This article investigates what learning groups there are in organizations, other than the familiar 'communities of practice'. It first develops an interdisciplinary theoretical framework for identifying, categorizing and understanding learning groups. For this, it employs a constructivist, interactionist theory of knowledge and learning. It employs elements of transaction cost theory and of social theory of trust. Transaction cost economics neglects learning and trust, but elements of the theory are still useful. The framework is used in an empirical study in a consultancy company, to explore what learning groups there are, and to see if our theory can explain their functioning and their success or failure.

learning groups, social theory of trust, theory of knowledge and learning, transaction cost theory
Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge (jel D83), Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior (jel L2), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Business Administration: General (jel M10)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Copyright 2001, I. Bogenrieder, B. Nooteboom, This report in the ERIM Report Series Research in Management is intended as a means to communicate the results of recent research to academic colleagues and other interested parties. All reports are considered as preliminary and subject to possibly major revisions. This applies equally to opinions expressed, theories developed, and data used. Therefore, comments and suggestions are welcome and should be directed to the authors.
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Bogenrieder, I.M, & Nooteboom, B. (2001). Social Structures for Learning (No. ERS-2001-23-ORG). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from