Meaningful Collaborative Learning in the Everyday Workplace_ An Ethnographic Study of Activists in a Nonprofit Organization Academic Article uri icon


  • Using cultural-historical activity theory as a theoretical framework, this ethnographic study aims to examine learning in the everyday workplace among activists (full-time staff) at a leading Korean-American nonprofit organization (KANPO) in New York City. The study focused on the relationship among workers as a critical dimension for encouraging daily workplace learning. The findings highlight an activity (activity system) named “collaboration”, and its inner contradictions were identified. While the contradictions have the potential to inhibit activists’ learning, activists tried to resolve the contradictions and thus advance the collaboration activity. In this process, learning occurred as an unintended outcome at both the social and individual levels. The findings show how everyday workplace learning is shaped by the KANPO’s contexts, as well as the methods used to create an effective everyday workplace learning environment. Based on the findings, the KANPO’s implemental strategies for encouraging meaningful learning and collaborations are discussed, as well as academic and practical implications.

published proceedings

  • The Journal of Lifelong Education and HRD

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, J.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Kim, J

publication date

  • April 2019