From Partnership to Resistance: Unions and Organisational Learning at Ericsson Infocom

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In recognising that much mainstream literature on organisational learning is overwhelmingly managerial, this paper explores learning as an appropriate framework for studying organisations at the level of sub-systems or subcultures. It is thus argued that there is an interesting agenda to be pursued by the critical researcher on seeing organisational learning as a means of analysing both co-operation and conflict over the labour process from a bottom-up perspective. In practical terms, in highly organised contexts with established collective bargaining, this means study of collective learning in workplace trade union organisations. The setting of Ericsson Infocom at Norrköping, Sweden, is selected for empirical study. An adaptation of Dixon’s model of experiential organisational learning (1994) of the local unions identifies two distinct modes of learning, each reflecting different post-Fordist strategies for managing the labour process: initially multiskilled teamworking and subsequently outsourcing. The former mode reflects the actions and discourse of negotiated partnership with the employer, whilst the latter reflects the actions and discourse of resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-373
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration


  • organizational learning
  • learning processes
  • workplace unions
  • work organization
  • partnership
  • resistance
  • discourse


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