Working Life Learning: Learning-in-Practise

  • Elena P. Antonacopoulou


If learning is an integral part of living; if working life demands learning as a condition of survival; if learning is an essential human condition, why is it that we have such difficulty engaging with the phenomenon? The intimate relationship between learning, working and living is one that does not easily lend itself to analysis, partly because it is embedded in the dynamics of our human engagement with the challenges of living and working. Learning is both a process and product, a cause, a consequence and context in which emerging life and work patterns co-evolve and in turn organize learning. Therefore, learning is immensely rich and no one perspective is sufficient to capture fully the multiple connections and possibilities that it creates and from which it emerges. Yet, if we seek to move the learning debate forward we must learn to work with and live with the complexity of learning in ways that we can usefully engage and employ it as a driving force, helping us address many of the challenges working and living present us with. Only then can learning become a central feature to our life’s journey. Only then can working be lived as a learning journey too.


Organizational Learn Work Organization Complex Adaptive System Management Learn Strategic Management Journal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adler, P. S., Goldoftas, B., & Levine, D. I. (1997). Flexibility versus efficiency? A case study of model changeovers in the Toyota production system. Organization Science, 10(1), 43–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alderfer, C. P., & Brown L. D. (1975). Learning from Changing: Organisational Diagnosis and Development. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Antonacopoulou, E. P. (1998). Developing Learning Managers within Learning Organizations. In M. Easterby-Smith, L. Araujo and J. Burgoyne (eds), Organizational Learning and the Learning Organization: Developments in Theory and Practice (pp. 214–42). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Antonacopoulou, E. P. (1999). Individuals’ Responses to Change: The Relationship between Learning and Knowledge. Creativity and Innovation Management, 8(2), 130–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Antonacopoulou, E. P. (2000a). Reconnecting Education, Training and Development through Learning: A Holographic Perspective, Special Issue on ‘Vocational Education and Training in SMEs’. Education + Training, 42(4/5), 255–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Antonacopoulou, E. P. (2000b). Employee Development Through Self-development in Three Retail Banks, Special Issue on ‘New Employee Development: Successful Innovations or Token Gestures?’ Personnel Review, 29(4), 491–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Antonacopoulou, E. P. (2001). The paradoxical nature of the relationship between training and learning. Journal of Management Studies, 38(3), 327–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Antonacopoulou, E. P. (2002). Learning as Space: Implications for Organisational Learning, Manchester Business School Research Paper series, No. 443.Google Scholar
  9. Antonacopoulou, E. P. (2004a). The Dynamics of Reflexive Practice: The Relationship between Learning and Changing. In M. Reynolds and R. Vince (eds), Organizing Reflection (pp. 47–64). London: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  10. Antonacopoulou, E. P. (2004b). The Virtues of Practising Scholarship: A Tribute to Chris Argyris a ‘Timeless Learner’. Special Issue ‘From Chris Argyris and Beyond in Organizational Learning Research’. Management Learning, 35(4), 381–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Antonacopoulou, E. P., & Bento, R. (2003). Methods of ‘Learning Leadership’: Taught and Experiential. In J. Storey (ed.), Current Issues in Leadership and Management Development (pp. 81–102). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  12. Antonacopoulou, E. P, Graça, M., Ferdinand, J., & Easterby-Smith, M. (2004). Dynamic Capabilities and Organizational Learning: Socio-Political Tensions in Organizational Renewal, paper presented at the Annual International Conference of the British Academy of Management, St Andrews, Scotland, September.Google Scholar
  13. Antonacopoulou, E. P., & Chiva, R. (2005). Social Complex Evolving Systems: Implications for Organizational Learning, Paper presented at the 6th International Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Capabilities Conference, Boston.Google Scholar
  14. Antonacopoulou, E. P., & Méric, J. (2005). From Power to Knowledge Relationships: Stakeholder Interactions as Learning Partnerships. In M. Bonnafous-Boucher & Y. Pesqueux (eds), Stakeholders and Corporate Social Responsibility — European Perspectives. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  15. Argyris, C. (1982). Reasoning, Learning and Action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  16. Argyris, C. (1993). On Organisational Learning. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  17. Argyris C. (2004a). Reasons and Rationalizations: The Limits to Organizational Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Argyris, C. (2004b). Reflecting and Beyond in Research on Organizational Learning, Special Issue ‘From Chris Argyris and Beyond in Organizational Learning Research’. Management Learning, 35(4), pp. 507–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Argyris, C., & Schön, D. A. (1978). Organisational Learning: A Theory in Action Perspective. Cambridge, MA: Addisson-Wesley.Google Scholar
  20. Ausubel, D. (1985). Learning as Constructing Meanings. In N. Entwistle (ed.), New Directions in Educational Psychology 1: Learning and Teaching. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  21. Axelrod, R., & Cohen, M. D. (1999). Harnessing complexity. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  22. Barley, S. R., & Kunda, G. (2001). Bringing work back in. Organization Science, 12(1), 76–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Bass, B. M., & Vaughan, J. A. (1969). Training in Industry: The management of learning (2nd edn) London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  24. Bechky, B. (2003). Sharing meaning across occupational communities: The transformation of understanding on a production floor. Organization Science, 14(3), 312–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Beer, S. (1972). Brain of the Firm. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  26. Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  27. Bettis, R. A., & Prahalad, C. K. (1995). The dominant logic: Retrospective and extension. Strategic Management Journal, 16, 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Bourdieu, P. (1980). The Logic of Practice. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Brown, S. L., & Eisenhardt, K. M. (1997). The art of continuous change: Linking complexity theory and time-paced evolution in relentlessly shifting organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42, 1–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Cantor, J. A. (1961). Delivering instruction to adult learners. Toronto: Wall & Emerson.Google Scholar
  31. Cheng, Y. T., & Van de Ven, A. H. (1996). Learning the innovation journey: Order out of chaos? Organization Science, 7(6), 593–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Chia, R., & King, I. (1998). The organizational structuring of novelty. Organization, 5(4), 461–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Chiva, R. (2003). The Facilitating Factors for Organizational Learning: Bringing Ideas from Complex Adaptive Systems. Knowledge and Process Management, 10(2), 99–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Chiva, R. (2004). Repercussions of complex adaptive systems on product design management. Technovation, 24, 707–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Clark, N. (1991). Managing personal learning and change: A trainers guide. London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  36. Cook, S. D. N., & Yanow, D. (1993). Culture and Organisational Learning. Journal of Management Inquiry, December, 2(4), 373–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Cooper, R., & Law, J. (1995). Organization: distal and proximal views. In S. Bacharach, P. Gagliardi & B. Mundell (eds), Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 13 (pp. 237–74) Hampton Hill: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  38. Coopey, J. (1995). The learning organisation: power, politics and ideology. Management Learning, 26(2), 193–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Crow, L. A., & Crow, A. (1963). Readings in Human Learning. New York: McKay.Google Scholar
  40. Cunningham, I. (1994). The wisdom of strategic learning: The self-managed learning solution. London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  41. Dixon, N. (1994). The organisational learning cycle: How can we learn collectively. London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  42. Dooley, K. J., Corman, S. R., McPhee, R. D., & Kuhn, T. (2003). Modeling high resolution broadband discourse in complex adaptive systems. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, 7(1), 61–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Easterby-Smith, M. (1997). Disciplines of organizational learning: Contributions and critiques. Human Relations, 50(9), 1085–1113.Google Scholar
  44. Easterby-Smith, M., Antonacopoulou, E. P., Lyles, M., & Simms, D. (2004). Constructing Contributions to Organizational Learning: Argyris and the New Generation, Special Issue ‘From Chris Argyris and Beyond in Organizational Learning Research’. Management Learning, 35(4), 371–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Elkjaer, B. (1999). In search of a social learning theory. In M. Easterby-Smith, J. Burgoyne & L. Araujo (eds), Organizational Learning and the Learning Organization (pp. 75–91). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  46. Elkjaer, B. (2004). Organizational Learning: The Third Way, Special Issue ‘From Chris Argyris and Beyond in Organizational Learning Research’ Management Learning, 35(4), pp. 419–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Elkjaer, B., & Wahlgreen, B. (2005). Organizational Learning and Workplace Learning: Similarities and Differences. In E. P. Antonacopoulou, P. Jarvis, V. Andersen, B. Elkjaer & S. Hoyrup (eds), Learning, Working and Living: Mapping the Terrain of Working Life Learning. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  48. Elmholdt, C. (2005). Innovative Learning is not Enough. In E. P. Antonacopoulou, P. Jarvis, V. Andersen, B. Elkjaer & S. Hoyrup (eds), Learning, Working and Living: Mapping the Terrain of Working Life Learning. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  49. Engeström, Y., Miettinen, R., & Punamäki, R.-L. (1999). Perspectives on Activity Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Feldman, M. S. (2000). Organizational routines as a source of continuous change. Organization Science, 11(6), 611–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Feldman, M. S. (2004). Resources in emerging structures and processes of change. Organization Science, 15(3), 295–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Feldman, M. S., & Pentland, B. T. (2003). Reconceptualizing organizational routines as a source of flexibility and change. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(March), 94–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Feldman, M. S., & Rafaeli, A. (2002). Organizational routines as sources of connection and understanding. Journal of Management Studies, 39(3), 309–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Fenwick, T. (2003). Reclaiming and re-embodying experiential learning through complexity science. Studies in the Education of Adults, 35(2), 123–41.Google Scholar
  55. Finger, M., & Buergin, S. (1998). The concept of the ‘Learning Organisation’ applied to the transformation of the Public Sector: Conceptual contributions for theory development. In M. Easterby-Smith, L. Araujo & J. Burgoyne (eds), Organisational Learning: Developments in Theory and Practice. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  56. Fiol, C.M., & Lyles, M. A. (1985). Organisational learning. Academy of Management Review, 10(4), 803–13.Google Scholar
  57. Ford J., & Ford L. W. (1994). Logics of Identity, contradiction, and attraction in change. Academy of Management Review, 19(4), 756–85.Google Scholar
  58. Friedlander, F. (1984). Patterns of individual and organisational learning. In P. Shrivastava (ed.), The Executive Mind. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  59. Garvin, D. A. (1993). Building a Learning Organization. Harvard Business Review, July-August, 71(4), 78–91.Google Scholar
  60. Gell-Mann, M. (1994). The Quark and the Jaguar. Adventures in the simple and the complex. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  61. Gherardi, S. (1999). Learning as Problem-driven or Learning in the Face of Mystery? Organization Studies, 20(1), 101–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Gherardi, S. (2000). Practice-based theorizing on learning and knowing in organizations. Organization, 7(2), 211–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Gherardi, S., & Nicolini, D. (2002). Learning in a constellation of interconnected practices: Canon or dissonance? Journal of Management Studies, 39(4), 419–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Giddens, A. (1984). The Constitution of Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Goodwin, B. (1994). How the leopard changed its spots: the evolution of complexity. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.Google Scholar
  66. Handy, C. (1989). The age of unreason. London: Arrow.Google Scholar
  67. Hannan, M. T., & Freeman J. (1984). Structural inertia and organizational change. American Sociological Review, 49(April), 149–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Harris, T. L., & Schwahn, W. E. (1961). Selected readings on the learning process. New York: University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Heywood, J. (1989). Learning adaptability and change: The challenge for education and industry. London: Paul Chapman.Google Scholar
  70. Hilgard, E. R. & Bower, G. H. (1975) Theories of Learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  71. Huber, G. (1991). Organisational Learning: The contributing processes and literature. Organisation Science, 2(1), 88–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Ichazo, O. (1976). The Human Process for Enlightenment and Freedom. New York: Arica Institute Press.Google Scholar
  73. Johnson, G., Melin, L., & Whittington, R. (2003). Guest editor’s introduction: Micro strategy and strategizing: Towards an activity-based view. Journal of Management Studies, 40(1), 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Kauffman, S. A. (1995). At home in the Universe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  75. King, D. (1964). Training within the organisation. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  76. Klatt, L. A., Murdick, R. G., & Schuster, F. E. (1985). Human Resource Management. Columbus, OH: Merrill.Google Scholar
  77. Knowles, M. S. (1973). The adult learner: A neglected species. Houston: Gulf Publishing.Google Scholar
  78. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experimental Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  79. Langley A. (1999). Strategies for Theorizing from Process Data. Academy of Management Review, 24, 691–710.Google Scholar
  80. Laursen, E. (2005). Knowledge, Progression and the Understanding of Workplace Learning. In E. P. Antonacopoulou, P. Jarvis, V. Andersen, B. Elkjaer & S. Hoyrup (eds), Learning, Working and Living: Mapping the Terrain of Working Life Learning. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  81. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Law, J. (1999). After ANT: complexity, naming and topology. In J. Law & J. Hassard (eds), Actor Network Theory and After (pp. 1–14). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  83. Lawrence, T. B., Mauws, M. K., Dyck, B., & Kleysen, R. F. (2005). The politics of organizational learning: integrating power into the 4I framework. Academy of Management Review, 30(1), 180–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Lessem, R. (1993). Business as a learning community. London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  85. Lewis, M. W., & Grimes A. J. (1999). Meta-triangulation: Building Theory from Multiple Paradigms. Academy of Management Review, 24, 672–90.Google Scholar
  86. Marsick, V. J., & O’Neil, J. (1999). The Many Faces of Action Learning. Management Learning, 30(2), 159–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. McLagan, P. A. (1978). Helping others learn: Designing programmes for adults. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  88. Miettinen, R., & Virkkunen, J. (2005). Learning in and for Work, and the Joined Construction of Mediational Artefacts: An Activity Theoretical View. In E. P. Antonacopoulou, P. Jarvis, V. Andersen, B. Elkjaer & S. Hoyrup (eds), Learning, Working and Living: Mapping the Terrain of Working Life Learning. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  89. Mitleton-Kelly, E. (2003). Complex systems and evolutionary perspectives on organizations: the application of complexity theory to organizations. London: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  90. Nelson, R. R., & Winter, S. G. (1982). An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change. Cambridge, MA: Belknap.Google Scholar
  91. Nevis, E. C., DiBella, A. J., & Gould, J. M. (1995). Understanding Organisations as Learning Systems. Sloan Management Review, 36 Winter, 73–85.Google Scholar
  92. Nicolini, D., Gherardi, S., & Yanow, D. (2003). Introduction: towards a practice-based view of knowing and learning in organizations. In D. Nicolini, S. Gherardi & D. Yanow (eds), Knowing in Organizations: A Practice-Based Approach (pp. 3–31). London: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  93. Ofori-Dankwa J., & Julian S. D. (2001). Complexifying Organizational Theory: Illustrations using time research. Academy of Management Review, 26, 415–30.Google Scholar
  94. Orlikowski, W. (1996). Improving organizational transformation over time: a situated change perspective. Information Systems Research, 7, 63–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Pavlov, I. P. (1927). Conditional Reflexes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  96. Pentland, B. T., & Rueter, H. H. (1994). Organizational routines as grammars of action. Administrative Science Quarterly, 39(3), 484–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Pettigrew, A. M. (1989). Longitudinal Methods to Study Change: Theory and Practice. In R. Mansfield (ed.), Frontiers of Management Research and Practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  98. Revans, R. W. (1982). The Origins and Growths of Action Learning. Lund: Chartwell-Bratt.Google Scholar
  99. Rogers, C. R. (1969). Freedom to Learn. Columbus, OH: Merrill.Google Scholar
  100. Ross Ashby, W. (1958). Requisite variety and its implications for the control of complex systems. Cybernetica, 1(2), 83–99.Google Scholar
  101. Scandura T. A., & Williams E. A. (2000). Research Methodology in Management: Current Practices, Trends and Implications for Future Research. Academy of Management Journal, 43, 1248–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Schatzki, T. R., Knorr Cetina, K., & Von Savigny, E. (2001). The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  103. Selznick, P. (1957). Leadership in Administration. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  104. Senge, P. M. (1990). The leaders’ new work: Building learning organisations. Sloan Management Review, Fall, 7–23.Google Scholar
  105. Sherman, H., & Schultz, R. (1998). Open Boundaries. New York: Perseus Books.Google Scholar
  106. Shrivastava, P. (1983). A typology of organisational learning systems. Journal of Management Studies, 20(1), 7–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Simon, H. A. (1996). The sciences of the artificial. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  108. Skinner, B. F. (1971). Beyond Freedom and Dignity. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  109. Soja, E. W. (1997). Thirdspace, Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-And-Imagined Places. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  110. Srivastva, S., Bilimoria, D., Cooperrider, D. C., & Fry, R. E. (1995). Management and Organisational Learning for Positive Global Change. Management Learning, 26(1), 37–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Stacey, R. D. (1993). Strategy as order emerging from chaos. Long Range Planning, 26(1), 10–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. Stacey, R. D. (1995). The science of complexity: an alternative perspective for strategic change processes. Strategic Management Journal, 16, 477–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Stacey, R. D. (1996). Complexity and Creativity in Organizations. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  114. Tsoukas, H. (1998). Introduction: chaos, complexity and organization theory. Organization, 5(3), 291–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Tsoukas, H., & Chia, R. (2002). On organizational becoming: rethinking organizational change. Organization Science, 13(5), 567–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  116. Turner, S. (1994). The Social Theory of Practices: Tradition, Tacit Knowledge and Presuppositions. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  117. Ulrich, D., Jick, T., & von Glinow, M. A. (1993). High Impact Learning: Building and diffusing learning capability. Organizational Dynamics, 22(2), Autumn, 52–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  118. Wärvik, G., & Thång, P. (2005). Conditions for Learning during a Period of Change. Dilemmas and Disturbances on the Production Floor. In E. P. Antonacopoulou, P. Jarvis, V. Andersen, B. Elkjaer, & S. Høyrup (eds), Learning, Working and Living: Mapping the Terrain of Working Life Learning. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  119. Whittington, R. E. (2003). The work of strategizing and organizing: For a practice perspective. Strategic Organization, 1(1), 117–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  120. Zollo, M., & Winter, S. G. (2002). Deliberate learning and the evolution of dynamic capabilities. Organization Science, 13(3), 339–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Elena P. Antonacopoulou 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena P. Antonacopoulou

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations