Title: The interplay between formality and informality in managed learning networks

Authors: Nick Marshall, George Tsekouras

Addresses: Centre for Research in Innovation Management, University of Brighton, The Freeman Centre (University of Sussex campus), Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QE, UK. ' Centre for Research in Innovation Management, University of Brighton, The Freeman Centre (University of Sussex campus), Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QE, UK

Abstract: This paper offers an empirical exploration of group level knowledge practices in a university-managed learning network of small and medium sized enterprises. Managed learning networks are an example of an intermediate form of network relationship with both formal and informal elements. The aim of the paper is to help understand the implications of the degree of formality/informality for group-based learning. This is based on a multi-dimensional conception of formalisation that focuses specifically on two dimensions: firstly, formality as a feature of rule-guided behaviour and secondly, as a characteristic of the social and emotional dynamics of groups. The interplay between these dimensions is examined and an initial framework suggesting the implications of alternative configurations for group learning is proposed.

Keywords: managed learning networks; formalisation; group dynamics; group learning; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; social rules; formality; informality; universities; higher education; rule-guided behaviour; emotional dynamics; alternative configurations; strategic business alliances; multi-organisation partnerships; innovation; ProfitNet; UK; United Kingdom.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSBA.2010.030428

International Journal of Strategic Business Alliances, 2010 Vol.1 No.3, pp.291 - 308

Published online: 16 Dec 2009 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article