Thematic tracks invite contributions that focus on a specific aspect within the field of organisational learning, to survey and build the community, as well as to share latest thinking around questions related to the track. For OLKC 2022, we are excited to invite contributions to the following three thematic tracks:
1. Perspectives on collaboration for sustainable organizational learning
This thematic track is dedicated to advance current understanding of collaboration, organisational learning, and sustainability covering diverse practices, organisations, people and disciplines. There is a continuous need for organisational learning, innovation, and development in response to contemporary societal challenges on local, regional, national, and global scales in the digital era. To deal with complex issues, learning and collaboration are vital in all sectors of society in order to include various perspectives and competences across organisational borders (Bernhard & Olsson, 2020).
Collaboration for organizational learning may be based on inclusion of employees, internal and external stakeholders, a learning climate, trust, transparency, systematic employee development, and encouragement for constant experimentation and learning (Battistella, et. al., 2021; Bernhard & Wihlborg, 2021; Olsson et.al., 2021). Inclusion for organisational learning is here argued to be in line with the intentions for social sustainability (United Nations, 2021).
The phenomenon organisational learning may be defined in various ways (Argote, 2011; Örtenblad, 2018). The same applies to collaboration which may occur within an organisation or between organisations or cross sectors such as private-public collaboration, industry collaboration, university-society research collaboration and/or approaches for higher educational collaboration (Bernhard & Olsson, 2020; Islind & Norström, 2020; Rampersad, 2015; Trencher et al., 2013; Olsson et al., 2021).
In this track, we invite empirical and theoretical papers that can be related to issues of interest to various stakeholders such as policy makers, researchers, managers and/or practitioners based on a variety of perspectives exploring collaboration for sustainable organisational learning.
The thematic track is chaired by Assistant Professor Iréne Bernhard and Associate Professor Anna Karin Olsson, University West, Sweden.
Argote, L. (2011). Organizational learning research: Past, present and future. Management learning, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 439-446.
Battistella, C., Cicero, L. & Preghenella, N. (2021), "Sustainable organisational learning in sustainable companies", The Learning Organization, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 15-31.
Bernhard, I. & Wihlborg, E. (2021) “Bringing all clients into the RPA system – Professional digital discretion to enhance inclusion when services are automated”, Information Polity. Vol. Pre-press, No. Pre-press, pp. 1-17,
Bernhard, I. & Olsson, A. K. (2020). University-industry collaboration in higher education: Exploring the informing flows framework in industrial PhD education. Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, Vol. 23, pp. 147-163.
Islind, A.S. & Norström, L. (2020), "Learning sustainable work through critical design: a case study of a hackathon to prepare the future workforce", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 32, No. 8, pp. 641-651.
Olsson, A.K., Bernhard, I., Arvemo, T. & Snis, U.L., (2021). A conceptual model for university-society research collaboration facilitating societal impact for local innovation. European Journal of Innovation Management. Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 1335–1353.
Rampersad, G.C. (2015), Developing university-business cooperation through work-integrated learning, International Journal of Technology Management, Vol. 68, Nos 3-4, pp. 203-227.
Trencher, G. P., Yarime, M. & Kharrazi, A. (2013). Co-creating sustainability: cross-sector university collaborations for driving sustainable urban transformations. Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 50, 40-55.
United Nations (2021). The 17 Goals, https://sdgs.un.org/goals
Örtenblad, A. (2018), "What does “learning organization” mean?", The Learning Organization, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 150-158.
2. Collaborative approaches to work-integrated learning
This track is about work-integrated learning (WIL), which can be seen as a collective concept encapsulating a variety of different approaches in understanding learning. Theoretical and practical knowledge and experiences are integrated and linked in workplaces as well as in educational contexts (Billett, 2009). As working life has become increasingly complex, everchanging, and unpredictable, workers face new and growing demands to engage in continuous learning, training activities and formal education. This development is reflected in a renewed academic interest and learning at work.
Within WIL, in the form of co-production of knowledge inter-professionally means that new learning is achieved in joint collaboration. Mobilising and coordinating knowledge is a major challenge for innovations as well as to learn in a changing working life (Gherardi, 2009; Nicolini, 2012). Management and organisation in digital transformation has proven to be of great importance for whether and in what way work-integrated learning activities may influence work practices and production processes (Gjellebæk, et al., 2020). Previous research has identified both new opportunities and new obstacles in regard to managing and organising in the implementation of digital tools within established work practices. For example, formative interventions can be needed to support and accelerate expansive learning among the participants (Engeström, 2020).
This track focuses on dilemmas and opportunities for how WIL knowledge can be developed for management and organisation, to support change in new work processes and learning in the practitioners’ work. There is a need to increase both the theoretical understanding of and provide empirical research on how collaborative strategies for work-integrated learning for sustainable change affect the capacity of the workforce. Furthermore, there is a need for critical perspectives on agency in collaborative processes for work-integrated learning based on ethical issues as well as power relations when sustainable issues are at stake (Nicolini, et al., 2015), since digital transformations are increasingly influencing organisations as well as competences. Hence, this call is dedicated to further develop our knowledge about WIL, from both theoretical and practical perspectives.
The thematic track is chaired by Professor Lars Walter, Associate Professor Maria Spante and Professor Ann Svensson, University West, Sweden.
Billett, S. (2009). Realising the educational worth of integrating work experiences in higher education, Studies in Higher Education, Vol. 34, No. 7, pp. 827-843.
Engeström, Y. (2020), Ascending from the abstract to the concrete as a principle of expansive learning, Psychological Science and Education, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 31-43.
Gherardi, S. (2009). Knowing and learning in practice‐based studies: an introduction. The Learning Organization, Vol. 16, No. 5, pp. 352-359.
Gjellebæk, C., Svensson, A., Fladeby, N., Bjørkquist, C. & Grundén, K. (2020b). Management challenges for the future digitalization of healthcare services, Futures, Vol.124, 102636.
Nicolini, D. (2012). Practice theory, work, and organization: An introduction. OUP Oxford.
Nicolini, D., Scarbrough, H. & Gracheva, J. (2016). Communities of Practice and Situated Learning in Health Care. In: Ferlie, E., Montgomery, K. and Pedersen, A. R. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Health Care Management. (pp. 255-278). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
3. Learning and organizing for digital transformation
In this track, we invite empirical and theoretical papers exploring perspectives on learning and organising for digital transformation. The digital transformation demands new qualities and competencies of professionals, and changes in norms, cultures, as well as organisational support and leadership. It forces organisations and management to provide conditions for competence development and learning, and this will have fundamental implications in all parts of the working life and society in general (Billett, 2014; Vallo Hult et al., 2022).
The interest in the role of digital technologies in the transformation of work and organisations is increasing, as reflected in recent special issues, conference tracks, and calls for research (Baiyere et al., 2021; de Reuver et al., 2018; Jensen, 2018). Digital technology fundamentally changes the way organisations operate — the emergence of the new as well as the transformation of the existing — and is often seen as a disruptive driver of change (Drechsler et al., 2020; Kallinikos et al., 2013; Lyytinen et al., 2016).
Organising and learning for digital transformation involve the understanding of revolutionary and continuous changes in operations that affect both managers and staff (Vallo Hult & Byström, 2021). Billet (2014) reasons specifically about workers who consistently report learning occupational skills in workplaces and/or through the circumstances of work. Zuboff (1988) recognized early on that the informated organisation is a learning institution, and one of its principal purposes is the expansion of knowledge; knowledge that comes to reside at the core of what it means to be productive. Learning is the heart of productive activity and consequently, “learning is the new form of labor” (Zuboff, 1988). In particular, the digital transformation presupposes an increased space for different types of learning that are in line with the strategic work of organising and managing for learning. Shahlaei and Lundh Snis (forthcoming 2022) highlight that substantial and progressive learning is the result of a streamlined and organised approach to build and increase competence at work, step-by-step. In addition, research indicates that work patterns and jobs will become more digital with a focus on sustainability, where issues of responsibility and empowerment are vital. This may affect certain groups more than others, which calls for inclusive and multi-disciplinary approaches.
Hence, digital transformation calls for new logics of organising and learning. In this track we aim to gain knowledge and understanding about social as well as socio-technical aspects of work and organising from a variety of views, such as practitioners’, organisations’, managements’, individuals’ and policymakers’ etc.
The thematic track is chaired by Professor Ulrika Lundh Snis and Assistant Professor Helena Vallo Hult. University West, Sweden
Baiyere, A., Mosconi, E., Wessel, L. & Indulska, M. (2021). Call for Papers - Special Issue: Frontiers in Digital Transformation Research Information Systems Journal. Information Systems Journal.
Billett, S. (2014). Mimetic Learning in and for Work. In Mimetic Learning at Work. (pp. 1-21). Springer.
de Reuver, M., Sørensen, C. & Basole, R. C. (2018). The digital platform: a research agenda, Journal of Information Technology, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 124-135.
Drechsler, K., Gregory, R., Wagner, H.-T. & Tumbas, S. (2020). At the Crossroads between Digital Innovation and Digital Transformation. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 23.
Jensen, T. B. (2018). Digital Transformation of Work. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 27-40.
Kallinikos, J., Aaltonen, A. & Marton, A. (2013). The ambivalent ontology of digital artifacts. MIS quarterly, Vol 37, No 2, pp. 357-370.
Lyytinen, K., Yoo, Y. & Boland Jr, R. J. (2016). Digital product innovation within four classes of innovation networks. Information Systems Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 47-75.
Shahlaei, C. Lundh Snis, U. (2021). Conceptualizing Industrial Workplace Learning, Journal of Workplace Learning, Accepted for publication 2022.
Vallo Hult, H. & Byström, K. (2021). Challenges to Learning and Leading the Digital Workplace. Studies in Continuing Education.
Vallo Hult, H., Johansson, L-O., Islind, A. S. & Snis, U. L. (2022). The Intersection Between Information Systems and Workplace Learning: A Systematic Review and Research Agenda, Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS),
Zuboff, S. (1988). In the age of the smart machine: the future of work and power. Basic Books.