Learning organisations The term ‘learning organization’ is used in order to reflect ‘the facilitation of learning for all employees and the constant transformation for responding to that new knowledge’ (Pedler et al. 1989, in Martin 2005, p.186). In accordance with another definition, an organization is characterized as a learning organization if it is ‘skilled at creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge’ (Koontz et al…
1999, p.131). The ability of a learning organization to manage knowledge has two different dimensions: the internationalisation and the externalisation of knowledge (Salisbury 2008, p.56). Characteristics Learning is a key capability for a learning organization. Organizational learning is often differentiated from learning as an activity performed by an individual. Using the pragmatic approach for explain the organizational learning it could be noted that learning in the context of organization is ‘a continuous cycle of generating information, of integrating it in the organization, of interpreting it and on taking necessary action’ (Dixon 1994, in Easterby et al. 1999, p.149). In order for learning to be effective and proactive in the context of organization, it needs to be developed towards two different directions; employees should be able and willing to learn following the guidelines of the manager; the organization should be also capable of learning, having incorporated the necessary mechanisms that support the promotion of learning and innovation across the organization (Martin 2005, p.186). ...
2002, p.28) being differentiated from learning organization as an autonomous centre of organizational activities. Learning Capacity of organizations The ability of an organization to learn is affected by its structure and its resources; these elements are likely to influence the organization’s learning capacity, which has been defined as ‘its ability to learn individually and as a collective unit’ (Easterby et al. 1999, p.149). The level of organizations’ learning capacity sets the limits of their potential for growth through learning. Apart from the above criterion, the potentials of a learning organization are depended on the organizational culture; in fact, organizational culture and structure are two key prerequisites of organizational learning (Easterby et al. 1999, p.149). The learning capacity of learning organizations is high; in fact, these organizations are based on the promotion of learning in their internal and external environment; because of their high learning capacity, learning organizations are more able to establish a series of advanced technologies and schemes, as for example, ‘benchmarking, reward systems for their employees and outsourcing’ (Saxena et al. 2010, p.44). Internal and external mechanisms In accordance with the book The Fifth Discipline – where the concept of learning organization is extensively analyzed – there are five technologies that highly support learning within organizations: ‘systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, a shared vision and team learning’ (Koontz et al. 2006, p.277). These technologies are not necessarily present in all learning organizations; however, in case they are developed within a particular ...
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