Organizing for Spaces and Dynamics of Multipolar Learning in Multinational Corporations

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GR:EEN Working Paper Series
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Limited research has been conducted on how MNCs organize conditions and spaces for recursive learning to facilitate the practice of innovation across dispersed units as well as how organizational members at all levels may become involved in innovations through the engagement in ongoing multipolar learning dynamics. Based on longitudinal case studies in two MNCs this paper contributes with insights into how spaces and dynamics of multipolar learning are organized and governed across dispersed MNC units at the micro level of everyday work practices. The paper shows that it is possible to organize spaces and dynamics that can organize recursiveness and continuity in multipolar learning by way of experimentation with new coordination components and governance architectures. Against the previous literature, however, it becomes evident that these are not the outcome of spontaneous interactions in a tacit community of practices that operate on an ad hoc basis parallel to the formal  organization. The spaces and dynamics must become a body in their own right, with a set of recursive steps or routines that produce distinct types of results. The system of multipolar learning itself must become formalized, yet autonomous and oriented toward a long-term continuous perspective in contrast to traditional hierarchical models.

Multipolar Learning, Multinationals, Organizing, Recursive Routines, Experimental Governance