Why don't (or do) organizations learn from projects?

Swan, Jacky, Scarborough, Harry and Newell, Sue (2010) Why don't (or do) organizations learn from projects? Management Learning, 41 (3). pp. 325-344. ISSN 1350-5076

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Many different types of organizations use projects to accomplish specific tasks, especially tasks that involve innovation and change. However, there are often problems associated with both learning within projects and learning transfer from projects to the wider organization. Previous research suggests that these problems vary according to the organizational context, in particular the extent to which the organization is centred on the delivery of projects. Also, the link between project-based learning and organizational learning may be far from seamless, and may require the deployment of a range of learning mechanisms to be effective. In this article we explore and explain these problems through an empirical study which examined project-based learning across different organizational contexts. This study highlights the limitations of learning mechanisms based on reflection and codification. It suggests that firms generally only learn from projects, if at all, via the accumulation of experience amongst groups and individuals. The study suggests, however, that the accumulation of experience is most pronounced in organizational contexts which are project centred and where project management capabilities are well developed. In contrast, in organizations where projects are more varied and occasional, the struggle to exploit the highly heterogeneous forms of learning created within projects is greater.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Users 7386 not found.
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2014 06:52
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2014 06:52
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/49534
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