Interventions to stimulate group learning in organizations

Valerie I. Sessa, Manuel London

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe a model of group learning, examine variables that stimulate a group to learn and determine the group's readiness to learn, and provide suggested interventions to enhance group readiness to learn. Design/methodology/approach - This practical paper, based on a model of group learning and recent group, learning, and systems literature, examines what triggers groups to learn and what makes groups ready to learn, and then suggest interventions to enhance group readiness to learn. Learning requires that the group recognizes variables that trigger learning. These may be pressures or opportunities from outside the group or encouragement and direction from group members. In addition, the group needs to be ready to learn when the triggers occur. Readiness to learn is a function of the group's maturity, boundary permeability, and learning orientation. Findings - Based on a review of the literature and the model, the paper suggests ways to diagnose learning triggers and readiness and propose interventions to increase general readiness to learn as well as the group's readiness to learn as the group is forming, when the group makes progress, and as the group concludes its work. Finally, the paper presents a case to demonstrate learning triggers and the importance of readiness to learn. Originality/value - This paper fulfills an identified need by managers in organizations regarding understanding group learning, what triggers it, and how to enhance group readiness to learn and offers practical help to stimulating a group's readiness to learn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-573
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Management Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008


  • Group dynamics
  • Group working
  • Learning


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