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The importance of a new kind of learning in collaborative networks

Mandell, Myrna, Keast, Robyn L., & Brown, Kerry A. (2009) The importance of a new kind of learning in collaborative networks. In EGPA 2009 : European Group of Public Administration Conference : the Public Service : Service Delivery in the Information Age, 2-5 September, 2009, Malta.

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Abstract

There is wide agreement that in order to manage the increasingly complex and uncertain tasks of business, government and community, organizations can no longer operate in supreme isolation, but must develop a more networked approach. Networks are not ‘business as usual’. Of particular note is what has been referred to as collaborative networks. Collaborative networks now constitute a significant part of our institutional infrastructure. A key driver for the proliferation of these multiorganizational arrangements is their ability to facilitate the learning and knowledge necessary to survive or to respond to increasingly complex social issues In this regard the emphasis is on the importance of learning in networks. Learning applies to networks in two different ways. These refer to the kinds of learning that occur as part of the interactive processes of networks. This paper looks at the importance of these two kinds of learning in collaborative networks. The first kind of learning relates to networks as learning networks or communities of practice. In learning networks people exchange ideas with each other and bring back this new knowledge for use in their own organizations. The second type of learning is referred to as network learning. Network learning refers to how people in collaborative networks learn new ways of communicating and behaving with each other. Network learning has been described as transformational in terms of leading to major systems changes and innovation. In order to be effective, all networks need to be involved as learning networks; however, collaborative networks must also be involved in network learning to be effective. In addition to these two kinds of learning in collaborative networks this paper also focuses on the importance of how we learn about collaborative networks. Maximizing the benefits of working through collaborative networks is dependent on understanding their unique characteristics and how this impacts on their operation. This requires a new look at how we specifically teach about collaborative networks and how this is similar to and/or different from how we currently teach about interorgnizational relations.

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ID Code: 29884
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Learning, Collaborative Networks
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisation and Management Theory (150310)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 please contact the authors
Deposited On: 22 Jan 2010 10:57
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 23:55

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