Developing a Learning Organization
Dr. Thomas Taylor
Developing a Learning Organization
To become a learning organization we must describe its four characteristics which are organizational design, information sharing, leadership, and organizational culture. Managers are asking questions like, Why do some organizations fail whereas other progress? Organizations that are successful in the long term are usually named learning organizations. In his book, (the Fifth Discipline) The Art and Practice of Learning Organization, Peter Senge explains five characteristics that are involving when building a learning organization.
Building a learning organization Senge’s five characteristics
The first step is a Systemic thinking which means that how everything works together and how all are parts of influence one another to comprise the whole. A well-structured review of any system must evaluate its works as a whole. (Beckmann S. L. 2009)
According to this theory, the second one is a personal mastery. It is crucial for individuals to learn inside the organization. Knowledge is a passage with no final destination organizations should support employees to get better in their job. (Hagen. T. M (2011)
Senge defines the third one (mental models) on how employees understand the world and how we take act. To become a learning organization employees must drop their defenses and ask a question before to move forward.
The Author argues that his fourth statement is building a shared vision. A shared vision creates excitement and brands employees work towards company’s common goal. It is supposed to be clear that in learning organizations an employee shares a common vision about a goal.
The last step is team learning. The learning begins at the moment when its associates start to think together. First step is to abandon its thoughts or assumptions about other employees. This way employees don’t judge others and the work can be done effectually and the results will be better. (Hagen. T.M (2011)
Moving on to leading part of a learning organization. The author explains that the leaders are designers and teachers. The leader must design a plan that supports learning and makes employees to take risks and innovate by themselves. This requires a lot trust among employee and manager. The author argues that the most important job for the leader is to safeguard the vision and create goings-on that help to accomplish that.
How to build a learning organization? Is a question that many companies are facing if they want to compete in a global market? As an example, British retailer Tesco is an example of a learning organization, which means they are endlessly willing to learn, adapt and change. (Fundamentals Of Management, p,170)
How to share Information in Learning Organization
Two types of design elements for a learning organization are to share information to its members and collaborate on work activities throughout the entire organization. It can be done across different functional specialties and at different levels. This is also a type of boundary-less environment where employees can work together and learn from its other. Teaming up is an effective way to get the job done. (Iphoven R. 2000) Empowered work teams do have only little need for “bosses”, who in learning organization supports and motivates the teams. The author argues that organizations are transferring from industrial age to an informational age. (Miles, Snow, Mathews, Miles, Coleman, 1997). Organizational design should respond to the environment, internal capabilities and change while maintaining balance and clarity. (Galbraith, 1995) In other words, organizational design is a key task for leaders. To bring the purpose of an organization, a design is a creative process that can make it happen. Information Sharing is can be defined as exercise that contains switching info between persons and groups” (Yu et al, 2010. p 32.) The author argued that this helps others and collaborate with others to solve problems and develop new ideas (Wang and Noe, 2010, p.117.) To become better by this topic it is crucial to identify the factors that influence information sharing. Employees must involve in information sharing by sharing information openly in a timely manner and as accurate as possible. (Fundamentals of Management, p.170) Because in learning organization a few barriers do exist, that’s why the environment has to be conducive to open communication and extensive informational sharing. (BABAPOUR, M: 2016)
An ideal Leadership in Learning Organization
Brooks (1992) and Mallet (1995) defined a learning organization as its capability to promote change through the learning process. One of the most important characteristics of leadership is to have a shared vision. Leadership in all levels needs to order the same message of meaning and support the job program. (Prickket C.M 2017) In this article, the author argues that employees by its all levels must be certified by its leadership to pursue personal development, that means in all management levels must be involved and supportive towards its program. (Prickket C.M 2017) The author argues that the best tenacities will be developed in a culture where thinking is appreciated respected and calling towards its employees, which means that there should be an environment where employees don’t hesitate to fail, and where people are able to take risks in their answers to produce those solutions. ( Dirani K.M) This is why a leader’s number one job is to share a common vision and make it clear to all employees. When a goal setting is done properly in a leadership, it creates an environment where employees are respected which has a positive impact towards an organizations culture. Secondly, leaders should encourage its employees to a collaborative environment that’s critical to learning. The author states that its leader is in charge to safeguard that its organization is in right culture and in climate for learning. (Dirani K.M. 2009) As we could easily think that leaders are those people with authority and position. This statement is not necessarily true since, in learning organization at some point, we are all leaders by our equivalent employees. Lastly, the author in this paper (Rivers K. 2018) states that since organization moves forward all the time it is crucial to its leaders help and support its employees so that the job will be done properly.
Developing an Organizational Culture
Firstly, in the organization’s culture, it’s vital that everyone agrees to the shared vision what the leaders have designed to do. Culture importance have been recently recognized as a top factor, in terms of what makes its environment successful. In a learning culture employees should feel free to communicate openly, share and learn. This creates trust among employees and their motivation will rise in general. This is why a learning culture is a vital part of the learning organization. (Hoff ET, al, 2004). To boost employees to be an active learner, culture plays a big role. According to (tomorrows doctors GMC 2002) the culture has to be somewhere where it’s culture by its self-motivated employees and helps them to gain information about self-directed learning. (Rivers K.2018) Talking about developing a culture where employees could be pro-active, it will need teaching and learning schemes. Secondly, in the ideal case the culture pusses its employees to develop self-mastery. This means that employees must be self-aware and open to another’s ideas and advice is vital for success. (Rivers K. 2018) Many studies have shown that an active and posite culture has many benefits to its employees. Perhaps the most valuable thing is the impact is on its learning process. Learning from its errors is a factor where organizations could make a development by involving it to its culture. (Stinson, L. Pearson, D. Lucas B. 2006) Having a trust is a huge part when talking about the culture in the learning organizations. By obligating a “trust” inside organization staffs gets the job done and it has an optimistic impact on its employees and makes an organization more successful in the long term. (Duden, A. 2012) When employees trust their bosses and vice versa the environment turns positive this leads to better motivation among its coworkers. In this way a learning culture is optimistic and forgiving towards its employees. These two characteristics has a huge impact to a learning culture.
Senge argues that four features that build a learning organization are organizational design, information sharing, leadership, and organizational culture. There are two types of design elements in the learning organization which are information and collaborate work. (Organic Organizational Design 2009) To become learning organization information sharing should be timely accurate, open and encouraging towards its employees. The most important characteristic of a leader is to have a shared vision, and make happenings to keep employees motivated. To have an ideal culture in the learning organization, its employees must be willing to gain knowledge about self-directed learning and master self-mastery. This way in a learning culture employees feel free to communicate, share and learn without of criticism or punishment. Also a learning culture promotes a strong community where employees feel trusted and motivated about the work.
‘Organic Organizational Design’ (2009) OD Practitioner, 41(4), pp. 4–11. Available at: http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=a9h&AN=44511167&site=ehost-live (Accessed: 25 October 2018).
Beckman, S. L. (2009). Introduction to a Symposium on Organizational Design. California Management Review, 51(4), 6–10. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=buh&AN=43676496&site=ehost-liveDescripes the characteristics of the learning organization, its leadership, and social interest.
Dirani, K. M. (2009). Measuring the learning organization culture, organizational commitment and job satisfaction in the Lebanese banking sector. Human Resource Development International, 12(2), 189–208. https://doi.org/10.1080/13678860902764118DUDEN, A. (2011). Trust and Leadership – Learning Culture in Organizations. International Journal of Management Cases, 13(4), 218–223. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=buh&AN=66508350&site=ehost-liveDuden, A. (2012). Trust in Learning Organizations. International Journal of Management Cases, 14(4), 167–175. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=buh&AN=89544281&site=ehost-liveDuden, A. (2012). Trust in Learning Organizations. International Journal of Management Cases, 14(4), 167–175. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=buh&AN=89544281&site=ehost-liveFinn, E. (2018). Workforce Optimization and Alignment: One School’s Approach to Organizational Design. Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly, 5(4), 165–174. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=eric&AN=EJ1176694&site=ehost-liveGratton, M. (1993). Leadership in the Learning Organization. New Directions for Community Colleges, (84), 93–103. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=eric&AN=EJ479918&site=ehost-liveHagen, T. M. (2011). LEADERSHIP BEST PRACTICES. Five Steps to Becoming a Learning Organization. EMS World, 40(12), 91–92. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=ccm&AN=104568684&site=ehost-liveIphofen, R. (2000). Caring about Learning While Learning about Caring: Coping with Change in Health Professional Education. Journal of Allied Health, 29(2), 91–97. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.acaweb.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,uid,cookie&db=eric&AN=EJ607554&site=ehost-live