Cross-pollination: inter-organizational learning in Kenyan tree-planting programs
Hoagland, Sara H.
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Development assistance organizations working on the same problems in the same region have much to learn from each other's experiences. This preliminary analysis examines inter-organizational learning, as part of a larger study of organizational learning in development assistance. A comparative analysis of tree-planting programs in Kenya found that most formal mechanisms to foster inter-organizational learning achieved only limited success. It is argued that the failures of these mechanisms can be ascribed to their reliance on the participation of program managers, who lack the time, resources, or incentives to participate beyond a superficial level. However, the analysis also reveals that a great deal of information and expertise is shared among these organizations in informal ways, through collegial networks and cooperation among extension staffs. It is recommended that formal mechanisms for inter-organizational learning be adjusted to reflect their limitations, and that informal mechanisms be recognized and encouraged.