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Lärande organisationer i teori och praktik: Apoteket lär
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2004 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Learning Organizations in Theory and Practice : Apoteket Learns (English)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is partly to increase the understanding of the phenomena learning organization, and partly to analyze how a large organization works to realize its intentions about developing as a learning organization.

The study consists of three parts. Part I is a discussing literature review, which points out the origins of creating the concept learning organization as the later part of the 1980s. A computer- based search shows that researchers have had an interest in the phenomena during the entire 1990s, and that the interest has not declined during the first years of the 21st century. Different disciplines discuss and define learning organizations from different perspectives and there is no uniform definition. This also applies to the Swedish concept of learning, a concept that is formu¬lated as a problem in the thesis. The academic literature within the area of learning organizations is primarily normative. A problem is also that only about 10 percent of the research is based on new empirical studies performed by the researchers themselves.

Part II of the paper is a study of a large organization, the Swedish pharmacy chain Apoteket AB, with 12,800 employees, which in its business plan states that they want to develop a learning organization. The study analyzes events over a period of five years and consists of recurring interviews with the company's MD and with those responsible for competence development, interviews with the most senior managers in the company as well as interviews with a selection of district managers. In total, 35 interviews have been conducted. Several internal documents have been analyzed, among other things, to give information about how the employees view compe¬tence development. The MD defines learning organization as learning to act proactively for the purpose of generating change so that the organization better meets a changing world's demands and the value shifts shown by 21st century people in Sweden. The pharmacy Apoteket's change work can be regarded as radical.

The last part of the study contains reflections and conclusions. Speaking in terms of learning organization is one of several attempts to distance oneself from the Taylorism, which has pre¬vailed in companies since the beginning of the 1900s, and has sometimes attained a position that replaces Taylorism's concept of planning. However, the learning organization has also become a bit unclear and wide, for example, such as the word democracy. Therefore, a summary conclusion is that the development of the Swedish concept learning and the concept combination learning organization need to be studied over a longer period, since use of the concepts often lead to developing discussions and questioning of organizations .

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2004. , 218 p.
Uppsala Studies in Education, ISSN 0347-1314 ; 105
Keyword [en]
Social sciences, organizational learning, learning organization, change, organization, lifelong learning, work place learning, leadership, management, pharmacy
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-4318ISBN: 91-554-5911-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-4318DiVA: diva2:164833
Public defence
2004-05-26, Sal IX, Uppsala universitet, Uppsala, 14:15
Available from: 2004-05-05 Created: 2004-05-05Bibliographically approved

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