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Assignment By Vignesh .M
Role of Information technology in learning organization
THE CONCEPT OF INTELLIGENT ORGANISATIONS Learning can only occur if members of an organization are given certain freedom to decide on their tasks and the way these tasks are best performed, are provided with opportunities to search for, acquire, store and use relevant information presented in a user-friendly fashion and have well developed intellectual capabilities. Translated into language of information systems, this amounts to building into organizational structures certain amount of uncertainty, developing systems capable of providing information in multimedia form aimed at dynamically reducing the uncertainty and employing natural and artificial intelligence to make decisions under conditions of residual uncertainty. Therefore the three concepts that are
fundamental to the concept of intelligent organizations are uncertainty, information and intelligence. The usual sources of uncertainty to which organizations are exposed include: • The occurrence of unexpected external events e.g., unpredictable changes in markets, social conditions and environmental factors. • The occurrence of unexpected internal events e.g., unforeseen changes of personnel and a sudden loss of assets. • Incomplete, inconsistent or unreliable information available to the decisionmakers for the purpose of deciding what to do next. This uncertainty may be caused by inadequate information technology or by the speed at which unexpected events occur. To cope with these uncertainties the last thing that members of an organization need are precise instructions and rigid lines of command and reporting. They need instead a reasonable freedom to collect relevant information and make appropriate decisions. In this context, Information is a means of reducing uncertainty about an aspect of the Universe. And, since no information is ever complete and there always is a residual uncertainty, organizations need individual and collective intelligence, where Intelligence is the capability of a system to achieve a goal or sustain desired behavior under conditions of uncertainty. Simply, Intelligence is a property, which enables an organization to operate effectively when available information is inadequate. The ability to recognize partially specified patterns is the key to intelligent behavior and learning is one of its most important manifestations. "Intelligent behavior is dependent on the ability of the organization to quickly comprehend and absorb the changing situation in the business environment and to act on that information. The Intelligent organization is one that behaves like a living system; it senses and reacts to environmental changes. Thus in an intelligent organization the implicit knowledge of each learner becomes a building block of the institutional model. Institutional learning begins with the calibration of existing mental models. How much and how fast this model changes will depend on the culture and structure of the organization. Teams that have to cope with rigid procedures and information systems will learn more slowly than those with flexible, open communication channels". It is important to remember that in a world in which it is possible to eliminate uncertainty by collecting all appropriate information required for decision-making, there is no need for intelligence or learning. In a stable world that is permanently in a state of equilibrium this is a viable option. Such words do not exist in reality though.
Peter Senge once stated in an interview, that a learning organization is a group of people working together to collectively enhance their capacities to create results they really care about. Peter Senge popularized the concept of the learning organization through his book The Fifth Discipline. In the book, he proposed the following five disciplines :
1. Systems thinking: Organizations are a system of interrelationships. To
become more successful we need to analyze these relationships and find the problems in them. This will allow an organization to eliminate the obstacles to learning
2. Personal mastery: An individual holds great importance in a learning
organization. Personal development holds as much importance as commitment and work for the organization. Employees need to grow and work on their own goals.
3. Mental Models: This is the company culture and the diverse theories
and mindsets that serve as a framework for the functioning of the organization. Learning organizations look for how these affect organizational development. 4. Shared Vision: A learning organization's employees all share a common vision. Personal goals must be in sync with the goals and vision of the organization. 5. Team Learning: The importance of dialogue and group discussion. For a team to learn, they must be in sync and reach agreement.
Challenges in the transformation Learning Organization
The book The Dance of Change states there are many reasons why an organization may have trouble transforming themselves into a learning organization. The first is that an organization does not have enough time.  Employees and management may have other issues that take priority over trying to change the culture of their organization. The team may not be able to commit the time it takes.
Another problem is that an institution does not have the appropriate help or training. For an organization to be able to change, it needs to know the steps necessary and the problems that it needs to solve. As a solution, a mentor or coach who is well versed in the learning organization concept may be necessary. Also, the change may not be relevant to the organizations needs. Time should be spent on the actual issues of the organization and its daily issues. To combat this challenge, a strategy must be built. The organization should determine what its problems are before entering into the transformation. Training should be kept linked to business results so that it is easier for employees to link it to everyday issues.
Problems Organizational learning addresses
Some of the issues that Learning Organizations wanted to address within Institutions is fragmentation, competition and reactiveness. Fragmentation is described as breaking a problem into pieces. For example each organization has an accounting department, finance, operations, IT and marketing. Competition occurs when employees are trying to do better or "beat" others in an assignment instead of collaborating. Reactiveness occurs when an organization changes only in reaction to outside forces. Only doing an assignment because it is assigned and not continually creating. These are deeply rooted in many of today's organizations as a product of capitalism and the drive to generate more profit. The change becoming a community and a learning organization is called a "Galilean Shift". The organization is compared with the Galileo Galilei heliocentric revolution that changed the view that earth was the center of the universe. PARADIGM SHIFT IN THE DOMAIN OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Let us consider the main characteristics of a learning organization and their implications for information systems, one by one. (1) Distributed decision making. At every decision point within organization there will be a need for relevant information sources and decision support. The client-server architecture with servers supporting decision making centers is capable of fulfilling this aim. (2) Evolution of the organization. Ever changing organizational structures require systems that are capable of being modified in a cost-effective manner. The obvious configurations for such requirements are networks of intelligent agents capable of decision making by negotiation. At the high end of complexity such network would be capable of exhibiting self-organizing behavior. (3) Teamwork. Supporting groups and teams requires, as the minimum, systems that provide shared scheduling, shared use of documents and
shared project management. Further developments are required to provide systems for shared assessment and remuneration. (4) Learning, Intellectual Capital and Organizational Memory. These concepts imply information technology capable of handling knowledge rather than mere data. Organizational Memory requires intelligent systems capable of extracting, storing and refining knowledge as it is being accumulated in an enterprise. For an effective learning there is a need for an interaction with multimedia systems that combine a variety of representations such as text, data, sound, colors, images, animation, video and virtual reality as well as an intelligent support for information retrieval e.g., browsers and search engines, multi-agent systems and push-technology. (5) Virtual organizations. Decision making distributed over space and time requires intranets and extranets, web technology, videoconferencing, white boarding, virtual reality and email. The sum total of changes outlined above amount to a fundamental shift from conventional Data Processing Systems based on corporate databases and mainframes to Intelligent Multimedia Systems based on the Internet, artificial intelligence and a mix of media. To achieve desired synergy between organizational structures and information systems it is necessary to design them concurrently. Any mismatch is known to cause a loss in effectiveness. Intelligent multimedia systems, as characterized above, are particularly suited for learning and sharing knowledge. Legacy systems can be interfaced via Web technology and thus hidden from users. Massive databases can be incorporated into data warehousing systems and searched using data mining technology. 5. CONCLUSIONS A framework for understanding essentials of learning organizations briefly outlined above allows aligning organizational structures with supporting information systems. Individual and collective intelligence of members of learning organizations must be matched by the artificial intelligence and flexibility of new information technology. REFERENCES http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_Organizations_ %28Peter_Senge %29#Challenges_in_the_transformation_to_a_Learning_Organization http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-organization.htm http://www.rzevski.net/98 Learning Organisations.html
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