1 Standard Chartered Bank (Thai) Company Limited (THAILAND)
2 Curtin University, Curtin Graduate School of Business (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 1207-1218
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
The paper reports on a Thai study of private sector organizations focused on learning in organizations. It was a constructivist, interpretive, qualitative study (Whiteley 2012) aiming to collect insights from three layers of organization – leaders, managers and general staff. The notion of the learning organization is still controversial. The Thai environment too faces many global challenges, requiring optimal commitment to learning from organizations. Thai global challenges are (1) to promote SME (small and medium enterprises) development and internationalization, (2) to tap and enhance people capabilities and technology advancement to have confidence to compete and (3) to create a space for the young, active and enthusiastic persons to be able to relate to a dynamic environment.
All is not necessarily as it seems and this paper produces a model for looking beneath the surface for both managers and employees. We draw on a construct we have termed ‘received practice’ to illustrate the journey which starts with managerial discourses on learning (espoused theories) and then the enactment of them through critical organizational events (such as policies and support for learning opportunities, particularly creative ones). We propose that an underdeveloped area in learning and development lies within the ‘epistemic lens’ or social space where employees interpret and assess enactments against espoused theories. We express this as agentic power (Moe, 2006; Giddens, 1984). Our data demonstrated skills and capabilities of employees to first interpret symbolic communications and then assess them against the learning communications and opportunities espoused by leaders and managers. We contrasted the three levels, leaders, managers and general staff and we report on enablers and constraints perceived by each group.
In the paper we present three such perspectives and we discuss these in terms of first received practice and management development capabilities needed to assess their own enactments of espoused learning opportunities and constraints and especially dialogically with general staff. In other words it is not enough to espouse organizational learning visions, strategies and practical opportunities. Managers need to enact and assess their alignment with actual opportunities and constraints. The similar thinking behind the received practice model and Argyris’(1964) models are used for explaining espoused and practice perspectives lie in the view of organizations as “cognitive enterprises” (Argyris and Schön 1978). Both models aim to elicit the meaning systems that guide organizational interaction. This interaction is conceived as rational, with apparent common purpose, including control, improved efficiency or survival.
We introduce the study and drawing on data throughout, presenting the model of received practice and opportunities for agentic power. We address the complexity and interplay between perceptions, actions and outcomes. As this study is in the Thai context, we address cultural issues that may not mediate learning strategies in other countries. Finally the paper provides suggestions and implications for following through on a learning vision, strategy and plans for installing a learning culture. This small study paves the way for industry focused studies and also exploration in other environments as to the model of received practice.
People development, learning.