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Lecture 2 The Learning Organisation


Critically evaluate the concept of the Learning Organisation and ... progress from which we all now benefit immeasurably would never have occurred' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Lecture 2 The Learning Organisation

Lecture 2The Learning Organisation
Learning Outcomes
  • Review the evolution of Change Mechanisms
  • Critically evaluate the concept of the Learning
    Organisation and Organisational Learning
  • Develop an outline action plan to implement
    learning approaches within an organisation
  • Assess the efficacy of adopting such approaches
    within an organisation

Big Business Era of the 1970s
  • Large organisations favourable for implementation
    of principles of Scientific Management - focused
    on organisation of manufacturing processes
  • Application of Rational Management Practices
  • Research and Innovation could be readily pursued
    - fragmented approach

Characteristics of 1980s
  • Flat decentralised structures
  • Increased managerial responsibility - emphasis on
    strategy and implementation
  • Reward of staff/employees related to performance
  • Generation of customer/client focused culture
  • Growing focus on systems perspective emphasized
    that everything is connected to everything else
    model business processes in terms of flows and
    feedback loops
  • Peter M. Senge The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook

Business Process Re-engineering
  • Movement began in 1990
  • Organisations must think in terms of
    comprehensive processes
  • Processes needed to be conceptualised as
    complete, comprehensive entities that stretched
    from initial order to the delivery of the product
  • I.T. needed to be used to integrate these
    comprehensive processes

BPR Shortsighted
  • Theorists underestimated difficulties of
    integrating corporate systems with I.T.
    technologies available at that time
  • Failed to appreciate problems involved in scaling
    up some of the solutions they recommended
  • People resisted major change
  • Costs involved

Misuses of BPR
  • Downsizing popular in mid-1990s
  • Introduction of technology led managers whose
    primary function was to organise information from
    line activities and funnel to senior management
    to become redundant
  • Employee distrust
  • Business Process Improvement
  • Business Process Redesign

Increasing Uncertainty Current Trends
  • Global
  • Society
  • Organisational
  • Individual

Environmental Progression
  • Science and Technology
  • Global Competition
  • Changing Aspirations of the workforce
  • Increasing educational aims of developing
  • Decrease in the life expectancy of an industrial
  • Reduction in cycle times

  • in an economy where the only certainty is
    uncertainty the one sure source of competitive
    advantage is knowledge (Nonaka, 1996)

Knowledge Focus
  • Knowledge is now being applied to knowledge.
    This is the third and perhaps the ultimate step
    in the transformation of knowledge. Supplying
    knowledge to find out how existing knowledge can
    best be applied to produce results is, in effect,
    what we mean by management
  • Drucker, 1993

Knowledge as an asset
  • Knowledge has become the most important factor
    in economic life. It is the chief ingredient of
    what we buy and sell, the raw material with which
    we work. Intellectual capital - not natural
    resources, machinery, or even financial capital -
    has become the one indispensable asset of
    corporations (Stewart, 1997)

A New Era?
  • it has become common place to conceive of
    management, specifically entering or having
    entered a new era (Grey and French, 1996)

Old Wine in New Bottles?
  • Capital consists in a great part of knowledge
    and organizationKnowledge is our most powerful
    engine of production (Marshall, 1890)

A Fourth Source of Wealth?
  • Land, labour, capital and knowledge?
  • Substance - knowledge, capabilities, skills,
    experience, aspirations
  • Process - learning, thinking, feeling, seeing
    listening, innovating, creating

  • Efficiency
  • Improving efficiency (closing gaps)
  • Productivity
  • Lower costs, higher revenues
  • Short-term, operative
  • Proficiency
  • Culture shift (learning org)
  • Processual
  • Changes in behaviour attitudes
  • Long-term, strategic

Knowledge or Learning?
  • we have entered the knowledge age and the new
    currency is learning - it is learning, not
    knowledge itself which is critical
  • Dixon, 1999

Adam Smith vs. Delia Smith
  • we are moving into an economy where the
    greatest value is in the recipes, rather than the
  • Leadbetter, 2000

Intellectual Assets
  • a companys value derives not from things, but
    from knowledge , know-how, intellectual assets,
    competencies, all of it embodied in people
  • Hamel and Prahalad, 1996

Organisational Learning and the Learning Company
  • Increasing recognition by academics and
  • Multidisciplinary and fragmented
  • Commercial interest in the area
  • Organisational learning informed the idea of the
    learning company

Organisational Learning Technical Perspective
  • Effective processing, interpretation of, and
    response to information internally and externally
  • Emphasis on interventions based on measurement
  • Focus on outcomes not processes
  • Information Systems emphasized

Organisational Learning Social Perspective
  • Making sense of experiences at work
  • Combination of explicit and tacit sources
  • Emerges from social interactions
  • Learning from experiences
  • Structured interventions dialogue
  • Development of models linear and cyclical

The Learning Organisation
  • Where people continually expand their
    capability to create the results they truly
    desire, where new and expansive patterns of
    thinking are nurtured, where collective
    aspiration is set free, and where people are
    continually learning to learn together
  • Senge, 1990

Disciplines of the Learning Organisation
  • Systems Thinking
  • Personal Mastery
  • Mental Models
  • Building Shared Vision
  • Team Building

Learning Disabilities in Organisations Senge,
  • 1) I am in my position - a narrow focus on
    ones job rather than on the purpose of the whole
  • 2) the enemy is out there - blaming others when
    things go wrong, not recognising that in here
    and out there are part of the same system
  • 3) The illusion of taking charge - the need to
    differentiate between being proactive and
  • 4) Fixation on events - focus on short-term
    events and not on slow gradual processes which
    are the real threat

Learning Disabilities in Organisations
  • 5) The parable of the boiled frog - the
    non-detection of slow gradual processes
  • 6) The delusion of learning from experience -
    the impact of important decisions
  • 7) The myth of the management team - cohesion
    versus conflict?

without the separation of self and
environment, intelligence as we know it would
not have evolved, the scientific method of
analysis and understanding of a physical
universe separate from ourselves would not have
been possible, and the technological progress
from which we all now benefit immeasurably would
never have occurred. it is based on our
capacity to conceptualise and build shared
understanding of the larger systems which
determine individual actions. It is a path based
on the primacy of the whole rather than the
primacy of the part (Senge, 1993)
The Learning Company
  • At present we know a lot about providing
    individual learning - albeit in a training mode
    but our knowledge of how to gather together the
    fruits of all this individual learning to enhance
    the generic problem of solving capacity of the
    organisation is rudimentary. The great challenge
    of the learning company is to learn how this can
    be done
  • Pedler et al, 1988

Evolution of the Learning Company
  • Stage 1 Surviving - companies that develop basic
    habits and processes and deal with problems as
    they arise on a fire-fighting basis
  • Stage 2 Adapting - companies that continuously
    adapt their habits in light of accurate readings
    and forecasts of environmental changes
  • Stage 3 Sustaining - companies that create their
    contexts as much as they are created by them, who
    achieve a sustainable, though adaptive, position
    in a symbiotic relationship with their environment

The Learning Company
  • an organisation which facilitates the learning
    of all its members and continuously transforms
  • Pedler et al, 1988
  • an organisation that facilitates the learning
    of all its members and consciously transforms
    itself and its context
  • Pedler et al, 1997

Members of the Learning Company Consortium
  • Humberside TEC
  • United Distillers
  • TSB
  • Digital
  • Welsh Health
  • Croydon Business School
  • Rolls Royce Associates
  • Smith Kline Beecham
  • British Rail Intercity
  • Mid Essex Health
  • Coopers and Lybrand
  • Ernst Young USA

The Learning Company Framework
  • Aspect
  • Strategy
  • Looking in (Internal Aspects)
  • Structures
  • Looking Out (External aspects)
  • Learning Opportunities
  • Elements
  • 2
  • 4
  • 1
  • 2
  • 2

Learning Approach to Strategy
  • This characteristic encompasses company policy
    and strategy formation which together with
    implementation, evaluation, and improvement are
    consciously structured as a learning process.
    Key features of this characteristic include the
    fact that strategy is openly challenged,
    discussed widely and that a problem solving
    approach is adopted

Participative Policy Making
  • This refers to the sharing of involvement in the
    policy and strategy forming process. All
    employees have a chance to contribute to major
    policy decisions and thus the strategy reflects
    the view of everybody in the company

  • This characteristic considers the way in which
    information technology is used to inform and
    empower people rather than disempower them.
    Emphasis is placed on the use of systems so that
    relevant information is available in a user
    friendly form for everybody

Formative Accounting and Control
  • Part of information this has been given a
    separate specific characteristic because of the
    importance given to accounting and budgeting
    systems in most companies. Essentially financial
    systems should be easily understood and provide
    relevant information so that everybody is able to
    make appropriate business decisions

Internal Exchange
  • This characteristic involves all the internal
    units and departments being regarded as customers
    and suppliers contracting and co-operating fully
    with one another in a partly regulated economy.

Reward Flexibility
  • Within a learning company there may be
    alternative ways of rewarding individuals apart
    from financial reward. Emphasis in this
    characteristic is placed on recognising a job
    well done as well as openly discussing and
    sharing the principle behind the reward system,
    in whatever form, it takes.

Enabling Structures
  • In an increasingly competitive environment rules
    and structures within an organisation should
    remain flexible so that rapid responses to
    demanding situations are possible. The rationale
    for this characteristic is to create an
    organisation which allows current needs to be met
    as well as catering for future changes. Employee
    development creativity and flexibility are also

Boundary Workers as Environmental Scanners
  • All members within a learning company will
    collect data from its external environment (i.e.
    all external customers, clients, suppliers,
    neighbours etc) so that all employees are
    providers of information. To allow the flow and
    exchange of this information throughout a company
    appropriate communication structures must be in

Inter-company Learning
  • In this characteristic companies, whether in the
    same industrial sector or not get together for
    the purpose of mutual learning known as
    benchmarking. By doing this the companies
    interests will be met - e.g. by aiding in
    technological advance or establishing joint
    industry standards.

Learning Climate
  • This characteristic emphasises the lack of a
    shame and blame culture. In keeping with this
    perspective one of a managers many tasks is to
    facilitate employees experimentation and to
    allow them to learn from their mistakes.
    Importance is attached to the idea of continuous

Self-development Opportunities for All
  • Resources and facilities for self-development
    are made available for all employees of the
    company. With appropriate guidance people are
    encouraged to take responsibility for their own
    learning and development.

Fundamental Elements
  • Importance of learning by individuals and
  • Effective management and exchange of information
  • Effective training and development of employees

The 11cs Questionnaire
  • Current (How it is) scale
  • Aspirational (How I would like it to be) scale
  • Maximum Score (7535)
  • Minimum Score (155)

Dissatisfaction (Opportunity) Index
  • 100 Aspired state - current state
  • Range Zero - no gap between the states
    100 - maximum
    gap between the states
  • The higher the opportunity index the greater the
    amount of dissatisfaction with a particular

The EFQM Excellence Model
  • This model has been redesigned to incorporate
    various elements including the recognition of
    the emerging importance being attached to the
    management of knowledge within organisations, the
    learning organisation culture, and innovation, as
    providing a key competitive advantage

The EFQM Excellence Model
  • Enablers
  • Leadership
  • Policy Strategy
  • People
  • Partnerships Resources
  • Processes
  • Results
  • Customer Results
  • People Results
  • Society Results
  • Key performance Results

Enablers People
  • How the organisation manages, develops and
    releases the knowledge and full potential of its
    people at an individual, team-based and
    organisation-wide level, and plans these
    activities in order to support its policy and
    strategy and the effective operation of its

People Results
  • Do people enjoy working in the organisation?
  • Is there a high level of loyalty amongst the
    organisations employees?
  • What do trends in productivity, absence levels
    and staff turnover indicate?
  • Are employees keen to be involved in trying to
    improve the business?

Tutorial Task
  • Search on-line for five good websites relating
    to the Learning Organisation list the URLs
  • Provide three definitions of Learning
    Organisation or organisational learning
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