The nature of organizational learning in a private school in the Pakistani context

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


The speedy process of change is constantly forcing organizations to learn faster in order to be fully prepared for the uncertain future. Organizational learning (OL) is a newly emerging concept which deals with the learning processes of organizations. The aim of this study was to explore the nature of OL in a private school in the Pakistani context. The study was conducted in a secondary private school in the context of Chitral, a remote district of NWFP, Pakistan. Using qualitative case study as the research design and activity theory as the study framework, the data was generated through questionnaire, interview, observation and document analysis. A questionnaire was administered to 61% teachers and 8% students. Interviews were conducted with the school principal, Vice Principal, Academic Coordinator, four groups of teachers, another four groups of the students and one group of parents. Moreover, five lessons of teachers and the interactions among various stakeholders were also observed. Similarly, Some documents such as, teachers' lesson plans, the students' progress reports and exam papers were also analysed. The findings revealed that the new ideas coming from external sources and the intervention of external forces create tensions and contradictions in the school, providing rich opportunities of learning. The school practices especially the teaching activity has improved whenever those ideas have been implemented and the tensions addressed. However, the school has not fully been successful to exploit the contradictions and tensions as learning opportunities. Once a tension is created, instead of availing it as a learning opportunity, it is ignored, accepted as it is or provided with readymade solutions. Moreover, the limited nature of interactions does not allow teachers to extend the externally acquired ideas to the whole teaching staff, to search solutions for the newly emerging tensions and thus, to generate knowledge collectively. Coupled with the limited structure for interactions, the culture of isolation, stereotyping, dependency and lack of motivation are the factors which hinder the process of OL in this school. The school leadership may be able to avail the contradictions as learning opportunities and thus, foster OL through bringing structural and cultural modifications in the school.

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