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Learning organisations


Learning organisations Nathalie Greenan Centre d Etudes de l Emploi and TEPP-CNRS Edward Lorenz University of Nice-CNRS OECD/France workshop on – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Learning organisations

Learning organisations
Nathalie Greenan Centre dEtudes de lEmploi and
TEPP-CNRS Edward Lorenz University of Nice-CNRS
OECD/France workshop onHuman resources,
education and innovation, 7-8 December 2009
  • What is a learning organisation?
  • A quantitative assessment at the European level
    based on the EWCS?The spread of learning
    organisations?The trend in work complexity
  • Policy issues

What is a learning organisation? (1)
  • An organisation able to adapt and compete at low
    cost through learning
  • Common definitional ground
  • ? multi-level concept individual-team-organisati
  • ? role of learning cultures beliefs, norms and
    values supportive of employee learning
  • ? specific HRM policies supportive of learning

What is a learning organisation? (2)
  • Tradeoffs in organisational design
  • ? stimulate dynamic properties / provide
    stability in the organisational structure
  • ? standardisation/routine versus mutual
  • Scientific and technical skills
  • deal with an employee participation contraint to
    innovation in order to avoid conflicts between
    vested interest in the organisation ?
    characteristics of the innovative idea ?
    socio-demographic characteristics of the
    workforce ? soft skills ? group processes ?
    customer focus ? transparency and fairness

The spread of learning organisations in the EU-15
Source EWCS 2000
The spread of learning organisations in the EU-15
Source EWCS 2000
Learning organisations and innovation mode(1)
  • Countries with a high proportion of learning
    forms of work organistion have more lead
    innovators higher in-house creative capacity
  • Countries where lean and taylorist forms of work
    organisation dominate have more non-innovators
    and technology adopters more reliance on outside
    suppliers of new technology

Learning organisations and innovation mode (2)
Learning organisations, HRM and organisational
Source EWCS 2005
Learning organisations in public and private
sectors in EU-27
Source EWCS 2005
The complexity paradox (1)
  • 4 core characteristics of complex work
  • Complex tasks
  • Learn new things
  • Choose or change the order or tasks
  • Choose or change the methods of work

Source EWCS 1995, 2000 and 2005
The complexity paradox (2)
Source EWCS 1995, 2000 and 2005
The complexity paradox (3)
  • Work complexity has all the more decreased that
    forces are present that should contribute to its
    development ICT diffusion, growing experience
    and education, development of the service sector
  • Increasing heterogeneity across EU-15 evidence
    of a country effect in this trend
  • Objective reasons? standardisation?
  • Subjective reasons? overqualification?
    organisational changes

Policy issues Innovation
  • The bottleneck to improving the innovative
    capabilities of European firms might not be low
    levels of RD expenditures, which are strongly
    determined by industry structures and
    consequently difficult to change, but the
    widespread presence of working environments that
    are unable to provide a fertile environment for
  • If this is the case, then the next step for
    European policy is to encourage the adoption of
    pro-innovation organisational practice,
    particularly in countries with poor innovative

Policy issue Training
  • At the individual level, further training is
    positively correlated with learning and lean
    forms of organisation
  • Institutional set-up matters a mobile workforce
    and labour market policies emphasising
    expenditures in further training favour learning
    types of jobs
  • Could a lack of intermediate skills acquired in
    vocational education and further training create
    a learning bottleneck and favour more
    standardised organisations?
  • Need to target further training policies on part
    time and precarious workers

Policy issue HRM practices
  • evaluation practices, employment security and pay
    system based on collective performance are
    positively correlated with learning and lean
    types of jobs
  • Learning cultures mediates the impact of HRM
    variables on the likelihood of employee learning
  • HRM policies probably play a role in mitigating
    conflicts in change situation
  • Need to identify best HRM practices conditional
    on innovation patterns and institutional settings

Conclusion measurement issue
  • Indicators for innovation need to do more than
    capture material inputs such as RD expenditures
    and the available pool of technical and
    scientific skills. Indicators also need to
    capture how these material and human resources
    are used and whether or not the work environment
    promotes the further development of the knowledge
    and skills of employees.
  • Need for more data to inform evidence based
    policy taking into account the interaction
    between institutions, learning models of
    organisation and innovation patterns.
  • A survey instrument linking information from
    employers with information from employees would
    allow to build a rich set of indicators for
    scoreboards as well as conducting research giving
    analytical insights to set hard facts into
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