and an integration of organizational knowledge. Organizational learning and knowledge exchange are viewed as social constructions which are mutually constitutive and constantly changing. Knowledge creation is an inter-subjective, aesthetic process which is developed through narrative and story telling and in this chapter: poetry.

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