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Organizational Learning

Week 3 BBB3163 Knowledge Management



„Organizational learning refers broadly to an organization‟s acquisition of understanding knowhow, techniques and practices of any kind and by any means.‟
Source: Argyris, C and Schon, D A (1996) Organizational Learning: A theory of action perspective, Addison Wesley

CONCERNS OF ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING • • • How individual and team learning can be turned into an organizational resource. The concept of organizational learning is therefore closely linked to the concepts of knowledge management and intellectual capital . How organizational capability can be increased by making the best use of the „hidden learning‟ that individual and communities of practice acquire. How effective systems for linking individual and organizational learning can be developed.

and • double-loop learning in which the monitoring process indicates that expectations need to be redefined and corrective action is taken to ensure that these amended expectations are met . Blackwell. ed C Mabey and P Iles. C (1992) On Oganizational Learning. Routledge Argyris suggests that organizational learning occurs under two conditions: 1. He distinguishes between: single-loop learning in which expectations are defined and monitored and corrective action is taken as necessary to complete the loop. Source: Argyris. • when a mismatch between intentions and outcomes is identified and corrected. MA This process is modelled on the following slide . when an organization achieves what is intended 2. Cambridge. in Managing Learning. dissemination and shared implementation.THE PROCESS OF ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING Organizational learning has been described as an intricate three-stage process consisting of knowledge acquisition. M (1994) Learning organizations. Source: Dale.

AND DOUBLE-LOOP LEARNING Define expectations Take action Plan corrective action Single-loop learning Monitor and review Re-define expectations as necessary Double-loop learning .SINGLE.

IPD .THE LEARNING CYCLE Questioning Exploring with others the outcomes and behaviour required Reviewing and consultation Consider broader implications and changes Agreeing Working with others to explore learning needs Implementation By all parties meeting their part of the agreement Negotiation To agree rights and opportunities to support change Modelling Identifying with other types of learning opportunities Source: New Learning for New Work Consortium (1999) Managing Learning for Added Value.

„communities of interest‟ and one-to-one sessions. workshops. seminars and the development of communities of interest. HR can provide valuable support by constantly emphasizing the importance of organizational learning and encouraging it by such means as conferences.DEVELOPING ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING • • • • • Build into the value set of the organization the belief that organizational learning as a means of improving performance is important. workshops. Knowledge management processes to capture and disseminate knowledge and learning should be used. Leadership and example – line managers must be encouraged to take every opportunity to learn and encourage others to learn from experiences – singleand double-loop learning. . manuals and the Intranet but the knowledge gained from experience should be exchanged and shared by creating networks and encouraging face to face communication between individuals and teams by means of informal conferences. Learning and knowledge could be recorded in databanks. Top management must set the lead by insisting that learning opportunities are seized whenever they arise – noting what has been learnt and ensuring that it is disseminated.

who originated the concept. Source: Pedler.THE LEARNING ORGANIZATION DEFINED Senge. and when people are continually learning to learn together. McGraw-Hill . J and Boydell. P (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured. T (1991) The Learning Company: A strategy for sustainable development. M. defined a learning organization as one „where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire.‟ Source: Senge. Doubleday A more down to earth definition was produced by Pedler et al who stated that a learning organization is one „which facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself‟. where collective aspiration is set free. Burgoyne.

Organizational Learning (OL) • Concept introduced by Argyris and Schon (1976) • Different views of “organizational learning” – Aggregate of individual learning that takes place in an organizational setting – Learning embedded in the organization‟s policies. operations. and culture – Mystical combination of the aggregate learning of individuals embedded in an “organizational collective unconscious” 9 .

” • Four unanswered questions arise: – How to “promote” individual learning? – How to “reward” individual learning? – How to “capture” individual learning? – How does an organization “benefit from” organizational learning? 10 .Actualizing Organizational Learning “A learning organization that promotes. and “captures” individual learning for the benefit of the organization. rewards.

self-initiated learning should pervade the organization (SDL) • Not focuses on simply adding skills • Every individual at every level engaged in ongoing.Prerequisites for Learning Organizations • Self-directed. job-related learning • SDL is necessary for developing a learning organization 11 .

support for experimentation and risk-taking.Characteristics of SDL Environments* (1) Tolerance for errors. with an emphasis on creativity and innovation (2) Use of a participative leadership style and delegation of responsibility to organizational members (3) Support for learning initiatives that are linked to the organization‟s goals/values (4) Encouragement of open communication and of information systems that provide for collaboration and teamwork (5) Provision of opportunities and situations for individual learning 12 *Confessore and Kops (1998) .

1979) 13 .Role of Independent Learning • Learning independent of teachers and institutions – Self-directed learning has been strongly promoted within distance learning settings • Self-directed learning in institutional settings (Knowles.

g. 1989) • Some subject matters are not appropriate for SDL (Guglielmino and Guglielmino. Accounting 14 .Limitations on SDL • Some intelligent adults are not psychologically equipped for. 1991) – E. or “ready to” succeed at SDL (Long..

Psychological Aspects of SDL • Self-directed learners share the following: – Self-confidence – Self-awareness – Self-reflectiveness – Strong goal orientation – Aptitude for systematic procedures 15 .

Continuum of Business Education Teacher-Directed (Training) Technical Skills Courses Accounting Finance People Skills Learner-Directed (Development) Conceptual Skills Courses Leadership Strategy Courses Team Building Conflict Management 16 .

When is SDL Appropriate? • Three variables to be assessed – Teacher characteristics – Learner characteristics – Subject matter characteristics • Goal is to determine most “appropriate” learning approach • Both styles of learning should take place within organizations 17 .

non-sequential learning activities 18 .Promoting Individual Learning • Developing a learning culture. featuring SDL – Presence of a participative management style – Supportive environment in which employees enjoy autonomy and in which management believes employees are competent and motivated – Support for experimentation and tolerance for error – Support for unplanned.

Promoting Individual Learning (continued) • Employees can contribute to organzation‟s goals and values • Environment of trust and mutual respect must exist • Support for risk taking and innovation must be in place • Collaboration among organizational members must be encouraged 19 .

Imperatives for Organizations to Benefit from Learning • Creating continuous learning opportunities • Promoting inquiry and dialogue • Encouraging collaboration and team learning • Establishing systems to capture and share learning • Empowering people to have a collective vision • Connecting the organization to its larger 20 environment .

and the use of learning agreements 21 . self-initiated learning. rewarding.Summary • The learning organization will remain only a concept unless OC interventions are implemented to convert theory into practice • Promoting. and capturing individual learning for the benefit of the organization is facilitated by the promotion of self-directed.

Summary (continued) • An organizational culture in which continuous learning occurs at every level should be goal of a learning organization 22 .