Radical learning through semantic transformation capitalizing on novelty

Bosma, B., Chia, R. and Fouweather, I. (2016) Radical learning through semantic transformation capitalizing on novelty. Management Learning, 47(1), pp. 14-27. (doi:10.1177/1350507615602480)




That organizations exist in a fluid environment of un-precedented and discontinuous change seems beyond debate. We seem to find ourselves immersed in a world in which events have a tendency to unfold and overtake us in unforeseeable and novel ways that defy comprehension; a crisis of meaning takes place and conven-tional sensemaking is disrupted. Our need to imaginatively construct new meanings that allow us to understand what is going on and to work out how to respond becomes ever more pressing. We do live in interesting times. The emergence of the new, however, challenges current established ways of knowing and opens a creative space for radical learning to take place. Novelty stimulates the generative pro-cess by which organizations and individuals learn, adapt to and cope with the exigencies they face in order to survive and progress. Such radical learning occurs when creative linguistic interventions in dia-logue opens up semantic spaces whereby new terms are coined and old ones broken up, combined and/or redeployed in novel ways, in an effort to give expression to the fresh circumstances experienced or new phenomena observed. We call this kind of imaginative linguistic inter-vention semantic transformation. In this paper we argue that it is this semantic transformation that promotes radical transformational learn-ing. Such semantic transformation is predicated on the improvisatory character of dialogue as a form of communication. We explore how, through this dialogical process of semantic transformation, we discover the resources and means to respond to the vagueness and equivocality experienced, by exploiting language in novel ways in our attempts to make sense of and account for such experiences.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Chia, Professor Robert
Authors: Bosma, B., Chia, R., and Fouweather, I.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Management Learning
Publisher:SAGE Publications Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1461-7307
Published Online:10 December 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Management Learning 47(1): 14-27
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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