The relationships between workplace e-learning and dynamic capabilities

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dc.contributor.advisor McNaughton, R en
dc.contributor.advisor Plester, B en
dc.contributor.author Costello, James en
dc.date.accessioned 2018-07-09T04:37:19Z en
dc.date.issued 2018 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/37404 en
dc.description.abstract The dynamic capabilities school of thought has emerged from notions that organisational performance is increasingly temporary without the ability to adapt to a changing business environment. Central to the dynamic capabilities concept are the knowledge and learning that underpin an organisation’s capabilities and competitive advantage. However, when organisations attempt to stimulate learning, they risk solidifying capabilities into best practices that becomes rigid and overly-formalised. The challenge for organisations is to develop learning mechanisms which allow accrued experience to transform with shifting environmental conditions. In this PhD thesis I investigate how one of these learning mechanisms – online or e- learning – can be used to develop organisational-level learning and dynamic capabilities. I define dynamic capabilities as higher-order activities to create or reconfigure resources and operating routines to accommodate changing environments. Also of interest are the contextual factors that influence strategic choices when developing and evaluating e-learning. The overarching research question is: What relationships exist between workplace e-learning processes and dynamic capabilities? The thesis is presented as a series of three academic essays. The first essay conceptualises how dynamic capabilities may be developed and proposes specific aspects of e-learning strategy and practices that are likely to support the development of dynamic capabilities. The essay provides a model of how dynamic capabilities are created and shows where e-learning may fit in this process. A list of propositions is also provided that suggest which e-learning processes may contribute to dynamic capabilities by supporting adaptation and innovation activities. The main contribution made in this essay is to explain specifically how a learning practice might contribute to the development of dynamic capabilities. The second essay discusses the results of an exploratory qualitative study investigating e-learning practices across a range of theoretically-disparate organisations. Interview data was collected and analysed using the Gioia approach to thematic analysis. The findings show how organisations operating in more dynamic contexts use and evaluate their e-learning to support innovative and adaptive processes. This essay contributes by demonstrating that learning approaches designed to achieve more strategic, rather than operational, objectives are most prevalent in dynamic situations. The third essay broadens the focus and explores the relationship between organisational culture and dynamic capabilities. The findings show that an adaptive culture is integral to an organisation’s ability to build flexible, yet efficient, operational processes. This essay contributes to the literature by describing the impact of culture and dynamism on learning practices. I show how an organisation’s online learning strategy and practices are embedded in a complex configuration of internal factors (e.g., culture, strategy, structure) and the external situation (e.g., technology, competition, stability). Overall, this thesis contributes to theory by providing a deeper understanding of the microfoundations of dynamic capabilities at a micro process level. The empirical studies showed how the level of dynamic capability can profoundly influence the goals and practice of an organisation’s learning strategy. The theoretical implication of these findings is that they provide further support for the co-dependence of organisational learning and dynamic capabilities. Organisational learning has been considered an antecedent, a dimension, or consequence of dynamic capabilities, but I suggest that they are almost too indistinct to separate in such a way. Another contribution made by this thesis is to provide evidence, at a microfoundational level, that organisations’ adaptive processes are strongly related to environmental dynamism. Further, this thesis shows empirically that an organisation’s cultural type and level of dynamic capabilities are interrelated. The remaining contributions made by the thesis are practical. It shows firstly how, by dividing e-learning technology and processes into their ambidexterity components, practitioners can balance the need for efficient competency development with support of organisation-level learning. The implication for e-learning, and for deliberate learning in general, is to propose benefits beyond the efficient exploitation of current knowledge, by showing how learning activities may enhance innovation and adaptation. Lastly, the thesis demonstrates an impact of organisational culture on learning evaluation strategies and practices. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265081409802091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/nz/ en
dc.title The relationships between workplace e-learning and dynamic capabilities en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Management en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.elements-id 747349 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2018-07-09 en


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