Consilio Manuque: The Learning Organization Paradigm and the Problem of Unity.

Graham Symon


This paper draws on literature in the fields of organizational studies, industrial relations, and industrial sociology to attempt to address 'new paradigm' managerial initiatives that espouse sentiments of unitarism in their discourse from a UK perspective. The specific focus of this theoretical investigation is the output of the proponents of the 'Learning Organization'. It is argued that in such organizations, employers attempt to control and induce behavioural change in employees through the use of reorganization and instrumental discourse. Managerial commentators and theorists have written much about what the implementing agents' expectations are of the outcomes of such organizational initiatives. Among these expectations is that the new initiative will bring about a radical change in attitudes in the workplace and that unitarism will prevail. However, an as yet underdeveloped area of study is what happens when the subjects (i.e. employees) receive the initiative, the potential for counter-ideology and resistance to the initiative, and the forms resistance may take. It is these latter two issues that this paper concentrates on. Ultimately, the paper seeks to present a conceptual investigation of pluralism within, and the nature and implications of resistance in, the Learning Organization. An allusion to Beaumarchais' `Figaro' is used to illustrate the arguments.


organizational behavior; management; industrial organization; labor- management committees; sociology; developing countries; social sciences

Full Text: