Organisational learning, climate change and the tragedy of the commons in China

John B. Kidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper ends with a brief discussion of climate change and suggests that a practical solution would be to transfer much of the current air, sea and long-haul trucking of intercontinental freight between China and Europe (and the USA) to maglev systems. First we review the potential of Asian knowledge management and organisational learning and contrast this against Western precepts finding that there seems to be little incentive to 'look after one's fellows' in China (and perhaps across Asia) outside of tight personal guanxi networks. This is likely to be the case in the intense production regions of China where little time is allowed for 'organisational learning' by the staff and there is little incentive to initiate 'knowledge management' by senior managers. Thus the 'tragedy of the commons' will be enacted by individuals, township, and provincial leaders upwards to top ministers - no one will care for the climate or pollution, only for their own group and their wealth creation prospects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-238
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • China
  • climate change
  • Guanxi
  • KM & OL
  • Maglev
  • pollution
  • systems science


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