Project-based learning and the role of learning boundaries

Scarbrough, H, Swan, J, Laurent, S, Bresnen, L, Edelman, L and Newell, Sue (2004) Project-based learning and the role of learning boundaries. Organization Studies, 25 (9). pp. 1579-1600. ISSN 0170-8406

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Abstract

This paper seeks to analyse the extent to which organizations can learn from projects by focusing on the relationship between projects and their organizational context. The paper highlights three dimensions of project-based learning: the practice-based nature of learning, project autonomy and knowledge integration. This analysis generates a number of propositions on the relationship between the learning generated within projects and its transfer to other parts of the organization. In particular, the paper highlights the ‘learning boundaries’ which emerge when learning within projects creates new divisions in practice. These propositions are explored through a comparative analysis of two case studies of construction projects. This analysis suggests that the learning boundaries which develop around projects reflect the nested nature of learning, whereby different levels of learning may substitute for each other. Learning outcomes in the cases can thus be analysed in terms of the interplay between organizational learning and project-level learning. The paper concludes that learning boundaries are an important constraint on attempts to exploit the benefits of projectbased learning for the wider organization.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2014 15:42
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2014 15:42
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51663
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