October 09, 2008

About Organizational Learning

What I have done today, I have conclude below....

I feel a sense of achievement as I have read a lot of info, although maybe it is not good enough.

¡°A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge and at modifying its behaviors to reflect new knowledge and insights.¡± This is the clearest definition.

The OL is generated according with Individual Learning (IL), they all have 4 steps to form a cycle.


Step 1. The cycle begins with reflecting, which means to observer one self¡¯s thinking and acting.

Step 2. After consideration and comparison with old action, we have created ideas and possibilities for action, we have an abstract concept of how a process should be managed, then rearrange them into new forms.

Step 3. Applying the concept in reality.

Step 4. The experimentation in Step 3 generates experiences, which can again be used by learning and improving.

OL is a bit the same, however, this needs to apply on a small team, department or the whole organization. Hence here we need to consider every member¡¯s participation and interaction.

Step 1. In reflection stage, we are not observer individual¡¯s performance but view organizations as a whole.

Step 2. People need to communicate with each other about their mental models and beliefs in order to have mutual understanding among the team.

Step 3. and step 4 is more or less the same as individual one.

To develop a learning organization.

OL can lead to apparent improvement in behavior and ethos in the organization and hence productivity and quality. However OL is much more difficult as it needs people¡¯s participation and interaction.

For Step 1, Leadership is essential.

An Organization is made up by individuals, so the personal mastery is important for the whole team, especially leader¡¯s mastery. As long as the leader has the outstanding ability and leadership, can he able to view the organization as a whole and understand all level¡¯s job, hence able to integrate the observation from previous experiences. The leader in LO act like a coach, he also needs to make employees to understand how their jobs and positions related to others, to excite people¡¯s motivation for getting business improved, let then understand the development of organization is also their own benefits as people only do things well when they are interested in or related to them.  

For Step 2 and 3, to develop an LO, we need to create a heaving climate and an enabling structure.

Employees usually think new vision or new way of running a business is the job for top management team. Therefore to let people within the organization have mutual understanding and new concept, we need their interaction. The structure needs create willingness to experiment and innovate and generate constant change, in this case encourage all employees to develop themselves to improve the intellectual capital of the organization. As people are more intelligent together than apart, hence the climate need to be the relationship is like in college, people respect and trust each other, free to inquire an assumptions and biases about anyone, make no undiscussable questions. In this atmosphere, people are working together for improvement no matter what position they are, and no one is killed for making mistakes, then is easy to have shared concept about improving organization and also applying them in the reality to generate experiences.

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