November 17, 2013

Forms of learning

The EFQM Model promotes a culture of continuous learning with employees, along with Deming and his theories on organisational behaviour. However, just by allowing and facilitating the opportunity for learning and the sharing of knowledge will not necesarily create the desired results or outcomes. Essentially a key componenet of organisational learning is the implicit learning that occurs between employees without it necessarily being apparent. Most uncodified knowledge is obtained through participation in social events and activites (i.e. being able to discuss problems with a supervisor, or an employee using a concept such as an intranet (see my blog about Caterpillar Inc.)).

It is therefore important that an organisation who wants to encourage learning and share knowledge (perhaps leading to a 'Learning Organization' (or perhaps not, just a quality journey)) that the correct processes are put in place to facilitate knowledge. Creating a culture where the workforce feel confident enough to share knowledge, and ask for help is extremely important, as employees who don't feel supported, or don't feel that they are being offered training or knowledge may lose motivation. Therefore, the following processes can help to encourage the sharing of knowledge: participation in groups, working alongside others, consultation, and having tackling challenges to solve, (to name just a few) can help to create work processes where learning is a by product. Furthermore, processes such as having direct supervision, mentors, shadowing other employees and coaching can also lead to the acqusition of knowledge (although these processes may be more time consuming and expensive to run).

Much learning at work occurs through doing things and being productive, and having the opportunity to share this obtained knowledge is extremely important. Finally, appraisals can also help reinforce learning, highlight areas for improvement that in turn can further motivate employees (provided relevent help and training is offered to strengthen these areas). However, they could also have a negative impact, highlghting the gap between what an employee can do and what an employer wants them to do, leading to a loss of motivation and commitment to an organisation if they feel they aren't good enough to fulfil the aims of the organisation.

I feel this blog highlights some of the more practical elements that the EFQM Model argues to implement, along with Deming's SOPK, and that in this case, this blog covers the section about sharing knowledge. It aims to highlight how organisations and employees can share knowledge, and how sometimes poor processes can lead to adverse results.

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