Learning Together, Leading Change : Understanding Collective Learning in Social Entrepreneurial Organisations

Abstract: This dissertation aims to generate an understanding of collective learning in social entrepreneurial organisations in Sweden, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employing a collective learning-centred perspective, I want to explore the following key areas: a) the learning conditions and organising processes entailed in becoming a social entrepreneur and creating a social entrepreneurial organisation, b) the importance of collective learning for organisational adaptation and change in tackling exogenous factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and c) the role of leadership in creating conditions conducive to collective learning processes in social entrepreneurial organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic.Grounded in empirical studies, this research reimagines leadership as an empowering, collaborative practice that is intricately woven with collective learning dynamics. The study also scrutinises the adaptive and evolutionary nature of organising processes, emphasising their centrality for collective learning. Furthermore, it highlights the efficacy of a collective learning-centred approach in driving meaningful organisational change, contrasting this with top-down strategies. Since most of the data was gathered during the global upheaval caused by COVID-19, this research presents a unique opportunity to examine collective learning as a resilience-building tool in turbulent times. This study fills a gap in existing literature by focusing on the Swedish context, and offers insights for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in social entrepreneurship. Ultimately, the research underscores the potential of collective learning to equip social entrepreneurial organisations for sustainable innovation and resilience, particularly in challenging societal conditions.