Posted in Communication

The learning organization

I am keen on knowledge management and communications in organizations but I can’t understand knowledge in organizations without considering organizational learning. So I am asking myself; what is a learning organization?

Peter M. Senge’s book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of a Learning Organization, contains one of the best descriptions of a learning organization — one that is structured in a manner consistent with the essence(s) of human nature.

According to Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard business school, In an learning organization, learning is about being open and respecting each other. Professor David Garvin from the same institution adds that organizations should put in place deliberate concrete learning practices and processes. These range from creating a supportive learning environment -a climate that tolerates mistakes scenarios, forms for sharing best practices, forms for experimentations, to ways of reflecting on what have been learned.

Learning doesn’t need to be bureacratic. Infact, the most simple learning processes are the most successful. Consider making the following questions create a lesrning process;

What did we set out to do as an organization?
What happened?- what did we get?
Why was there a gap between the set objective and the reality?
What activities do we need continue with? which activities do we need to abandon? which activities do we need to modify?

As a manager start modelling the behaviour and practices yourself, show curiosity, acknowledge reality and ask for members input. This creates a learning environment. Start with your team and move to the whole organization.



Eco-entrepreneur and a Project Manager in Auckland, New Zealand.

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