The role of learning in learning organizations

Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »

CHAPTER 2 CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING ORGANISATIONS

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this chapter was to discuss the characteristics of effective learning organizations. The chapter also contains various definitions of the concept of learning organizations (LOs) and the role of learning in learning organizations. The chapter had been arranged to cover the following sub-topics:

  • The concept of learning organizations;
  • Definitions of a learning organization;
  • Distinction between learning organizations and organizational learning;
  • Origins of the concept of learning organizations;
  • The role of learning in learning organizations;
  • Characteristics of learning organizations;
  • Obstacles to building a learning organization.
  • Building a learning organization; and
  • The benefits of a learning organization.

THE CONCEPT OF ‘LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS’

In this subsection, the researcher gave an overview of the essence of the LO as it were, and points out what it entails. Following therefore, the LO is the term attributed to an organization that facilitates the learning of its members and persistently transform itself in order to respond to challenges (Ayupp & Perumal, 2008). The LO concept encourages organizations to move to a more interrelated way of thinking and in the process, address issues of fragmentation, competition and reactiveness amongst members for the benefit of their organization (Diran, 2009; Marsick, 2009). Nazari and Pihie (2012) argued that people in LOs learn how to advance organizational learning through challenging assumptions and existing patterns of behaviours, forecast change, learn to think systematically, and develop processes together.
LOs are perceived as a fundamental strategic process creating sustainable competitive advantage for the future of an organization (Pimapunsri, 2008) In this regard, Gieseck and McNeil (2004) argued that the concept of LOs entails that an organization needs to be capable of creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge and insights to its members but with limited disruptions and in the way things get done. Furthermore, LOs translate new knowledge into new ways of behaving and encourage both managers and general staff to engage in work-related learning, exchange of information between employees to create new ideas and knowledge (Garvin, 2008). In light of the above features and description, it was incumbent therefore, for this research to establish what scholars defined the LO to be. The following subsection attempted to respond to this concern.

DEFINITIONS OF A ‘LEARNING ORGANIZATION’

Literature analysis revealed an array of definitions for the concept of LOs. In light of this, Aretz and Linard (2013) argued that the multiplicity of definitions render the term learning organization almost meaningless, unless it is characterised by appropriate definition. Various authors, theorists, practitioners and managers have proposed definitions capturing certain aspects of what learning organizations are or should be. Since the popularization of the concept of LO by Senge (2006), definitions attempting to define the concept have proliferated in the literature.
The number of varied definitions given covers philosophical, mechanistic, educational, adaptive and organic spheres and thus makes it illusive to come up with a generally accepted definition. It is in the light of the above that Kontoghiorghes et al (2005) argued that reviews of the literature reveal a lack of clarity regarding the LO concept. This often leaves many organizations without a complete comprehension of the concept. Table 2.1 below summarised a sample of these varied definitions.
Aretz and Linard (2015) noted that the diversity in the definitions is enormous, reflecting the writers discipline, for instance, in human resource management, training, change management, organizational design, leadership and business. It would appear apparent that, within particular disciplines, writers have applied the term within the confines of their disciplinary mental models without seeking to appreciate the meaning applied elsewhere (Aretz & Linard, 2015).
Given the array of definitions, some authors highlighted that the LO is a process of becoming while others defined it as a goal or an outcome. A small number insisted that every organisation is an LO, which simply differs in their efficiency in that role. Some writers tended to evade definitions and focus instead on what a LO might look like. This was intended so that it may look like it was efficient, productive or quantifiable (Aretz & Linard, 2015).
Despite the differences in definitions, Kontoghiorghes, Awbrey and Feurig (2005) noted three distinct definitions that attempt to emphasize the power of learning to catapult vision into action. Yang, Watkins and Marsick (2004) categorised these definitions as:

  • The Learning Perspective: Under this category, an LO is an organization that has a vision of what might be possible and then facilitates the learning of all its members and continuously transforms itself;
  • The Integrative Perspective: Here, the LO is where people continually expand their capacity to create 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 how to learn and to see the whole together The two main organizational constituents integrated here are the people and structures; and
  • Strategic Perspective: This definition views an LO as a skilled organization at creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge and at modifying its behaviour to reflect new knowledge and insights and is capable of turning new ideas into improved performance.
READ  Key concepts utilised in IS success evaluation

Given the above array of definitions, the researcher synthesised the definition of an LO as follows:
A learning organization is one that creates and provides a platform for its members, both management and general staff to nurture, display, and apply their talents, abilities and capabilities for individual and organizational satisfaction, and for advancement into the future. This, they do through continuous engagements and sharing between members and their organization, with continuous learning forming the backbone and guiding all interactions. It utilizes current knowledge and information as basis to create new knowledge that will continuously keep their organization abreast of new trends and ahead of other organizations.
For this research, the definition of an LO that seemed more applicable was the one offered by Nazari and Pihie (2012:211) and Witbeck (2014:10). This definition was as follows:
“A learning organization is one which promotes movementtowards an organization where people continually expand their capacity 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 how to learn together.“

CHAPTER 1 ORIENTATION TO THE STUDY
1.1 Introduction to the study
1.2 Background to the study
1.3 The research problem
1.4 Aims and objectives of the study
1.5 Research paradigms
1.6 Research design
1.7 Trustworthiness of the research
1.8 Planning of the study
1.9 Contribution of the study
1.10 Definition of key terms
1.11 Conclusion
CHAPTER 2 CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS
2.1 Introduction
2.2 The concept of learning organisations
2.3 Definitions of learning organisations
2.4 Distinguishing between learning organisations and organisational learning
2.5 Origins of the learning organisations concept
2.6 The role of learning in learning organizations
2.7 Characteristics of learning organisations
2.8 Building a learning organization
2.9 Obstacles to achieving learning organizations
2.10 Benefits of a learning organization
2.11 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3 POTENTIAL FACTORS PROMOTING POR HINDERING DEVELOPMENT OF TTCs INTO LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Relevance of learning organization to educational
3.3 Potential factors promoting development of teacher training colleges into learning organizations
3.4 Potential factors hindering development of teacher training colleges into learning organizations
3.5 Teacher training colleges as learning organization
3.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 4 GOVERNANCE AND STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT OF TEACHER TRAINING COLLEGES IN SWAZILAND
4.1 Introduction
4.2. The concept of governance in educational institutions globally
4.3 The concept of strategic management
4.4. Education in Swaziland
4.5 Teacher training in Swaziland
4.6 Governance of teacher training colleges in Swaziland
4.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Aims of the study
5.3 Qualitative research approach
5.4 Population and sampling
5.5 Data collection strategies
5.6 Procedure for data collection
5.7 Data analysis
5.8 Ethical considerations
5.9 Measures for trustworthiness
5.10 Conclusion
CHAPTER 6 INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH DATA
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Summary of the research process
6.3 The data analysis process
6.4 Response rate of participants
6.5 Research questions
6.6 Initial and final coding of the sub themes
6.7 Research results
6.8 Institutional characteristics
6.9 Factors promoting TTCs into los
6.10 Factors restricting TTCs from becoming LOs
6.11 Governance and management of TTCs
6.12 Conclusion
CHAPTER 7 SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE STUDY
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Summary of the study
7.3 Research findings
7.4 A proposed strategic management model for TTCs in Swaziland
7.5 Contribution of the study towards theory and practice
7.6 Recommendations
7.7. Recommendation for further study
7.8 Limitations of the study
7.9 Conclusion
List of references
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT

Related Posts