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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe how a management development programme based on situated learning theory resulted in change for individuals, organisational culture and performance. The case study illustrates how new understandings about learning in the workplace and in higher education points towards the need to take account of the context in which learners utilise their knowledge and skills. Design/methodology/approach – Quantitative and qualitative strategies were used to provide an evaluation of the impact of a management development programme in a group of companies. A questionnaire, focus groups and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data on three cohorts of supervisors and middle managers at different stages of the programme. A triangulated approach was adopted towards data analysis that illuminated a broad and deep change process. Findings – Positive cultural change was a significant benefit to the host organisation from the training programme. It was apparent that training can move beyond individual development to bring about organisational gains. Research limitations/implications – Future research might adopt a longitudinal design and facilitate a co-researcher approach using students’ learning logs of workplace experiences. Practical implications – Situated approaches to learning in higher education and the workplace need to be developed further to enhance workplace performance. A proposal is made for “learning consultants” to move between the two environments and facilitate knowledge exchange and improve understanding of the variety of learning contexts in business and educational settings.