An inductive exploration of group learning and knowledge generation through group reflection and psychoanalysis

Shepherd, Gary John

March 2010

Thesis or dissertation

© 2010 Gary John Shepherd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This thesis aims to explore a rather simple question in relation to the process of how knowledge is generated within the organisational group. The question posed and pursued using an inductive methodological approach is "how do groups learn?"

This deceptively simple and almost child-like question has helped me to engage with a wide range of philosophical and methodological approaches to group learning and knowledge generation. By using such a straightforward notion I have been able to construct a sophisticated research project which posits a range of conclusions and responses to my original question and demonstrates the complexity of organisational learning in general. The conclusions I generated reveal a series of discrete interconnections between the individual, the group and an enmeshed series of psychological processes which both assist and prevent groups from generating knowledge and learning.

Along with generating a number of new insights into how groups learn, this simple question has enabled me to construct and propose a new theoretical framework for group learning and knowledge generation. The framework itself sets out to explore some of the most basic taken-for-granted notions of our Western world-view, ideas which form the bedrock of our epistemological certainty and which are hardly ever held up to critical scrutiny.

Business School, The University of Hull
Vince, Russ
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