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

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Introduction

Psychology has offered multiple insights into the vagaries of human learning. The literature has also enriched our understanding of organizational learning, while at the same time opening channels for scholarly debate. For example, questions have been raised about positivist as opposed to constructivist perspectives and the role of context versus personal determinism. To what extent are these considerations taken into account where the focus is the organization rather than the individual? Another point is whether there are missing strands that deserve closer scrutiny, given the emphasis on cognitive processes and what may be broadly termed ‘relational’ factors. We take an overarching approach as we address these questions, bringing together key themes, in line with the suggestion in the last edition of this Handbook that the paradigmatic shift in psychology is in this direction (DeFillippi and Ornstein, 2003).

The purpose of this chapter, then, is to explore how psychological learning theories have been used in the development of theories about organizational learning. We do so by means of a comparative framework (or typology) which allows us to compare and contrast significant themes along defined parameters. Utilizing a four-quadrant typology (Shipton, 2006) we first explore key aspects of individual learning theory and then turn to theories connected with organizational learning, in particular, those which are either drawn from, or have strong parallels with, psychological ...

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