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Making sense of mediated learning: cases from small firms

Making sense of mediated learning: cases from small firms

Macpherson, Allan, Kofinas, Alexander, Jones, Oswald and Thorpe, Richard (2010) Making sense of mediated learning: cases from small firms. Management Learning, 41 (3). pp. 303-323. ISSN 1350-5076 (Print), 1461-7307 (Online) (doi:

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This article explores how artefacts invoke practices that encourage, support and sustain trajectories of collective learning. Analysis is drawn from three longitudinal case studies of small firms. Illustrations are offered of how learning activities are mediated by symbolic and material artefacts that are present in day-to-day work activities. Artefacts are shown to have a mediating effect on discourse, identity formation, learning routines, politics and conflict, and to create space and time for reflection and learning. The theoretical contribution lies in the explication of the pliable and multifaceted role that artefacts play in supporting learning processes. We also argue for a nuanced understanding of how artefacts might be used to shape learning trajectories. Our conclusions indicate that understanding the role of artefacts can enable more effective policy making and facilitate the development of support mechanisms for small firms. The perspectives we offer also have implications for learning in larger organizations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: activity theory, artefacts, objects, organizational learning, SMEs
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:17

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