Document Type


Publication Details

Andrew J. Sense, Cultivating Learning with Projects, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2007, 200p.


The pressing need of competitive advantage bears down on all organizations. They are either pressured by cutting costs through being more efficient (less waste, less re-work and working smarter) or they need to be more effective (providing differentiated or unique value-adding quality service). Both efficiency and effectiveness strategies require organizations to effectively harness the knowledge of work groups and individuals to learn how to be both efficient and effective. But knowledge is not enough. Knowledge is passive whereas learning is active, and action from learning can transform. One significant key to competitive advantage is the ability for organizations [including temporary organizations such as projects] to learn. Cultivating Learning Within Projects is a book based upon rigorous case study research and explains how situated learning may be effectively deployed and promoted within project teams. It uses a model of situated learning behaviour to describe the extent to which project learning may occur through: the interaction of individuals' cognitive style characteristics; the way that the power and authority of sponsors/ leaders and followers is structured to encourage or deter learning; the situational context - involving an organization's internal-political and external-impinging factors that act upon the support infrastructure to limit or enhance 'real' support and culture for learning; the way that knowledge is managed within a project and the organization; the learning relationships - involving participants' attitudes towards reflection and public disclosure and their preparedness to explore their relationships. This model was derived through in-depth action research in an engineering organization that attempted a project to achieve transformational management change through organizational learning. There are few documented examples of organizations (or project teams) attempting to achieve such a transformation.