Collaborative Learning and the Co-design of Corporate Responsibility. Building a Theory of Multi-Stakeholder Network Learning from Case Studies of Standardization in Corporate Responsibility.
AuthorMcNeillis, Paul Matthew
SupervisorSpicer, David P.
Taylor, W. Andrew
KeywordBarriers to learning
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentSchool of Management
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AbstractThis thesis examines the collaborative development of corporate responsibility (CR) standards from the perspective of organisational learning theory. The author proposes that standards development projects can be understood as Network Learning episodes where learning is reflected in changes in structures, interpretations and practices accompanied by learning processes. Network Learning alone is seen as insufficient to reflect the diverse contributions and outcomes in the special case of CR standards. Concepts from multi-stakeholder learning like the role of dissensus in learning and the empowerment of weaker stakeholders are therefore used to create a synthesis of the two theories in a single conceptual framework. This framework is then tested against a pilot case and three case studies of corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards including the development of the new ISO international standard on social responsibility (SR). The data validates and extended this framework to yield a Multi-Stakeholder Network Learning theory capable of describing the how participants and non-participant stakeholders learn in this context. New concepts are generated from the data, like dislocated learning, which demonstrate how participants in the process and those they represent can experience quite different learning outcomes. Stakeholders whose learning is aligned with the learning of their participant representatives truly have a stake in these influential standards. However, where representatives fail to learn from those represented, the latter¿s stake is diminished. By shedding light on the mechanisms of effective collaborative learning this work contributes to learning theory, the practice of standardization and the normative stakeholder empowerment agenda.
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