Expansive learning in a self-managed organization : an example of a software company from the healthcare sector
Ekl, Kryštof (2023-06-15)
© 2023 Kryštof Ekl. Ellei toisin mainita, uudelleenkäyttö on sallittu Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) -lisenssillä (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Uudelleenkäyttö on sallittua edellyttäen, että lähde mainitaan asianmukaisesti ja mahdolliset muutokset merkitään. Sellaisten osien käyttö tai jäljentäminen, jotka eivät ole tekijän tai tekijöiden omaisuutta, saattaa edellyttää lupaa suoraan asianomaisilta oikeudenhaltijoilta.
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
This is the first study applying cultural-historical activity theory to the study of a self-managed organization. The study presents an analysis of Oima, a self-managed organization. The theory of expansive learning and previous literature on self-managed organizations are used as the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of this study. A self-managed organization is one where authority has been radically decentralized in a formal and systematic way throughout the organization. The aim of the study is to identify the features of Oima as a self-managed organization, the elements of its overall activity, and the indications of expansive learning taking place in this organization. To achieve this, in-depth interviews were conducted with seven employees, who together make up 20% of the company workforce, with various functional specializations. The data were analyzed using thematic abductive analysis and by applying analytical tools derived from cultural-historical activity theory. The results of this study show that the object of Oima’s activity is multifaceted, facilitating flexible updating of the company’s objects, rules, and practices. Furthermore, the practices used by the company turn every decision made into a potentially expansive micro-cycle of expansive learning. Altogether, the findings indicate that expansive micro-cycles are continuously taking place in the studied organization. However, their activity is not without tension and contradictions. This provides evidence that self-managed organizations are able to constantly turn contradictions into drivers for change and development, and to bridge discontinuities in expansive learning, leading to expansion of the object of their collective activity on an ongoing basis.
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