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

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A Review of the Team Learning Literature

Research on team learning spans a vast range of organizational settings, research methods, and dependent variables. Although this diversity in scope is reflective of the rich array of learning performed by real teams in organizations, it can also lead to confusing inconsistency in terminology and difficulty in accumulating findings. Indeed, the field of organizational learning is similarly diverse, with a long history of well-studied, but varied theoretical perspectives (for example, Argyris and Schön, 1978; Huber, 1991; Leavitt and March, 1988). Given the strength of each divergent theoretical contribution, we argue that a highly specified definition of team learning would sacrifice breadth for depth. Therefore, similar to definitions of organizational learning, we broadly define team learning as the processes and outcomes that involve positive change as the result of investments in developing shared knowledge or skill (for a discussion of different definitions of team learning, see Edmondson, Dillon, and Roloff, 2007).

To date, the research on team learning falls into three general streams of work: learning curves in operational settings (outcome improvement), psychological experiments on team member coordination (task mastery), and field research on learning processes in teams (group process) (Edmondson, Dillon, and Roloff, 2007). Each of these research traditions provides a different contribution to the understanding of organizational ...

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