Integrating Individual and Organisational Learning Initiatives: Working Across Knowledge Management and Human Resource Management Functional Boundaries


  • Christine van Winkelen
  • Jane McKenzie


knowledge management, human resources management, individual learning, organisational learning


Knowledge management initiatives enable an organisation to learn from its successes and mistakes. The nature of knowledge and learning processes means that in seeking to improve the way the organisation learns, knowledge management also has to pay attention to the learning of individuals. In most organisations, other functional specialists also have responsibility for individual learning. This exploratory qualitative research has examined the ways that planned learning initiatives generated by knowledge management and human resources management functions can be integrated more effectively. A survey of the planned individual and organisational learning activities and processes in ten large organisations was undertaken. Eleven examples of initiatives that integrate individual and organisational learning were also identified from within these organisations. These were evaluated and the issues associated with implementation explored through an expert panel and interview process with knowledge managers and human resource managers. Factors that positively influence integration were found to include widespread recognition of the business value of both individual and organisational learning, high level sponsorship that acts as a bridge across functional boundaries and line managers adopting an integrating approach to learning in managing their people and the tasks they undertake. Factors that negatively impact the adoption of an integrated approach were found to include the lack of mechanisms to coordinate across functions and a culture in which functional managers feel unable to change practices. This research has generated a model that appears to be useful in organising the analysis of the planned learning initiatives that are being undertaken by different functions. Together with the examples of integration and its enablers and barriers, knowledge managers and human resource managers can use this to proactively move forward with a more "joined up" approach to learning.



1 Dec 2007



General Paper