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Organizational Learning from Cross-Cultural Experiences: An Ethnomethodological Case Study Examining the Relative Importance of Social Structure and Cultural Values During Dynamic Interaction Open Access

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This study explored how social structure and cultural values dynamically interact in collective learning between two religious organizations cooperating in a joint project. It further explored the enablers of and impediments to collective learning in this context. The study employed the theoretical framework provided by the Organizational Learning Systems Model proposed by Schwandt and Marquardt (2000). This enthnomethodological case study collected data using participant observation, direct observation of events, video recordings from the site, interviews, and document review. The findings revealed that six learning patterns involving a clash of cultural priorities and of culture-structure interaction impeded collective learning. As a result of these findings, the researcher concluded that (a) the two cultural groups hold the same cultural values, but prioritize them in different ways; (b) each cultural group overemphasizes its prioritized values in a way that polarizes the two value systems; (c) the interaction of cultural values and structure within each group locks it into its own system, thereby impeding learning from the other group; and (d) one group tends to impose its culture-structure interaction on the other when the two groups are interacting.

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