Leading Learning: A managerial perspective on promoting team learning in a software development company

University essay from KTH/Industriell Management; KTH/Industriell Management


Fast pace of change in the business of technology is the reality of many organizations today. The software development industry is one example where this nature is prominent. Companies need to adapt in ways that eases the persistence against change from external forces. Companies need to turn into Learning Organizations as these help people and organizations embrace change. Two key components of the Learning Organization are the teams, as they are considered to be the fundamental units of organizations, and managers, as they have the biggest impact on facilitating learning in the organization. Therefore, this study has investigated how managers could act to create conditions for encouraging team learning of a software development company to become a Learning Organization.


This has been done by conducting a case study at the company Ericsson in Kista, Sweden, who is market leaders within the software development industry. The case design consisted of a two phase method that included both a quantitative and qualitative data collection method.


The results indicate that Ericsson could be classified as a Learning Organization and in addition display promising characteristics when it comes to having team learning capabilities. Furthermore, the findings suggest that in order for managers to encourage team learning they should take on a coaching and supporting role to understand the need of the teams; challenge the status quo; empower teams through giving them mandate; allocate time for learning as an integral part of the daily work; and reward learning in teams.


The findings of this study have implications both in a theoretical aspect and a sustainability aspect. From the theoretical aspect, the findings provide with further empirical data in a field that is currently dominated by theoretical literature. Furthermore, the findings display a practical example of how managers of a market leading company with promising characteristics of team learning capabilities have acted to create such conditions. From a sustainability aspect, the results of this study give firms a sustainable competitive advantage through increased business performance, healthy labor conditions that are a result of healthy team dynamics and possible encouragement to future attention towards emphasis on environmental aspects.

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