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Conference Theme

The theme for the conference is proposed as

Configuring Enterprises as Spaces for Learning:

Possibilities, Risks and Limits

Enterprises are crucial places and spaces for learning at work. They offer certain chances and possibilities to learn. On the one hand, progressive enterprises make different resources (money, time, mentors, learning circles, staff, etc.) available for their employees and configure themselves as learning organizations. On the other hand, rather ignorant CEOs and firms are not very interested in the learning of their employees and do little to support learning at the workplace. Overall, the workplace can be a space for learning a lot, but also a place for losing skills and becoming frustrated and no more interested in learning anything beyond daily routines and experiences. The risks are high that mainly higher levels of the hierarchies in enterprise have access to enriched learning environments, whereas employees on the normal shop floor level have to cope with neo-tayloristic HRM strategies. Digitalization offers new chances for blended and hybrid forms of learning in virtual spaces. Less optimistic prognosis envisage a loss of jobs or dramatic changes with certain risks of a de-skilling. Data glasses make new forms of inducing likely. New forms of work organization and freelancer employment models make the connection to and identification with work more loose than before, but also offer the chance to be more in charge for the own working and learning. Nowadays educational wishes for a self-directed learning seem to merge with the needs in new economies. Big enterprises produce globally and ask employees to cooperate in teams beyond national borders. Expatriates have to work and live abroad and also have to cope with the challenges connected to migration.
Overall, the conference wants to encourage an open-minded but also critical discussion on the wide range of possibilities to learn or not to learn within enterprises. Approaches and research results which support a progressive, sustainable and humanistic configuring of enterprises as spaces for learning will be especially welcomed.

We see the following sub-themes as relevant, although this is a draft version:

1. Systems, policies and stakeholders as wider contexts
2. Occupations, jobs and careers
3. Sectors and labor markets
4. Enterprises as organizations and diverse configurations
5. Work identity, biographies, learning trajectories and subjectivity
6. Professions and organizations supporting learning
7. Interactions between teaching/instructing/coaching and learning
8. Knowledge, competences, qualifications and needs
9. Learning in virtual spaces or hybrid arrangements
10. Methodology development and theory building for researching work and learning

Participants will be encouraged to develop comparative papers, proposals and workshops.