What is your philosophy of a learning organization?
My philosophy is that a learning organization not only focuses on continually creating and fostering learning opportunities for all employees, it has a culture of knowledge sharing, and knows how to apply this learning and knowledge to the organization to increase its competitive advantage. As Gavin (1993) stated, "learning will only occur in a receptive environment." Thus, a learning organization not only openly encourages gaining and sharing knowledge; it also understands that this is linked to innovation. The learning organization looks at both adaptive (coping) and generative (systems) learning. To do this, a learning organization creates systems and/or processes to create learning activities and tools and implements them (Gavin, 1993).
What should it look like, what are its characteristics?
I believe one of the most important characteristics is that the leaders are designers and teachers; rather than leaders who Senge (1990) states just "call the shots" (p. 10). Leaders develop a realistic and shared vision for the organization, along with continually refining organizational strategies (Senge, 1990). Leaders are also stewards by caring about their employees, and instilling a sense of purpose. Kontoghiorghes, Awbre, and Feurig (2005), in examining various studies of learning organizations, came up with a list of common characteristics: "open communications, risk taking, support and recognition for learning, resources to perform the job, teams, rewards for learning, training and learning environment, and knowledge management" (p. 189). These characteristics are relative to the success of an organization's performance. Another characteristic is that a learning organization increases its competitive advantage through its learning processes. How can you determine and assess that it is a learning organization?
One way to determine a learning organization is if it is able to adapt...
References: Gavin, D. A. (1993). Building a learning organization. Harvard Business Review, 71(4), 78-91. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from Health Business Fulltext Elite database.
Kontoghiorghes, C., Awbre, S. M., & Feurig, P.L. (2005). Examining the relationship between learning organization characteristics and change adaptation, innovation, and organizational performance. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 16(2), 185-211. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 859795301).
Senge, P. M. (1990). The leader 's new work: Building learning organizations. Sloan Management Review, 32(1), 7. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 812347)
Smith, M. K. (2001). Peter Senge and the learning organization. The encyclopedia of information education. Retrieved May 19, 2009, from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/senge.htm.
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