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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4070||2011||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 29, Issue 8, December 2011, Pages 986–993
This paper conceptually examines how and why projects and project teams may be conceived as highly generative episodic individual and team learning places that can serve as vehicles or agents to promote organizational learning. It draws on and dissects a broad and relevant literature concerning situated learning, organizational learning, learning spaces and project management. The arguments presented signal a movement towards a project workplace becoming more organizationally acknowledged and supported as a learning intense entity wherein, learning is a more conspicuous, deliberate and systematic social activity by project participants. This paper challenges conventional and limited organizational perceptions about project teams and their practices and discloses their extended value contributions to organizational learning development.
Extending well beyond the traditional disciplines of engineering and construction, projects and project teams are actively engaged by organizations to achieve a myriad of organizational outcomes particularly where complexity, completion speed, participant involvement and high quality outcomes and processes are desirable e.g. in new product development, organizational change or information technology projects. Concomitant with such diversity of project goals and the increased deployment of projects across organizations and different situational contexts, introspection on and challenges to the conceptual and practical limitations of the traditionally held perspectives on projects emerge. For example, such reflection and challenges are seen in publications revolving around the ontological basis of project management (for example see, Blomquist and Lundin, 2010, Bredillet, 2004 and Winter et al., 2006) and in numerous other publications in the field that argue for or demonstrate a broadening of the research base and practitioner focus onto project relationships with individuals, firms and environments and the sociological and behavioural elements impacting projects (for example see, Leybourne, 2007, Sense and Fernando, 2011, Soderlund, 2004 and Whitty, 2010). While traditionally anchored in and typically characterized by a limiting positivist epistemological frame (i.e. projects are typically characterized as separate (to the ‘normal’ organization), temporal, and task focused on unique objectives), projects and their teams are also intimately, socially and contextually entwined within and often beyond their host organizations and frequently pursue goals (declared or implicit) that go well beyond traditional tangible project measures e.g. personal learning and knowledge development, career advancement, micro-political gains or organizational cultural changes (Sense, 2009b). Not surprisingly, given the restrictive traditional perspectives on projects and even though it is small groups or teams (like project teams) that develop learning cultures which gradually spread around an organization (Austin and Hopkins, 2004), phenomenon such as learning in the project workplace are generally ignored or overlooked as an explicit and highly desirable project attribute. For the purposes of this paper, the project workplace includes the project (i.e. the action venues (both physical and cyberspace) where the multiple stakeholders engage) and the project team. As one might instinctively presume and observe in practice, in pursuit of a range of declared and undeclared objectives, project teams necessarily create and distribute knowledge and also acquire new knowledge from multiple sources (Sense, 2009b). In light of these activities, as Sauer and Reich (2009, p. 189) argue, we should also be “seeing projects as a knowledge process”. Therefore, and in accordance with those views espoused by Smith and Dodds, 1997, Arthur et al., 2001, Morris, 2002 and Sense, 2007, it is reasonable to also presume that projects are actually imbued with significant personal and organizational learning opportunities, wherein, learning and action are closely and contextually entwined (Sense, 2007 and Sense, 2009a). Learning, and in particular, situated learning (alternatively referred to as learning-on-the-job in this paper) is actually a very dominant and practically oriented issue in the processes of projects and underpins the quality of project processes and outcomes, the knowledge and competency development of participants and the opportunity to realize projects as deliberate agents for organizational learning. Indeed, an organizational learning culture requires individuals to have a “willingness to embrace the dynamic challenges to learn while they work and work while they learn” (Burghardt and Tolliver, 2010, p.xi). In the traditional model of projects and project teams, learning-on-the-job has more generally been viewed as simply an amorphous and opportunistic part of the project management process (Sense, 2009a) — despite its potential impact within and beyond projects. Thus, the generative learning-on-the-job potential of project workplaces (and subsequent personal and organizational learning development) is not fully nor systematically acknowledged, exploited or developed. Arguably, an important and seminal contribution towards achieving a deeper understanding and ability to better nurture and stimulate such learning in this context, involves an examination of how one can conceive projects and project teams as creative and generative learning places. Accordingly, the foremost intention of this paper is to do exactly that. This conceptualization also embraces a pluralistic perspective on projects as consisting of action, social, economic, knowledge and emotional processes (Sauer and Reich, 2009). Secondly, this paper also examines how the adoption of such an alternate conception of projects and project teams may help stimulate interest and action in pursuing organizational learning within and through projects. By establishing this foundation, one is better ontologically informed to further investigate or to develop project team learning capacity and capability within these temporal contexts and to positively engage projects as agents for organizational learning. In contrast to traditional project perspectives, the arguments forwarded in this paper are firmly anchored in an epistemology of social constructionism and principally draw on situated learning theory, which reflects the social and practical dimensions of the project learning environment. To advance this discussion further, the following section outlines the theoretical learning frameworks informing the arguments outlined in this paper. The core discussions concerning a view of a project and project team as a generative learning place and the potential organizational and personal learning development implications of that conceptualization in the practice world of projects are articulated in the sections that follow.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Beyond any myopic traditional perspective of projects and their teams as only short-term and task-focused entities, they actually also represent significant and under-utilized worksites for situated learning to flourish, and the organizational learning benefits to be realized through better accessing and harnessing that potential extend well beyond each project episode. As argued for in this paper, a seminal antecedent condition for such organizational learning development to occur and be supported involves a re-consideration of projects and project teams as substantial social learning workplaces. This constitutes an ontological base from which to forthrightly pursue productive, practical, locally relevant, and practitioner-centred approaches towards learning-on-the-job within project workplaces. The conceptualization offered in this paper also supports an argument that any improvements realized in the learning attitudes and skills of participants within specific project episodes, will be accumulated and utilized by them in other operational and project settings — thereby, further contributing to organizational creativity and learning capability development. The arguments presented in this paper would also benefit greatly from future empirical studies so as to illustrate and assess the impacts and issues of adopting this conceptualization in different project contexts. Most importantly, these arguments are not insignificant challenges for practitioners or organizations to consider and effectively confront. For practitioners, it requires a motivation, attitude and application towards learning-on-the-job that may be substantially different to past practices and which likely complicates their project processes or potentially conflicts with their perceived primary goals or operational concerns — despite the additional benefits to be gained. For example, project time pressures do not always facilitate a caring exchange of ideas between participants (Koskinen, 2008) nor even a propensity to seek to be creative or innovative within a project (Sauer and Reich, 2009). For organizations, they are more often than not focused on perceptually more formalized and directly accountable programs of learning development and change in permanent organizational structures to steer organizational learning development. In contrast, social learning approaches are more organic and dispersed than structured and therefore harder to assess, to track and to directly influence. Moreover, temporary organizations like projects perhaps do not present an image of sufficient relative permanency and therefore are considered less legitimate in relation to attracting organizational attention and resources for learning development. However, despite these challenges this perspective should attract further practitioner and organizational attention because projects and their teams represent untapped potential as core agents for organizational learning development.