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Politics and Organizational Learning



In this paper it is argued that organizational learning is facilitated by a free and open form of politics in the workplace based on a system of political, social and civil rights and obligations within a framework of legitimate authority, parallel to the system that exists in the wider society. The argument is developed by examining issues at three related levels: why ‘psychic’ space is needed to nurture selfidentity and learning; the institutional pressures in the wider social environment that bring about learning within a whole business sector through open political activity; and how existing organizational learning theory and practice reveal numerous ways in which space for learning and innovation can be made available within work organizations through political processes. Finally, suggestions are made for ways of creating a framework within organizations that will enable such processes to develop.

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