Case study of a knowledge-based organization.
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This interpretative case study is an attempt to gain insight into the operation of a successful organization working within the new knowledge-based society, with a view to increasing the efficacy of educational interventions targeted at ordinary knowledge workers. Much of the relevant research, including such topics as tranorganizational development, learning organization theory, STS theory, and lean production, comes from management and organizational theory. Many organizational theorists would agree that a product of companies is people. While not denying the truth of this statement, this study attempts to reverse it and say that when workers share in the development of the organizational vision, companies are potentially also a product of the workers that they comprise. Q, the organization that is the subject of the study, has a culture that is well-matched to the turbulence of the knowledge industry. The three characteristics of its culture that stand out are experimentalism, individualism, and informality. It is certainly an organization that learns, but it appears to lack the pervasive double-loop learning that characterizes a learning organization. Much of the double-loop learning and knowledge-acquisition that goes on within it depends on individual initiative and the coordinating capabilities of certain key "operators." Hence, it might be more fruitfully compared to a lean production system. However, tranorganizational development theory suggests that an educational intervention that permitted shared visioning to be founded on the personal mastery of many participants, could catalyze the transformation of Q into a learning transorganization that would not only produce superior goods and services, but also lead to new opportunities for the development of an even more intangible product -people.