A Pragmatic Analysis of the Role of Management Systems in Organizational Learning
This chapter presents a pragmatic analysis of the role of management and control systems in organizational learning based on the case of a French computer company. The analysis starts with two premises: the capacity of an organization to learn is somehow related to the learning capacity of the individuals who belong to it, and any organization produces many kinds of formal representations of its own organizational action (action processes, objectives, results, and resources) in the form of explicit and supposedly shared mental models. Those formal representations include management systems for financial and management accounting, budgeting and planning, performance scorecards, investment and project management, task definition and so on. In particular, this chapter illustrates the interaction between formal management systems and individual mental schemes, viewed from a management perspective of interpreting organizational action as value-creating action. A pragmatic, interpretive, and instrumental theory of organizational learning is described and Charles S. Peirce's theory of triadic interpretation is used to represent the collective learning process as a constant interaction between formal representations and individual interpretation processes.
Keywords: organizational learning, management and control systems, formal representations, organizational action, mental models, instrumental theory, theory of triadic interpretation, value-creating action
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