‡ Global Economy: Goods, services, financial capital, people, skills, and ideas move freely across geographic borders ‡ Globalization is the increasing economic interdependence among countries ‡ Expands and complicates competitive environment ‡ Interesting opportunities and challenges

‡ Increased performance standards
± Quality, cost, productivity, product introduction time, operational efficiency ± Require continuous improvement from firm and employees ± Companies improve capabilities and employees sharpen skills

‡ Only firms meeting or exceeding global standards earn strategic competitiveness

‡ Perpetual innovation ‡ Shorter product life-cycles ‡ Products become indistinguishable due to rapid technological diffusion ‡ Competitors can imitate ‡ Can overcome by alliances, acquisitions, internal R&D

Information Age
‡ Information easily available to large population ‡ Ability to effectively and efficiently use information is a source of competitive advantage

‡ Knowledge (information, intelligence, expertise) is the basis of technology and its application ‡ Accumulated knowledge of employees is a corporate asset ‡ Develop ± training ‡ Acquire ± hiring educated / experienced

Why Learn?
‡ TQM (Total Quality Management) and BPR (Business Process Reengineering) may be inadequate ‡ 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

Learning organizations
‡ Learning organizations are those that have in place systems, mechanisms and processes, that are used to continually enhance their capabilities and those who work with it or for it, to achieve sustainable objectives ‡ Organization with an ingrained philosophy for anticipating, reacting and responding to change, complexity and uncertainty

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 The rate at which organizations learn may become the only sustainable source of competitive advantage

Learning Organization
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Ability to capture intelligence Transform it into usable knowledge Diffuse it rapidly in the organization Apply it to gain competitive advantage

Adaptive Learning vs. Generative Learning
‡ Adaptive learning or Single-loop learning
± focuses on solving problems in the present without examining the appropriateness of current learning behaviors ± Based on past experience ± Short term solutions, problems may reemerge

Adaptive Learning vs. Generative Learning
‡ Generative Learning or Double-loop learning
± ± ± ± ± ± continuous experimentation and feedback systemic thinking shared vision personal mastery team learning creative tension" (between the vision and the current reality) ± frequent, nearly-continuous change in structures, processes, domains, goals ± operating in this mode is efficacious, perhaps even required, for survival in fast changing and unpredictable environments

Types of Learning
‡ 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 useful. ‡ 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. Assumptions are challenged and knowledge is reframed.

Characteristics of a Learning Organization
‡ 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 processes (the typical focus of many BPR initiatives). ‡ Tools and Techniques - methods that aid individual and group learning, such as creativity and problem solving techniques. ‡ Skills and Motivation - to learn and adapt

A Learning Culture
‡ Future, external orientation - these organizations develop understanding of their environment; senior teams take time out to think about the future. Widespread use of external sources and advisors e.g. customers on planning teams. ‡ Free exchange and flow of information - systems are in place to ensure that expertise is available where it is needed; individuals network extensively, crossing organizational boundaries to develop their knowledge and expertise. ‡ Commitment to learning, personal development support from top management; people at all levels encouraged to learn regularly; learning is rewarded. Time to think and learn (understanding, exploring, reflecting, developing)

A Learning Culture
‡ Valuing people - ideas, creativity and "imaginative capabilities" are stimulated, made use of and developed. Diversity is recognised as a strength. Views can be challenged. ‡ Climate of openness and trust - individuals are encouraged to develop ideas, to speak out, to challenge actions. ‡ Learning from experience - learning from mistakes is often more powerful than learning from success. Failure is tolerated, provided lessons are learnt

Key Management Processes
‡ Strategic and Scenario Planning - approaches to planning that go beyond the numbers, encourage challenging assumptions, thinking 'outside of the box'. They also allocate a proportion of resources for experimentation. ‡ Competitor Analysis - as part of a process of continuous monitoring and analysis of all key factor in the external environment, including technology and political factors. A coherent competitor analysis process that gathers information from multiple sources, sifts, analyses, refines, adds value and redistributes is evidence that the appropriate mechanisms are in place. ‡ Information and Knowledge Management - using techniques to identify, audit, value (cost/benefit), develop and exploit information as a resource (IRM - information resources management); use of collaboration processes and groupware to categorise and share expertise.

Key Management Processes
‡ Capability Planning - profiling both qualitatively and quantitatively the competencies of the organization. Profiling these on a matrix can be helpful to planning adjustment ‡ Team and Organization development - the use of facilitators to help groups with work, job and organization design and team development - reinforcing values, developing vision, cohesiveness and a climate of stretching goals, sharing and support ‡ Performance Measurement - finding appropriate measures and indicators of performance; ones that provide a 'balanced scorecard' and encourage investment in learning. ‡ Reward and Recognition Systems - processes and systems that recognize acquisition of new skills, team-work as well as individual effort, celebrate successes and accomplishments, and encourages continuous personal development.

Tools and Techniques
‡ Inquiry - interviewing, seeking information ‡ Creativity - brainstorming, associating ideas ‡ Making sense of situations - organising information and thoughts ‡ Making choices - deciding courses of action ‡ Observing outcomes - recording, observation ‡ Reframing knowledge - embedding new knowledge into mental models, memorizing

Inhibitors to becoming a Learning Organization
‡ Operational/fire fighting preoccupation - not creating time to sit back and think strategically ‡ Too focused on systems and process (e.g. ISO9000) to exclusion of other factors (bureaucratic vs. thinking) ‡ Too top-down driven, overtight supervision = lack of real empowerment ‡ Reluctance to train (or invest in training), other than for obvious immediate needs ‡ Feel threatened by change

The Management Challenge
‡ Make effort to learn new skills and techniques ‡ Put in processes that engage workforce in programmes of continuous capability development. ‡ Learning should be integrated as part and parcel of everyday work. ‡ It should also be energising, stimulating and fun. ‡ Getting the best out of everybody, including yourself to meet the challenges ahead. ‡ Encourage, recognize, and reward openness, systemic thinking, creativity

Relationship between Strategy and Organizational Learning
‡ Planning as learning ‡ The key is not getting the right strategy but fostering strategic thinking ‡ Think about implications of possible scenarios, prepare for dramatic changes and unpredictability

Strategic Flexibility
‡ Set of capabilities used to respond to various demands and opportunities existing in a dynamic and uncertain competitive environment ‡ Adapt quickly to changes

Role of Information Systems in the Learning Organization
‡ Knowledge acquisition ‡ Information distribution
± Groupware tools, Intranets, E-mail, and Bulletin Boards

‡ Information interpretation ‡ Organizational memory
± Archives ± continuously updated and refreshed

‡ Scenario planning tools can be used for generating the possible futures

Benefits of being a Learning Organization
‡ Maintaining levels of innovation and remaining competitive ‡ Being better placed to respond to external pressures ‡ Having the knowledge to better link resources to customer needs ‡ Improving quality of outputs at all levels ‡ Improving corporate image by becoming more people orientated ‡ Increasing the pace of change within the organization

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