What is “organizational learning”
First, it is important to note that organizational learning is examined from a cultural perspective. For now, suffice it to say that culture is the shared norms, values, beliefs, assumptions, and patterns of behavior alive at your organization. It is the stated, unstated, conscious, and unconscious rules for behavior. Whether in terms of a learning individual or a learning organization, it is the beliefs about learning that, to a large degree, determine what, when, and how things are learned.
Okay, that’s a nice, general definition, but let’s get down to brass tacks. Following are the 8 meta-dimensions of a learning organization. These are further broken down into a total of 26 sub-dimensions.
P = poor; OK = adequate/satisfactory; G = good; VG = very good; Ex = excellent
This website is not intended to be a treatise or application of this concept. However, Dr, Grayson may be contacted for further information and self-evaluations freely available on the topic.
Credo of a learning organization
We continually seek to improve; we haven’t cornered the market on good ideas; our existing systems, methods, and ideas are continually open to change; change is good and we welcome it; we continually look outside ourselves for fresh inspiration; we freely adapt and adopt the most useful ideas we find; we want to meet and beat the best known performance in any process.
“Organizational learning occurs when individuals within an organization experience a problematic situation and inquire into it on the organization’s behalf . . . In order to become organizational, the learning that results from organizational inquiry must become embedded in the images of the organization held in its members’ minds and/or in the epistemological artifacts (the maps, memories, and programs) embedded in the organizational environment.” (Argyris, & Schön, 1996)
“Organizational learning is a continuous process of growth and improvement that: (a) uses information or feedback about both processes and outcomes (i.e. evaluation findings) to make changes; (b) is integrated with work activities, and within the organization’s infrastructure (e.g., its culture, systems and structures, leadership, and communication mechanisms); and (c) invokes the alignment of values, attitudes, and perceptions among organizational members.” (Preskill, & Torres, 1999)
“Organizations 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.” (Senge, 1990)
“Organizational learning can be either exploitative (focused on refining and improving existing knowledge and practices; Total Quality Management (TQM) and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) would be examples of this), exploratory (focused on creating completely new ways of thinking and doing), or – ideally – a combination of both . . . an organization’s current viability comes from its capabilities in exploitative learning (continuous quality improvement), while its future viability derives from exploratory learning (innovation).” (Davidson, 2001)
“Organizational learning means the process of improving actions through better knowledge and understanding.” (Fiol, 7 Lyles, 1985)