Learning between projects: More than sending messages in bottles

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Although learning from projects has gained much importance in research and practice, progress in understanding and improving inter-project learning appears to be slight. We argue that the adoption of a sender/receiver approach limits the learning effectiveness in project-based organisations. Drawing upon the notion of learning as a social activity embedded in an organisational context, we develop the argument that learning from projects takes place within projects rooted in the historical, organisational and cultural context of previous and current projects. We underpin our argument with results from a multiple-case study on learning in construction organisations. We show that learning cannot be segregated from immediate practice and occurs when individuals engage in project work. Particularly the orientation towards project goals and project-overarching ambitions or trajectories can serve as contextual binder for learning in and between projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-351
JournalInternational journal of project management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2015


  • Project-based organisation
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Social learning
  • Case study


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