Day 12 – L: Learning

One of the interesting organisational learning frameworks that I have come across during my professional career pertains to the Crossan / Zietsma model. The framework was devised by Crossan et al. (1999) and was modified by Zietsma et al. (2002).

The initial model was based on the following assumptions:
• learning happens at multiple levels i.e. individual, group and organisational
• the levels are interlinked through the enabling processes of intuition, interpretation, integration and institutionalisation
• there is a tension between exploration and exploitation (exploration may question, challenge and even threaten to replace institutionalised norms in the form of knowledge and practice while exploitation urges the use and utilisation of existing knowledge)
• the action i.e. tension affects cognition and vice versa

The four processes mentioned above were later augmented by attention and experimentation by Zietsma, Winn, Branzei and Vertinsky (2002). Please refer figure below for a diagrammatic representation of the model.


Please click here for the source.

The table below provides more detail on the learning processes.


I thought of sharing this model in today’s post as it has helped me immensely to:
• understand the dynamics of learning at various levels
• appreciate the importance of learning and unlearning
• acknowledge that the tension of exploitation and exploration is actually beneficial and as Knowledge professionals, we should strive to do both at the same time (much in the same way that we propagate the importance of both explicit and tacit knowledge)

I am certainly not an expert on the model and the post is nothing more than a curtain raiser. If you are interested to know more, please refer:
• Donald Hislop: Knowledge Management in Organizations (Chapter 6:Learning and Knowledge Management; Publisher: Oxford University Press)

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