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Learning in and from projects: the learning modes and a learning capability model

Eltigani, Adil; Gardiner, Paul; Kirkham, Richard; Williams, Terry; Ou, Lixiong; Calabrese, Antonio


Adil Eltigani

Paul Gardiner

Richard Kirkham

Lixiong Ou

Antonio Calabrese


© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The notion of ‘project delivery’ is well embedded in and across the management and organizational sciences literature–generating a narrative that reflects and recognizes the instrumental nature of projects and programmes in strategy execution. Project management, as a distinct and well-established body of research enquiry, has increasingly sought to focus our attention on the impacts of complexity, risk and uncertainty in projects; the corollary being a desideratum to strengthen our theoretical understanding of how insight and learning from projects may influence improvements to organizational efficiency. The wider literature suggests that organizational learning remains a challenging proposition, particularly in the context of organizations operating in environments of high complexity. In this paper, we enhance the conversation on organizational learning through a series of case studies, generating evidence of thirteen ‘learning modes’. The paper proposes that mature organizations tend to exhibit a greater number of learning modes and that there is a tendency to capture and socialize knowledge with a greater emphasis on the context of the learning situation rather than the learning artefact in isolation. The empirical evidence gathered in this paper forms the basis of a capability model, characterized by the thirteen modes of learning. The model intimates that learning occurs, and is more effective, when knowledge and information are enacted in practice through the learning modes which form a nucleus of the organizational learning capability. The research concludes with a 'call to action' that emphasizes the strategic importance of learning practices and routines in project oriented-organizations.


Gardiner, P., Kirkham, R., Eltigani, A., Paul, G., Richard, K., Williams, T., …Calabrese, A. (2020). Learning in and from projects: the learning modes and a learning capability model. Production planning & control, 31(10), 786-798.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 4, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 22, 2019
Publication Date Jul 26, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 5, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2020
Journal Production Planning and Control
Print ISSN 0953-7287
Electronic ISSN 1366-5871
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 10
Pages 786-798
Keywords Learning; Knowledge management; Learning capability; Modes of learning; Dynamic capabilities; Structuration; Practice
Public URL
Publisher URL


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