The learning organization, sensegiving and psychological contracts : a Hong Kong case

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

28 Citations (Scopus)


I discuss a qualitative case study of the development of a Hong Kong-based utility company towards the ideals of 'Learning Organization' (LO). The case illuminates the irony of promoting greater openness and creativity through top-down sensegiving, as many managers and professionals participated in the collective development towards LO ideals, but nearly fell into a propaganda trap. The case also highlights the importance of honouring psychological contracts, as a covenant with the workforce, leveraged the company's dominant industry position, and restored an atmosphere of mutuality with a marginalized rump. Noting that the focal company may have been blessed with relatively munificent circumstances, I identify four viability tasks that aspiring LOs may need to perform continually in order to forestall disillusionment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-569, 684
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002



  • BPR
  • Ideology
  • Leadership
  • Organizational learning
  • TQM

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