The social learning character of projects and project teams
This conceptual paper challenges the traditional view of projects and project teams as only being temporal and separate entities focused on achieving particular and tangible outcomes. Such a limited perspective tends to overlook the generative learning and personal growth potential inherent within the project form. Based on a social constructivist learning perspective which embraces situated learning theory and communities of practice, this paper proposes an alternative characterisation of projects. With this re-characterisation, on-the-job learning and the socio-cultural conditions that nurture it may move towards the forefront of project activities. This complementary perspective can have profound effects on the way people and organisations embrace project based organising and in the way they devise, deploy and enact learning activities within a project. The arguments posited in this paper also support a suggestion that organisational learning and the development of a learning culture can be intentionally enhanced through projects.
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