ERIC Number: ED370188
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Power and the Production of Knowledge: Collective Team Learning in Work Organizations.
This paper presents findings of a study that examined the relationship between the outcome of collective team learning and the extent of differences in power that team members have available to them. This successful outcome is defined as the production of new knowledge. The study examined four teams in the research and development department of a large, high-technology manufacturing company, whose jobs were to improve the production process. Using an interpretive interactionist approach, data were derived from interviews with 11 team members and other organizational members, and from observations of team meetings. Findings identify two domains in which new knowledge is produced--the technical and the social. Four grounded propositions are developed to explain how the collective team learning process and organizational authority structures interact. These propositions suggest that differences in the availability of power to individual employees constrain the productivity of knowledge. From this perspective, work organizations are seriously disadvantaged by relying predominantly on the limited knowledge of high-ranking individuals. Finally, cultural and historical ideals that present additional obstacles to developing work teams in organizations are described. One figure is included. (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).