Organizational Learning – Poul Goldschadt 1998
The concept of the learning organization appears to have followed the Total Quality Management (TQM) and Business Process Reengineering (BPR) process management: Consultancy firms and the IT industry seem to be currently engaged in a fierce race to embrace “the learning organization.” Organizational learning can be described by many as a quantum leap in business management and organizational development. The cognitive turn – jump to non-linear hypertext! Memetics!
Focus Variances Business Process Organizational Learning Purpose Better quality/service Profitability Knowledge/innovation Management strategy Top/down/bottom-up Topdown Bottom-up Initial analysis Customer satisfaction Identify vision Employee consultation Typical methods Benchmark Best in class Process modeling Org. change method Focus group User development Nature of change Quantum leaps Obliterating Focus group Pedagogical model Single loop Double loop Single/double loop Work design Holistic Empowerment Teamwork Purpose of IT Limited role Documentation of prod.flow Monitoring flow/performance Role centre stage Radical new ways of IT Integrated systems Symbiotic role Continuous feedback Transparency Implementation Comprehensive Radical Incremental Motivation Commitment Burning platform Intrinsic motivation
Behind the learning organization and knowledge management thinking lies the knowledge-based society. The benefits of the BPR thought process, in my opinion, cannot be directly transferred to the learning organization, its knowledge activities, and thus knowledge management. However, there are significant similarities and points of contact. Knowledge as the future strategic resource.
In the knowledge-based society, the use and management of knowledge are essential competitive parameters for companies. The most successful companies are those that best utilize the knowledge that exists within and outside their organizations. Learning organizations refer to organizations where individuals/employees continually expand their ability to create the results they truly desire, where new initiatives and ways of thinking are supported, where there is a shared commitment, and where people continuously learn to learn together.
The learning organization is a consciously chosen corporate philosophy where employees, groups, and the organization as a whole are focused on learning. The collection of knowledge – information retrieval – is a central competence in the learning organization.
From Taylor’s Scientific management concept, functionally structured organizations with the specialization of labor, we got centralization, large-scale economy. Management development and policies and procedures for line personnel. From agriculture to industry, market globalization to planetary thinking. From the mechanistic worldview to the thermodynamic worldview to the cybernetic. There is talk of a new view of the company that involves larger and larger parts and wholes. With the learning organization, there is a thorough multi-dimensional change that transforms all aspects of the company.
With OL (the learning organization), it is not just about a new process-oriented management strategy, focusing on processes and the function-oriented organization.
It is not only the idea of simply streamlining business processes such as order processing, sales/marketing, logistics, and administration with OL.
It is not only about moving from a situation with vertically divided functions in organizations to a horizontal and process-oriented one.
It is not enough just to talk about a “new view of the company”; keywords are not process orientation, innovative use of IT, etc. Ambitions for optimizing results are not enough.
It is not about continuous improvement of existing processes.
With OL, it is about a change in the management philosophy and philosophy! A radical shift in the view of innovation and diffusion. With OL, it is about a completely different perspective. From multidimensional model inputs to cybernetic neural network philosophies. The learning organization – Creative organizational development in a postmodern world! From a mechanistic, through a thermodynamic, to the cybernetic.
Leaders Leadership Information (often one-way) Network communication Structure Process So-called rational plans Creative visions Rule governance Framework governance Qualification Competence Stability Flexibility Retention of current positions Adaptability Organization as a state within a state Outward focus (Corporate Image) Handling all functions oneself Outsourcing Profit maximization Broad spectrum goal fulfillment Individual work Teamwork
Specialist Generalist Functional responsibility Personnel responsibility Manager Leader Universal leadership Situational leadership External control Internal control Hierarchical leadership Project and network leadership
Professional qualifications Broad-spectrum competence Blind loyalty Commitment Fulfilling a job Taking on tasks Interaction on the company’s terms Awareness of self-worth, demands Permanent employment Short and part-time Vertical promotion Dynamic career development Rewarded for working hours Performance-based pay The company takes primary responsibility for development Employees are responsible for their own development
The learning organization has abolished the notion that learning is a passive activity and instead relies on action learning programs that combine learning and job performance. The focus shifts from the actual training to a greater extent than before, encompassing both the phase before the training itself and the phase after. Individual coaching may be involved. Leadership development is more of a targeted in-house process. Team building and team development are important focus areas in connection with competence development in the learning organization. Knowledge is defined as information with significant measurable value addition / interpretation, coherence, consequences of information from experts. Processes are knowledge/data – knowledge transfer. The organization as a system of decisions. Virtual organizations, i.e., a service organization, even where there is a physical product involved. The product itself is considered a byproduct of the way the item is produced, changed, and delivered. Culture takes center stage – values. a learning organization. Goals and means must be seen in a new light. The ways decisions are made change, new consequences are observed and must be considered through reflection. Learning means that the company incorporates continuous development into processes; it is not enough to simply repeat familiar workflows. Knowledge is communication, which is decisions – which are speech acts and dialogue.
Phenomenologically, the learning organization can be seen as having an internal and an external side, an inner side and an outer side, and a personal and a collective side.