University of Leicester
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A Combined Framework for Investigating Communities of Practice and the Function of the Learning Organization: A Case Study of an Industrial Training Unit in the United Arab Emirates

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posted on 2012-04-27, 13:47 authored by Christopher Wade Mangham
Organisational change aimed at increasing individual, group and organisational learning has been widely discussed over the last two decades in bodies of literature surrounding Communities of Practice and the Learning Organisation. Both bodies of work are ultimately concerned with ways that learning and practice development is pursued and constructed within organisations and the groups of people working within them. Emphasis in literature on Communities of Practice is placed on groups of individuals developing and maintaining a body of practice focused on specific tasks. Models of Learning Organisations emphasise the processes of organisational capacity to facilitate and access internal learning for overall improvement and development. This thesis argues for the synthesising of these two bodies of work when approaching the diagnosis of an educational institution for its capacity to foster internal Communities of Practice that are supported by, and work for the benefit of, the larger institution in terms of producing, evaluating and implementing new learning and practices. This thesis is an interpretive case study of a technical training institute operated by a national oil company in the United Arab Emirates. It seeks to identify teachers’ perceptions as they indicate the presence or absence of elements of models of both Communities of Practice and Learning Organisations within the Institute. Middle and Senior leadership perceptions of where they believe teachers place themselves in relation to power and decision making capacity further illuminated the landscape drawn by the study. Focus group and individual interviews guided by a q-sort activity wherein placement of 15 statements related to elements of a synthesised framework of the two bodies of literature gathered perceptions to present the case study. Qualitative analysis of group discussions of statement placement based on group negotiation of more and less true of participants’ experiences drew a landscape of group and organisational function.



Busher, Hugh

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



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