Teaching Organizational Learning to Undergraduates: Applying Design Thinking in Problem-Based Learning

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedings


We report about the design and implementation of an undergraduate course on organizational learning in an Austrian business school. Using problem-based learning, this course enables students to put theories on organizational learning into practice. In a live case study, a case partner from industry provides an unstructured and ill-defined problem which students try to solve. The design and implementation follow a recent call to complement rational-analytic with creative and design-oriented thinking in business schools and leadership education (Glen et al., 2014). The design thinking framework serves as a scaffold to apply theories from organizational learning to the problem. From a researcher’s perspective, the course implementation reflects an action research cycle addressing how problem-based learning and design thinking can bring theory on organizational learning into practice. As the course evaluation shows, the proposed course design and implementation are well recognized by the students and are a viable way to teach organizational learning. With this paper, we contribute to the discourse on how design thinking can be applied in business schools and practically outline how it can serve as a scaffold to teach organizational learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ECKM-2018 (19th European Conference on Knowledge Management)
Editors Ettore Bolisani, Eleonora Di Maria, Enrico Scarso
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Pages414 - 422
ISBN (Print)978-1-911218-94-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 509018 Knowledge management

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