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Knowledge Work and Organisational Learning


  • Elkjær, Bente

    (Department of Informatics, Copenhagen Business School)


In this paper it is argued that the terms, knowledge work, knowledge workers, and knowledge intensive firms point to emerging social structures and processes in organisations. This focus allows us to analyse organisations in ways that differ from the notions involving less dynamic forms of organisational configurations. It is further argued that the emphasis on knowledge in organisations raises a fundamental question of learning, i. e. how knowledge workers acquire relevant competencies. However, the answer to this depends on how organisational life and work are understood and conceptualised. Three foci are suggested, organisations viewed through their use of technology, the division of labour, and the social interactions in organisations. These three foci relate to different understandings of learning, namely learning as cognition, as situated, and as the reconstruction of experiences. To illustrate both the emphasis on knowledge and the different perspectives on learning, a case study will be presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Elkjær, Bente, 2000. "Knowledge Work and Organisational Learning," Working Papers 2000-1, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Informatics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:cbsinf:2000_001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wanda Orlikowski, 1995. "Evolving with Notes: Organizational Change around Groupware Technology," Working Paper Series 186, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
    2. Orlikowski, Wanda J. (Wanda Janina), 1995. "Evolving with Notes : organizational change around groupware technology," Working papers 3823-95. CCSTR ; #186., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    More about this item


    knowledge work; organizations; social structures; learning; competence;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General


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