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The 23rd EGOS Colloquium 2007  

General Theme


Postdoctoral pre-colloquium workshop

PhD pre-colloquium workshop

Roland Calori Prize

EGOS Best Paper Award
EGOS Best Student Paper Award

Colloquium program

Sub-theme programs

Panel discussions


Organizational details

Registration and hotel reservation


City maps



Sub-theme 20:
Impact of organization on organizational learning and knowledge management



Rudi Rozman, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Francesco Sofo, University of Canberra (Australia)

Gerald Zeitz, Temple University/Philadelphia (USA)

Miran Mihelcic, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Call for papers

One can argue that our society’s most critical activity for survival and prosperity is the continual learning of its people and the steady development of its organizations to become learning organizations. The knowledge of a formal social unit, e. g. an enterprise is seen of utmost importance. Existing knowledge must be used and developed wisely through knowledge management systems.

Organizational learning is a social process because it occurs between people. The knowledge of a social unit is the knowledge which exists within its members both as individuals and as groups. Is the knowledge of a social unit equal to the sum of the knowledge of individuals? Let us ask a similar question: why are the expected results of a social unit more than the sum of mere efforts of its members. The answer is obvious: it is due to the organization. The idea of organization as a structure of dynamic interpersonal relationships can lead us - by analogy – to the conclusion that the knowledge of a social unit heavily depends not only on its members but even more on relationships between them. Similarly, we can talk about individual and structural (within organization and between organizations) social capital. Organization can make the social unit's knowledge more than mere sum of individuals' knowledge.

In the past the importance of learning and knowledge was not as much emphasized as it is today. The work however was mainly physical and knowledge tended to be limited to managers and specialists. The way of learning was mainly through repetition and experience and the main purpose of the learning process was gains in efficiency or lower costs. The experience or learning curves show and measure the size and speed of learning. The hierarchical organizational structure was quite suitable for this kind of learning.

Through over-all development the adaptation, creativity and innovation processes connected to the increased level and size of knowledge change the scene. Most of the employees today are knowledge workers. The key purpose of learning has become creation and innovation. Efficiency is not achieved through repetition but through imagination and originality. The learning process is still the learning by employees, but it becomes the learning of tightly connected individuals within teams. New approaches of measuring knowledge and learning process have to be established.

The organizational learning process can be seen as a »business« process resulting in outcome: knowledge. The knowledge management process is a process which through planning, organizing, staffing and leading, and controlling assures an effective way of learning - increasing the desired knowledge of a social unit. Within the planning process, learning processes, level, structure and dynamics of knowledge are analyzed. Required knowledge is planned and strategies and tactics of how to achieve it are proposed. Within the organizing the requirements and tactics for individual employees are planned. Through HRM and leadership employees are motivated to learn and increase their knowledge considering their abilities and requirements of the enterprise. Controlling the actual learning process and knowledge gives the impetus for continual learning and knowledge management.

The organization (dynamic relationships: structures, culture, processes) very much impacts the obtaining and use of knowledge, learning process and knowledge management. However, through increased knowledge also the organization is changing. The influence is both-sided: organization influences learning and learning and knowledge management influence organization. Continually learning employees and - above all – their relationships (organization) contribute to the efficiency and success of the organizational learning process. Knowledge management process assures that the learning process and its result – knowledge will be conducted, used and developed in a rational way.

We invite papers that focus on the impacts of organization (as a system of dynamic relationships) on organizational learning and knowledge management process. Such an understanding of organization leads us to the learning by connectivity as in the case of learning a waltz or other "formal" dances. Two (or more) persons adapt each other in the relationship, which changes all the time to assure a satisfaction of connected dancers and beauty of the dance. However, within the process there are conflicts and there is coordination. How can or should a social unit (its connected members) learn better and faster due to the beneficent relationships between its members? How can we manage the learning process of organizational players to assure the required knowledge of the social unit?

Following are some questions and issues that fall within this sub-theme:

  • Does a social unit ("organization") learn or are there only employees who can learn? What makes the difference between individual and organizational learning?

  • Why is the knowledge of a social unit more than the sum of knowledge of »isolated« employees? What influences this »surplus« of knowledge?

  • What kind of relationships (structure, culture, processes) will support what kind of learning and of knowledge management? Are the changes of organization connected to the learning processes and knowledge management?

  • What are the main characteristics of individuals' learning process within team organization? What is the meaning of learning by connectivity?

  • How do organizations as social units learn from each other? How does learning within networks look like?

  • How do we measure the knowledge aimed at creativity and innovation? Are the indicators of learning processes and knowledge management connected with the development of strategies from costs to differentiation strategies?

  • What is the relationship between knowledge management and organizational learning?

  • How do detailed managerial phases or processes in knowledge management look like? How are they connected to overall business management?

  • How does knowledge management and organizational learning influence relationships?

  • How do leadership styles and capabilities impact organizational effectiveness?

About the convenors

Rudi Rozman, Professor in Management and Organization. Research interests: Theory of Organization, Corporate Governance, Organizational Design

Francesco Sofo, Associate Professor of HRD. Research interests: Human Resource Development, Organizational learning, Human Resource Management

Gerald Zeitz, Associate Professor. Research interests: Organizational Theory, Organization Institutionalization, High Performance Organizations

Miran Mihelcic, Professor in Business Economics and Organization. Research interests: Theory of Organization, Business Analysis, Organizational Analysis and Design