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Four competencies of the learning organisation

The four competencies of the learning organisation is a knowledge


management theory. It is thought that to be successful in managing
knowledge, four competencies need to be developed:

1. Absorption – taking in knowledge from outside the organisation


2. Diffusion – spreading knowledge around inside the company
3. Generation – creation of knowledge inside the organisation
4. Exploitation – exploiting knowledge in services and products.

The theory behind this model is that organisational learning should be pursued
at all times. There are four types of knowledge (expert, methodological, social
and know-how) that need to be gained and distributed throughout the
company. It is important to be able to get knowledge out of people’s heads
and shared for the benefit of the company. The model is used to understand
the learning capabilities of the organisation and to correct any problems with
knowledge sharing that may currently exist.

Generic competitive strategies


Michael Porter suggested that there are just three consistently successful
strategies for succeeding in business:

1. Cost leadership requires an organisation to protect itself against all


of Porter’s Five Forces (competitive rivalry, buyers, suppliers,
substitutes, potential entrants)
2. Differentiation – to differentiate is to offer something completely
different from other companies; companies following this route need
to spend more time and resources on aspects such as research and
design; while there is only one cost leader in a marketplace, there
may be many differentiators
3. Focus is a company’s attempt to narrow down to one group of
customers or one limited product; the idea behind this approach is to
provide products or services to one small marketplace extremely well.

Porter thought that it was necessary to select one of these strategies in order
to succeed.

The Gods of management (a cultures model)


This model uses Greek gods to illustrate four main management styles:

1. Zeus – where there is one powerful leader and those who are in with
the leader will have a better relationship with them and get on better
the leader will have a better relationship with them and get on better
2. Apollo – a structured management style where everyone knows their
place in the organisation
3. Athena – a management style that emphasises the individual,
focusing on individual success and how well individuals work within
teams
4. Dionysus – where there is an infrastructure for the purpose of the
people within the organisation.

Greiner’s growth model


Greiner’s growth model helps companies to understand why particular
organisational structures, management styles or ways of coordinating will
work at any given time during the company’s life. It is important to
understand where your company is right now, to be able to identify
opportunities and to acknowledge that today’s solutions might be tomorrow’s
problems. In fact, many problems of companies that are growing are thought
to be the result of solutions to past issues. Greiner’s model is based on the
age and size of the company, its stage of evolution and the industry growth
rate. From these, Greiner identified six growth phases with distinct
characteristics. It is between these phases that crises occur:

1. Creativity – defined by hard work, low pay, informal communication


and led by entrepreneurs (this phase can lead to a leadership crisis)
2. Direction – functional organisation structure, accounting
management, budgets, standards and a directive top management
(this often leads to an autonomy crisis)
3. Delegation – financial incentives, review-based decision making,
formal communication (a problem that regularly occurs next is a
control crises)
4. Coordination – review of planning, coordination by corporate staff,
lower-level profit sharing (the main problem now can become red
tape)
5. Collaboration – matrix-style organisational structure, team
incentives, team behaviour programmes, cross-functional teams
6. Alliances – growth may continue through merger, networks and
relationships with other companies.

GROW
GROW is a useful model that helps with coaching of staff. GROW is an
acronym, standing for
In a coaching discussion, first start with the goal, or where the person wants
to get to. Secondly, figure out where they are right now, or their current
reality. You can then examine the options or the various routes by which they
might meet their goal. Finally, it is important to establish that the person has
the will to achieve the goal.