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Enhancing learning in emergency services organisational work


Owen, C and Brooks, B and Curnin, S and Bearman, C, Enhancing learning in emergency services organisational work, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 77, (4) pp. 715-728. ISSN 0313-6647 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Institute of Public Administration Australia

DOI: doi:10.1111/1467-8500.12309


The paper aims to assist emergency services organisations to learn how to learn so that managers better understand how to embed effective learning practices and systems into their organisationís culture. Learning in emergency services organisations occurs in a range of contexts. These include after-action reviews, externally led inquiries, and practice-led research projects. The paper outlines key themes from the work-related learning literature and introduces a modified experiential learning framework to ground real-world experiences. Interviews were conducted with 18 emergency services practitioners. The findings provide examples of the broad challenges that agencies need to manage to enhance and sustain learning. These include shifting value from action post an event, to reflection, focusing on the bigger picture and allowing enough time to effectively embed new practices after an emergency. No organisation can forgo learning. All experiences provide opportunities for learning to occur. A key insight for agencies interested in facilitating improvements in learning is to locate potential weak links in the learning cycle and to develop a better understanding of how to learn.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:experiential learning, organisational culture, emergency management
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Strategy, management and organisational behaviour
Research Field:Organisational behaviour
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Other law, politics and community services
Objective Field:Other law, politics and community services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Owen, C (Dr Christine Owen)
UTAS Author:Brooks, B (Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks)
UTAS Author:Curnin, S (Dr Steven Curnin)
ID Code:124772
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Seafaring
Deposited On:2018-03-08
Last Modified:2019-03-18

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