Project-based initiatives form a major part of government investment and, so, learning from past projects should be a major concern for public sector organizations. Previous research has explored systems and processes for project-based learning but little research has examined the social and cultural factors that enable this learning to be applied with useful effect. This paper reports on two successive major UK government projects. The introduction of independent learning accounts (ILAs) and the subsequent introduction of educational maintenance allowances (EMAs) following the scrapping of the former. Although similar in many respects, the first was a major failure while the second, having learned the lessons of the first, was acclaimed as a success. Using a cultural analysis, this case study shows how project-to-project learning enabled the EMA project team to learn from the failed project. This resulted in two significant changes in government and civil service organizational culture.
Hall, M. A., Kutsch, E., & Partingdon, D. (2012). Removing the cultural and managerial barriers in project-to-project learning – a case from the UK public sector. Public Administration, 90(3), 664-684. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9299.2011.01980.x