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

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


Adil Eltigani

Gardiner Paul

Kirkham Richard

Lixiong Ou

Antonio Calabrese


The notion of ‘project delivery’ is well embedded in and across the management and organisational sciences literature – generating a narrative that reflects and recognises 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 organisational efficiency. The wider literature suggests that organisational learning remains a challenging proposition, particularly in the context of organisations operating in environments of high complexity. In this paper, we enhance the conversation on organisational learning through a series of case studies, generating evidence of thirteen ‘learning modes’. The paper proposes that mature organisations tend to exhibit a greater number of learning modes and that there is a tendency to capture and socialise 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, characterised 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 organisational learning capability. The research concludes with a call to action that emphasises the strategic importance to improve learning practices in project oriented-organisations.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Production planning & control
Print ISSN 0953-7287
Electronic ISSN 1366-5871
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Eltigani, A., Paul, G., Richard, K., Terry, W., Ou, L., & Calabrese, A. (in press). Learning in and from projects: The learning modes and a learning capability model. Production planning & control,
Keywords Learning; Knowledge management; Learning capability; Modes of learning; Dynamic capabilities; Structuration; Practice
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