Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.583874
Title: Organisational change and the process of knowing : the role of communities of practice within the context of a merger in the UK brewing sector
Author: Kakavelakis, Konstantinos
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2006
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Abstract:
This dissertation presents the findings from a study focusing on the emergence of communities of practice in the context of organisational change. In doing so, it tries to examine how informal learning might be influenced by change - which in several cases implies alterations in practice/work - and it explores the possibilities for organisations to "manage" communities of practice to improve performance. Research took place in a merging organisation in the UK brewing sector. The author gained access in two settings: the finance department of the organisation's Northern Irish subsidiary based in Belfast and the telesales department of the Scottish subsidiary based in Glasgow. Overall, 60 semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants from both settings while the author also had the opportunity to employ non-participant observation and document analysis, The study examines the way in which informal learning and knowledge sharing unfolded in the two settings, following the merger, while also exploring the outcomes of those processes through a perspective that favours "knowing" as part of action. The findings show that in Belfast, where the nature of change resembled past experiences and the historically constituted workplace context favoured similar efforts, knowledge sharing was characterised by a relative lack of conflict. In contrast, change in Glasgow was seen as more radical in its nature as it affected key elements of the work/practice of the telesales employees and it was linked to further changes in the sectoral context in which the organisation operated. Consequently, knowledge sharing lacked coherence and it was influenced by workplace politics and the existence of divergent understandings of what successful practice was in the setting. Accordingly, the challenges for those responsible for operationalising change were different in the two settings. The findings also reveal that the nature of work/practice within the two settings differentiated the outcomes of the process of informal knowledge sharing and application as well. Therefore, in Belfast informal collaboration among the local practitioners led to a standardisation of working procedures. In contrast, given the important role that the telesales department had in realising the new company's strategy, knowledge sharing in Glasgow led to an improvisation in working procedures, something that allowed local practitioners to remain innovative in the course of their jobs. The study concludes that a better understanding of the ways in which learning and knowledge sharing develop in communities of practice can be achieved by locating those processes in their meaningful contexts, paying attention at the same time to the role of power differences. This task, in combination with an adoption of a dynamic view of knowledge, can also help us explore more critically the implications that those informal processes of learning have for managerial action.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.583874  DOI: Not available
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