A dual lens approach to exploring informal communication’s influence on learning in a political party

Susannah Hanlon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
The study aims to explore and discuss the extent of influence of informal communication on learning in a European social democracy political party through a dual lens approach combining information behaviour and organisational learning perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach
The paper presents results from an in depth qualitative study, whereby data were collected through semi-structured and episodic narrative interviews. Template analysis was used.

Findings
Informal conversations were identified as intrinsic to the work of the political party. They did influence learning at individual and group levels, and there was a degree of diffusion within the organisation, although the latter was found to depend on opportunity, individual self-efficacy, level of involvement in the party and perceptions of who has influence. The dual lens approach facilitated greater levels of granularity of analysis at individual and group levels of learning.

Research limitations/implications
The paper highlights the benefits of using a dual lens approach to add depth to the interpretation of the research findings. Due to the small number of participants further research is needed to verify and extend the results and support a greater degree of transferability.

Originality/value
The information behaviour and organisational research theory that underpin the research have not been used together in this way before, and the context for the phenomenon being researched, a traditional political party struggling against the rise of populism in the 21st century, is both contemporary and understudied in each of the theory areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-989
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Documentation
Volume77
Issue number4
Early online date12 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2021

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