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Topic : Learning Organization
Submitted to: Miss Nancy Saini
Submitted by: Liyakat ali khan Section : 330 Roll No : 28 Group : G1 Reg.No :10807803
I, "Liyakat Ali khan”, hereby declare that the work presented herein is genuine work done originally by me and has not been published or submitted elsewhere for the requirement of a degree programme. Any literature, data or works done by others and cited within this dissertation has been given due acknowledgement and listed in the reference section.
_______________________ (Student's name & Signature) 10807803 (Registration No.) Date: 10/12/2008
Acknowledgement I would like to express my sincere thanks towards Lovely Professional University management for providing me an opportunity to pursue my term paper. My special thanks are also due to Miss Nancy Sahni who gave me his valuable time and guided me at each step with her expertise and provided me all the required information. I am highly obliged for the guidelines she took to help me complete my term paper. Above all, thanks to almighty Allah for showing his blessings for the accomplishment of this term paper.
Table of contents 1.1 1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3. 1.2.4 Introduction to subject History ………………… 2-3 1 ………………………….
Types of learning ……………………. 3 Characteristics of a Learning Organization…….. 4 Implementing learning organization……… 4-6
1.2.5 Implementation Strategies for learning organizations4-6 1.2.6 Why Learning Organizations Work……………………8 1.3 1.3.1 Importance of learning organization…………………..8 Some problems and issues…………………………… 9 10
1.3.2 Risks if we Implement the Changes………………. 1.3.3 Risks if we don’t implement the Changes…...10 1.3.4 Review of literature………………………….. 1.3.6 11-13 1.3.5 Critical appraisal ………………………………. 14 Conclusion ………………………………………. 15
1.3.7 References and bibliography……..………………… 16
An organization that learns and encourages learning among its people. It promotes exchange of information between employees hence creating a more knowledgeable workforce. This produces a very flexible organization where people will accept and adapt to new ideas and changes through a shared vision. The Learning Organization is a concept that is becoming an increasingly widespread philosophy in modern companies, from the largest multinationals to the smallest ventures. What is achieved by this philosophy depends considerably on one's interpretation of it and commitment to it. Learning Organization is just a means to a business goal, created to improve productivity and most importantly profit. Quite how long this philosophy will remain fashionable is unknown. What is certain is that for any company in today's global marketplace continuous change and adaptation is the only way to survive. The perfect Learning Organization is not an attainable goal, it is merely a desirable concept: there is no correct implementation of the Learning Organization. Every company can continuously adapt and adjust and some will be better Learning Organizations than others, but every one of them has something new to learn.The important points to note about this definition are that learning organizations:
• • • •
Are adaptive to their external environment Continually enhance their capability to change/adapt Develop collective as well as individual learning Use the results of learning to achieve better results
History of learning organization
The word "learning" was coined in the 1980s to describe organizations that experimented with new ways of conducting business in order to survive in turbulent, highly competitive markets. The characteristics that define the learning organization, and the positive results accruing to individuals and the organization or culture as a whole when they are present, are individual and group-based. These characteristics are general qualities that exist within a learning culture. However, there are concrete cognitive and behavioral 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" and fall under the four main categories. (a) Communication and openness; (b) Inquiry and feedback; (c) Adequate time; and (d) Mutual respect and support. Communication and openness involve both self-reflection (i.e., being honest with oneself about a situation) and participatory reflection (i.e., pushing the group to clarify and evaluate the assumptions underlying how work gets done within the organization). It also involves communication that flows as much from the bottom of a hierarchy to the top as vice-versa. Inquiry allows individuals to become adept at questioning things as a normal course of their work. It encourages people to take risks in improving aspects of their work. Positive feedback involves activities that are designed to let people learn from their inquiries, to build a personal knowledge base that is defined by proactive rather than reactive or defensive thinking. It involves those with more experience helping those with less experience understand not just the "right" way to do things, but what can be learned from doing things the "wrong"
way. Communication, reflection, feedback, flexibility, and inquiry all depend upon individuals having adequate time to engage themselves and others in meaningful dialogue and brainstorming. Finally, mutual respect and support involves treating co-workers, supervisors, and employees equally and consistently with respect to one's ability to contribute positively to the organization, regardless of where that person is located in the organizational hierarchy.
Types of learning
A learning organization is not about 'more training'. While training does help develop certain types of skill, a learning organization involves the development of higher levels of knowledge and skill. Learning organization developed in a 4-level model: Level 1.- Learning facts, knowledge, processes and procedures. Applies to known situations where changes are minor. Level 2.- Learning new job skills that are transferable to other situations. Applies to new situations where existing responses need to be changed. Bringing in outside expertise is a useful tool here. Level 3 - Learning to adapt. Applies to more dynamic situations where the solutions need developing. Experimentation, and deriving lessons from success and failure is the mode of learning here. Level 4 - Learning to learn. Is about innovation and creativity; designing the future rather than merely adapting to it. This is where assumptions are challenged and knowledge is reframed.
Characteristics of a Learning Organization
Observation and research identifies four types of factor: Learning Culture - an organizational climate that nurtures learning. There is a strong similarity with those characteristics associated with innovation. Processes - processes that encourage interaction across boundaries. These are infrastructure, development and management processes, as opposed to business operational and problem solving techniques. Skills and Motivation - to learn and adapt processes (the typical focus of many BPR initiatives). Tools and Techniques - methods that aid individual and group learning, such as creativity
Implementing learning organization
Before a Learning Organizations can be implemented, a solid foundation can be made by taking into account the following things: Awareness Environment Leadership Empowerment Learning
Awareness Organizations must be aware that learning is necessary before they can develop into a Learning Organization. This may seem to be a strange statement but this learning must take place at all levels; not just the Management level. Once the company has excepted the need for change, it is then responsible for creating the appropriate environment for this change to occur in.
Centralized, mechanistic structures do not create a good environment. Individuals do not have a comprehensive picture of the whole organization and its goals. This causes political and parochial systems to be set up which stifle the learning process. Therefore a more flexible, organic structure must be formed. By organic, i mean a flatter structure which encourages innovations. The flatter structure also promotes passing of information between workers and so creating a more informed work force. It is necessary for management to take on a new philosophy; to encourage openness, reflectivity and accept error and uncertainty. Members need to be able to question decisions without the fear of reprimand. This questioning can often highlight problems at an early stage and reduce time consuming errors. One way of over-coming this fear is to introduce anonymity so that questions can be asked or suggestions made but the source is not necessarily known.
Leaders should look after the Systems Thinking concept and encourage learning to help both the individual and organization in learning. It is the leader's responsibility to help restructure the individual views of team members. For example, they need to help the teams understand that competition is a form of learning; not a hostile act. Management must provide commitment for long-term learning in the form of resources. The amount of resources available (money, personnel and time) determines the quantity and quality of learning. This means that the organization must be prepared to support this.
The point of control shifts from managers to workers. This is where the term Empowerment is introduced. The workers become responsible for their actions; but the managers do not lose their involvement. They still need to encourage, enthuse and co-ordinate the workers. Equal participation must be allowed at all levels so that members can learn from each other simultaneously. This is unlike traditionally learning that involves a top-down structure.
Companies can learn to achieve these aims in Learning Labs. These are small-scale models of real-life settings where management teams learn how to learn together through simulation games. They need to find out what failure is like so that they can learn from their mistakes in the future. These managers are then responsible for setting up an open, flexible atmosphere in their organizations to encourage their workers to follow their learning example. Anonymity can be achieved through electronic conferencing. This type of conferencing can also encourage different sites to communicate and share knowledge, thus making a company truly a Learning Organization
Implementation Strategies for learning organizations
Any organization that wants to implement a learning organization philosophy requires an overall strategy with clear, well defined goals. Once these have been established, the tools needed to facilitate the strategy must be identified. It is clear that everyone has their own interpretation of the "Learning Organization" idea, so to produce an action plan that will transform groups into Learning Organizations might seem impossible. However, it is possible to identify three generic strategies that
highlight possible routes to developing Learning Organizations. The specific tools required to implement any of these depends on the strategy adopted, but the initiatives that they represent are generic throughout.
For many companies, adopting a learning organization philosophy is the second step to achieving this Holy Grail. They may already be taking steps to achieve their business goals that, in hindsight, fit the framework for implementing a Learning Organization. This is the accidental approach in that it was not initiated through awareness of the Learning Organization concept.
Once an organization has discovered the Learning Organization philosophy, they must make a decision as to how they want to proceed. This is a choice between a subversive and a declared strategy. The subversive strategy differs from an accidental one in the level of awareness; but it is not secretive! Thus, while not openly endorsing the Learning Organization ideal, they are able to exploit the ideas and techniques.
The other option is the declared approach. This is self explanatory. The principles of Learning Organizations are adopted as part of the company ethos, become company "speak" and are manifest openly in all company initiatives
Why Learning Organizations Work
→ Cope with rapid and unexpected changes where existing 'programmed' responses are inadequate → Provide flexibility to cope with dynamically changing situations → Allow front-line staff to respond with initiative based on customer needs vs. being constrained by business processes established for different circumstances → The People Develop → Greater motivation → The workforce is more flexible → People are more creative →Teams and Groups Work Better → Knowledge sharing → Interdependency → The Company Benefits → Breakdown of traditional communication barriers → Innovation and creativity
Importance of learning organization
→ It Provide continuous learning opportunities. → Use learning to reach their goals. → Link individual performance with organizational performance. → Foster inquiry and dialogue, making it safe for people to share openly and take risks.
→ Embrace creative tension as a source of energy and renewal. →Are continuously aware of and interact with their environment.
Some problems and issues
Focuses mainly on the cultural dimension, Learning organization does not adequately take into account the other dimensions of an organization. To transform an organization it is necessary to attend to structures and the organization of work as well as the culture and processes. ‘Focussing exclusively on training activities in order to foster learning favors this purely cultural bias. Favors’ individual and collective learning processes At all levels of the organization, it does not connect them properly to the organization’s strategic objectives. Popular models of organizational learning (such as Dixon 1994) assume such a link. It is, therefore, imperative, ‘that the link between individual and collective learning and the organization’s strategic objectives is made’ This shortcoming, so that it is possible to assess the extent to which such learning contributes or not towards strategic objectives. Remains rather vague. The exact functions of organizational learning need to be more clearly defined. In my view, organizational learning is just a means in order to achieve strategic objectives. But creating a learning organization is also a goal, since the ability permanently and collectively to learn is a necessary precondition for thriving in the new context. Therefore, the capacity of an organization to learn, that is, to function like a learning organization, needs to be made more concrete and institutionalized, so that the management of such learning can be made more effective.
Risks if You Implement the Changes
To be effective, the change must be drastic and not introduced slowly as time is money. All employees do not want to learn and will resist the change. The openness created endangers the trust between employees Ignorance about learning; that is not following the proper learning cycle Too much emphasis on learning and not enough on getting the job done. Too much freedom and information can create misunderstandings Information overload, too much to absorb at once "To love knowing and not learning: shallowness" , Confucius The culture of the country may be a disadvantage The perils of being a pioneer.
Risks if we Don't Implement the Changes
Survival of the fittest Overtaken by the competitors become inefficient Fail to embrace new ideas and increase productivity
Review of literature
Ramus and Steger (2000) in their research paper “Learning Organizations Promote Innovation” have long asserted that organizational learning promotes creativity and innovation. A recent, quantitative study builds on parallels between the characteristics of learning organizations and those described in the literature on organizations that are designed to support innovation and employee creativity developed a list of supervisor behaviors that support employee creativity and innovation for this empirical investigation, they used the extensive literature on organizational learning. Kirkland et al (1999) in his thesis “Promoting Continuous Improvement, Innovation & Community Building” focused on how to help the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to promote continuous improvement, innovation, and stakeholder collaboration. He looked for links between topics and organizational learning. Early on, he learned that the WDNR's challenge is not unique, and that other professionals have also found that organizational challenges are often the primary barrier to effective and innovative environmental programs such as an environmental management system. Deane, Clark et al (1997) in his study “Learning Organizations Promote Continuous Improvement” make an interesting link between learning organizations and performance. The study looks at whether project outcomes meet customer needs, explaining that a variety of gaps can exist between the two. The study presents a model that helps managers assess and narrow these gaps and foster a continuous improvement cycle "typical of learning organizations. Some investigators are finding that a focus on organizational learning has great potential to build the collaboration and continuous improvement programs that promote organizational performance.
Digenti et al (1998) in his study "Toward an Understanding of the Learning Community," explores the theory of a learning community as a mechanism for creating the learning organization. The learning community combines the emotional and intellectual learning needed to break through defensive routines and seed effective learning behavior. The learning community is viewed through three lenses: 1) the vision and attributes; 2) prosocial behaviors which form a foundation for learning and transacting; and 3) cognitive skills built through community learning methods. Digenti suggests that "by combining intellectual and emotional learning, the learning community fosters a vision of wholeness - the ability to bring one's whole self to the organization." An organizational climate that fosters this commitment sounds like a wonderful formula for employee happiness and ownership of organizational values at once. Many others recognize the value of organizational learning: "…technology alone is insufficient for modernization - behavior change is also necessary. Thus, there is a growing acceptance of concepts and actions prescribed in the literature on firm learning. Marsick (1997) in his study “Organizational Learning and Organizational Outcomes” looked for evidence that organizational learning promotes organizational outcomes. He found some evidences, and also found that many experts suggest that an assessment tool is a highly effective way to promote organizational learning. Recent investigations are developing ways to measure the impact of organizational learning on outcomes such as financial performance, productivity, waste production, continuous improvement, customer focus, and employee behaviors, satisfaction, and performance.
Martin R. Camarata (2002) in his research “ theory of social exchange” has described the role communication and relationship interaction plays in creating and maintaining learning organizations. These relation-based interactions are effective for organizations exposed to conditions of instability and complexity. Attention is given to the communication embedded in the preconditions necessary for developing learning organizations (trust, commitment, perceived organizational support), in the indicators needed for preparing for this state (organization-employee relationship, valuing the employee, employee empowerment, and employee ownership and acceptance of responsibility. Edmondson Amy C (2005) in his article “The Learning Organization: Learning and Empowerment for Whom?” has considers the role of team learning in organizational learning. He propose that a group-level perspective provides new insight into how organizational learning is impeded, hindering effective change in response to external pressures. In contrast to previous theoretical perspectives, he suggested that organizational learning is local, interpersonal, and variegated. He presented data from an exploratory study of learning processes in 12 organizational teams engaged in activities ranging from strategic planning to hands-on manufacturing of products. These qualitative data were used to investigate two components of the collective learning process—reflection to gain insight and action to produce change—and to explore how teams allow an organization to engage in both radical and incremental learning, as needed in a changing and competitive environment. He found that team members' perceptions of power and interpersonal risk affect the quality of team reflection, which has implications for their team's and their organization's ability to change.
Critical appraisal of learning organization
• To be effective, the change must be drastic and not introduced slowly as time is money. • All employees do not want to learn and will resist the change. • The openness created endangers the trust between employees • Ignorance about learning; that is not following the proper learning cycle • Too much emphasis on learning and not enough on getting the job done. • Too much freedom and information can create misunderstandings • Information overload, too much to absorb at once "To love knowing and not learning: shallowness" , Confucius • The culture of the country may be a disadvantage • The perils of being a pioneer. Risks if we Don't Implement the Changes Learning Organizations have been deemed to have a number of advantages over non-learning ones. • Survival of the fittest • Overtaken by the competitors • become inefficient • Fail to embrace new ideas and increase productivity
The term paper makes several contributions to the literature. It provides comprehensive knowledge about learning organization and methods of implementing learning organization . It provides theoretical arguments how learning organization can overcome unique risks of an organization. Paper investigated that in absence of learning a portfolio has market risk i.e. state of economy, political , natural claims etc which may affect a portfolio. This market risk remains in a well diversified portfolio also. This paper has been made by following the real examples and shows that to adapt new trends of the market and to survive in the market, learning is must for an organization. Learning Organization provides a lot of information to the employees to cope up with the changing world and thus also is helpful for an organization.
References and bibliography
Websites http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_organization http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~gerard/MENG/MEAB/learning_organisatio n/definition.html http:en.wikipedia.org/Learning Organizations Risk Analysis.mht Books Nancy Dixon (1994), “Organizational Behavior”4th ed. New Delhi; Tata McGraw-hill publishing company Ltd. pp 68-75. Journals The learning organization - principles, theory and practice @ the encyclopedia of informal education.mht The Organizational Learning Cycle, Nancy Dixon McGraw-Hill (1994). Class material PPts from Miss Nancy Sahni
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