|Title||An integrative meta theory for organisational learning and sustainability in turbulent times|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Journal||The Learning Organization|
|Keywords||learning organizations, organizational learning, sustainable development|
Proposes a meta-theoretical approach to organizational learning for sustainability issues.
There is increasing pressure for organisational accountability and performance measurement, not only to their immediate shareholders but in terms of their broader environmental and social responsibility. From a research and theory building perspective, this requires an alternative view of organisations and organisational activity in ways that reflect the multiplicity of views in a wider social context. This article argues that meta-theory approaches are a way to incorporate these multiple perspectives. This approach presents an alternative to conventional economic and organisational theories, which tend to limit understanding to “unit-level” thinking. Locating theoretical positions in a broader framework encourages greater critical questioning of theories and provides a sound conceptual platform from which to engage with transformative processes in dynamic and uncertain environments.
By drawing multiple theories under the umbrella of a meta-theory, opportunities for learning can be enhanced where single theory approaches can lead to fragmentation and even parochial positioning. Similarly, by combining a number of conceptual lenses, meta-theory can create an orienting perspective where single theory may tend to become isolated. Adaptive learning is essentially a meta-theory approach. It attempts to draw together multiple theories of learning and various conceptual lenses to provide an orienting framework that embodies a multiplicity of perspectives.