Exploring intentional learning practices in mature organizations: A phenomenological case study

by Hallcom, Anne Saber, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 203 pages; 3277691


This dissertation explored intentional learning in mature organizations as a function of the transition from adaptive learning to generative learning practices in a not-for-profit medical association and foundation, and its two affiliate organizations. Qualitative research was conducted as a phenomenological case study and examined the lived experiences of 20 organizational leaders, employees, board members, and stakeholders; data also included documents and researcher observations. The organization's cultural history, contributions from leaders and followers, the relationship between the organization and the community, and actual learning practices were explored. The case study provided insight into the cultural and social aspects of the journey to generative learning practices in a mature organization, and leader perspectives and actions that supported the change in learning practices. Data analysis revealed emergent themes regarding the roles of cultural DNA, purposeful leadership, intention and vision, communication, managed chaos, continual interaction with external stakeholders, and the value of reflection throughout the new learning process. When the themes were synthesized and compared to extant theory, the case study demonstrated that change and new learning in the research organization occurred with an evolving, flexible plan. Purposeful leadership coupled with intention and a simple vision, and effective learning tools, awakened human potential in the organization. The unleashed human potential, amidst a multiminded system, resulted in a pervasive spirit of servant leadership. New learning was legitimized as articulated wisdom and made manifest in co-created unique opportunities with the community. The study also revealed that organizations can benefit from periodic reflection throughout the learning journey to acknowledge cultural changes and appreciate progress made; these steps support ongoing momentum and development, as well as sustainability of new learning.

AdviserToni B. Greif
Source TypeDissertation
Publication Number3277691

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