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Discourse for Normalising What? The Learning Organization and the Workplace Trade Union Response

Huzzard, Tony LU (2001) In Economic and Industrial Democracy 22(3). p.407-431
Abstract
Recent critics of organizational learning and its normative offshoot the ‘learning organization’ have posited that conceptualisations of organizations based on knowledge and learning constitute a rhetorical device enabling elites to assert different forms of control through a new ‘normalising discourse’. The paper, whilst welcoming such critique, nevertheless asks whether it is adequate to dismiss the learning organization without proposing an alternative. Moreover, a case is made for serious evaluation of the extent to which learning might contribute to progressive development of the workplace. A comparison of two cases at manufacturing plants in northern Sweden suggests that whilst ‘the learning organization’ may indeed be criticised as... (More)
Recent critics of organizational learning and its normative offshoot the ‘learning organization’ have posited that conceptualisations of organizations based on knowledge and learning constitute a rhetorical device enabling elites to assert different forms of control through a new ‘normalising discourse’. The paper, whilst welcoming such critique, nevertheless asks whether it is adequate to dismiss the learning organization without proposing an alternative. Moreover, a case is made for serious evaluation of the extent to which learning might contribute to progressive development of the workplace. A comparison of two cases at manufacturing plants in northern Sweden suggests that whilst ‘the learning organization’ may indeed be criticised as a ‘normalising discourse’, in practice it does appear to be of some practical benefit to unions in the design of discursive arenas for humanisation of the labour process and promoting payments systems that reward competence development. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
learning organizations, normalising discourse, union strategy, workplace unions, rewards systems
in
Economic and Industrial Democracy
volume
22
issue
3
pages
407 - 431
publisher
SAGE Publications
ISSN
0143-831X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0ec874f7-3e65-494d-ba21-c74c6cf91bb8 (old id 1385215)
date added to LUP
2009-04-20 12:27:16
date last changed
2016-04-16 12:13:17
@article{0ec874f7-3e65-494d-ba21-c74c6cf91bb8,
  abstract     = {Recent critics of organizational learning and its normative offshoot the ‘learning organization’ have posited that conceptualisations of organizations based on knowledge and learning constitute a rhetorical device enabling elites to assert different forms of control through a new ‘normalising discourse’. The paper, whilst welcoming such critique, nevertheless asks whether it is adequate to dismiss the learning organization without proposing an alternative. Moreover, a case is made for serious evaluation of the extent to which learning might contribute to progressive development of the workplace. A comparison of two cases at manufacturing plants in northern Sweden suggests that whilst ‘the learning organization’ may indeed be criticised as a ‘normalising discourse’, in practice it does appear to be of some practical benefit to unions in the design of discursive arenas for humanisation of the labour process and promoting payments systems that reward competence development.},
  author       = {Huzzard, Tony},
  issn         = {0143-831X},
  keyword      = {learning organizations,normalising discourse,union strategy,workplace unions,rewards systems},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {407--431},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {Economic and Industrial Democracy},
  title        = {Discourse for Normalising What? The Learning Organization and the Workplace Trade Union Response},
  volume       = {22},
  year         = {2001},
}