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Department of informatics, Copenhagen Business School Working Paper Series, Department of informatics, Copenhagen Business School

No 2000-1:
Knowledge Work and Organisational Learning

Bente Elkjśr

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: knowledge work; organizations; social structures; learning; competence; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D21; D23; L20; M10; (follow links to similar papers)

20 pages, May 23, 2000

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