Knowledge And Organizational Theory

1665 Words7 Pages
1.0 What is a Learning Organization? 1.1 Definition of a Learning Organization Just what makes a learning organization? In this sense the learning organization is an ideal, ‘towards which organizations have to evolve in order to be able to respond to the various pressures they face . It clearly portrays that it is essential to learn individually as well as in a collective manner. Learning organizations are organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together. Successful organizations embrace change and development as the most important factor in the success of the organization. Without learning there is no improvement and without improvement organizations will be stagnate. Therefore learning is important for an organization to remain competitive . However, it is difficult to see how a learning organization can be based on and derive from individual learning. An organization should take on board the ‘shared vision’. ‘Shared vision is vital for the learning organization because it provides the focus and energy for learning’ . With this, a learning theory should be implemented based on employees’ attempts to cope with everyday problems that they encounter in their organizations. 1.2 Characteristics of a Learning Organization A learning organization does not come on its own but instead comprises of several characteristics that defines it. Contemporary descriptions of the "learning organization" have appeared throughout the management of literature. These descriptions portray learning organizations as capable of adapting to changes in the external business environment by practicing continuous renewal of their structures and practices. Many accounts of learning organizations suggest that the path to becoming a learning organization is often wildly experimental, intensely focused around team processes, structured into nonhierarchical clusters, and operating in virtual time/space through electronic networks. The table below shows the positive results accruing to individuals and the organization or culture as a whole when they are present. The first two characteristics are individual whereas the last three are group-based. The characteristics listed are general qualities that exist within a learning culture. However, there are concrete cognitive and behavioural tools, as well as specific types of social interaction and structural conditions, that improve the chances that these qualities are achieved and sustained over time. These are the "best practices”. While not an exhaustive list, the ones listed in the table fall under four main categories:
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