The Living Experience of Emotions and Workplace Learning: A Relational View
thesisposted on 17.01.2013, 12:23 by Paolo Cassai
In academic literature the interplay between emotions and workplace learning is a largely neglected topic which, this thesis argues, is nonetheless very important in order to better understand both phenomena. Indeed learning and emotions are vital and pervasive aspects of individual and organisational life, and their interplay appears to have considerable social importance. Thus, the thesis challenges the over-rational portrayal of organisational life, arguing that emotions are key pointers to human learning, and the denial of emotions is the denial of learning. By taking a relational view, derived from a hermeneutical-pragmatist research approach, the thesis argues that emotions and learning are powerful sources of meaning and direction, supporting or inhibiting individuals and organisations in their attempts to re-define reality and find their place in it (Antonacopoulou and Gabriel, 2001). The study uses interviews and observation to examine the interplay between emotions and learning in a professional workplace setting. It aims to contribute to knowledge developing this complex connection, exploring how learning and emotions are experienced by human resource development professionals at the micro-level of their day-to-day practices, in the context of the socio-cultural processes of their working life. The empirical data indicate that emotions and workplace learning are contextual, embodied and relational phenomena. They also indicate that these phenomena are essential elements of our being-in-the-world, that is of our living and changing (becoming), and of our being intertwined in socio-cultural contexts. Thus, this thesis contributes to the scholarly literature on the interplay between emotions and workplace learning, and establishes a relational understanding of how such phenomena can be elements of constructing human resource development professionals’ emergent and complex identities at work.