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Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition by MARJORIE A. LYLES, MARK EASTERBY-SMITH

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Chapter 1

The Evolving Field of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management

MARK EASTERBY-SMITH AND MARJORIE A. LYLES

Organizational learning (OL) and knowledge management (KM) research has gone through dramatic changes in the last twenty years and, without doubt, the field will continue to change in the next ten years. Our research suggests that Cyert and March were the first authors to reference organizational learning in their publication of 1963. It was just twenty years ago that a conference was held at Carnegie Mellon University to honor March and his contribution to the field of organizational learning. Many of these presentations were published in a special issue of Organization Science in 1991.

Since that time we have seen a rapid expansion in the number of journal articles—both academic and practitioner—devoted to organizational learning. Fields such as information technology, marketing and human resources have also jumped on the bandwagon. Doctoral programs are including seminars on organizational learning, and MBA courses on organizational learning are appearing. All of this reflects acceptance of the concept that organizations have knowledge, do learn over time, and consider their knowledge base and social capital as valuable assets. It also reaffirms the legitimacy of research on organizational learning and its practical applications to organizations.

The first edition of this Handbook was published in 2003 but most chapters were completed in 2001 or 2002. Our ...

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