Organizational epistemology, education and social theory

David Hartley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Organizational learning or epistemology has emerged in order to manage the creation of knowledge and innovation within contemporary capitalism. Its insights are being applied also to the public sector. Much of the research in organizational learning has drawn upon the discipline of psychology, particularly constructivist theory. Two approaches in organizational epistemology are considered here: Nonaka's theory of knowledge creation, and Engestrom's expansive learning theory. Notwithstanding the reference to 'learning', these approaches have so far had little application to schools, especially at the level of pedagogy. But there are indications that re-culturing, 'workforce re-modelling' and inter-agency working are becoming more prominent within the public services in England. In these endeavours, government may come to regard organizational epistemology as an important new procedure in the management of change. Thus far, sociology has had two kinds of 'relationship' with organizational epistemology: first, social phenomenology and ethnomethodology have been of practical use; and, second, critical theory objects to the near-absence of a consideration of power and ideology within the discourse of organizational epistemology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'Organizational epistemology, education and social theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this