Implementing Knowledge Through Development Projects


  • Erik Laursen


organizational learning, development projects, implementation of knowledge, organizational concepts


The main objective of this article is the implementation of knowledge in organizations, taking place in the context of development projects. Some of the issues discussed are: What kind of learning conditions do the development projects have to offer? What are the causes and consequences of different levels of engagement from the staff in the projects? Why is often so difficult to transfer what is learned or implemented by the organization during the projects to the everyday activities of the organization after the finishing of projects? In the article a typology of development projects is presented and discussed as different ways of framing the organizational learning processes. The article is based on an empirical study of four organizational development projects (covering the organizations as a whole) run by four Danish upper secondary schools(“gymnasium”). The study included questionnaires as well as interviews with the management and staff, plus a survey of selected written materials and documents . In the various ways in which different groupings among the staff and the management are relating to the project are described. A special focus is set on the different perspectives on the projects established by the staff and the management and how the perspectives have consequences on the actual learning outcomes of the different groups in the organization. Another issue is the weak links between what is experienced by the staff as ‘ordinary problems’ his objectives and goals of the development projects. The theoretical frame of analysis has references to the ‘outside‑in’ perspective on organizational learning, presented by the neo‑institutional theory (Scott 1995 DiMaggion& Powell 1983, Czarniawska & Sevon 2005, Røvik 2007) Nanoka and Takeuchis model of knowledge transformations in organizations (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1995) and of the forms of the knowledge), Argyris and Ellström’s distinction between the learning modes of correction and development (Ellström 2001, Argyris 1992).



1 Apr 2011