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MKM 730 : Learning Organization and Organization Learning

[2010]

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Definition of Learning Organization and Organizational Learning

Basically, learning organization has proved difficult to define. In 1995, Otala found five different types of definitions, philosophical, mechanistic, educational, adaptive, and organic, and characterizes them all as "elusive". However, through literature and conversations with practitioners, Peter Senge can be considered as the founders of learning organization concept since he has contribute to the earlier definition of the theory and has successfully disseminate the ideas that changed our thinking in the 1990s (Rebecca Cors, 2003) Peter Senge in his best-selling book titled the Fifth Discipline on year 1990, emphasized that learning organization is 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 to see the whole together. Peter Senge proposes that people diminish their old-ways of thinking (mental models), learn to be open to wide social networking (personal mastery), discover how the company function in such theoretical and technical ways (systems thinking), establish plan which everyone can agreed upon (shared vision), and then work in a smart team to achieve that goal (team learning). On the other hand, in August 1993, David Garvin had written an article titled Building a Learning Organization published in the Harvard Business Reviews which define that a learning organization as an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights. Using the three Ms (meaning, management, and measurement) framework, David Garvin points out that without actions being associated with learning that concern with meaning, management and measurement, the organization will not be able to reflect the definition of knowledge organization that they try to acquire for. Most of the employees feel that when their learned concepts, ideas, trades, and skills are being practically implemented in the organization, they feel motivated to further learning and improvement as the industry is moving on.
1 Overview of Knowledge Management, Learning Organization, and Organizational Learning

MKM 730 : Learning Organization and Organization Learning

[2010]

According to Navran Associates Newsletter in year 1993, learning organization can be defined as one that seeks to create its own future which assumes learning is an ongoing and creative process for its members and one that develops, adapts, and transforms itself in response to the needs and aspirations of people, both inside and outside itself. Learning organizations are not simply the most sophisticated or fashionable management trend but it can provide work environments that practice and also promote creativity to enhance productivity which concurrently prone to the world-wide changes. The organization will find a medium to motivate the employee to continuously learn and adapting themselves to the desire of people especially the desire of their customers or clients and even the employer or employee.

In 2002, in a website, Richard Karash, an organizational consultant and executive coach, claimed that learning organization is one in which people at all levels, individually and collectively, are continually increasing their capacity to produce results they really care about. The organization need to ensure that the whole structure of the institution is moving on and they were coherently trying to improve for better performance. Most of the organization that failed to apply learning organization concept usually have the problem to stabilize the attention among all level of employee which exactly, each one of them can provide competitive advantage to the organization. In the article titled Conceptual frameworks beyond the learning organization in 1998, Simon Griffey, a Research Director of DEdPsy Programme illustrated that learning organization is a concept and, as with any complex concept, embodies sets of values, goals and beliefs. It is suggested that the learning organization concept can be thought of as the lowest of a three-stage conceptual hierarchy of learning-wisdom-enlightenment. Wisdom can be thought of as a special case of learning culture because it provides the conditions for coming to know reality rather than increased sophistication of representational systems that is a characteristic outcome of other learning environments. On the other hand, in the article titled The Learning Organisation published in Management Insight on year 1995, David Skyrne and John Farago stated that learning
2 Overview of Knowledge Management, Learning Organization, and Organizational Learning

MKM 730 : Learning Organization and Organization Learning

[2010]

organization are those that have in place systems, mechanisms and processes, that are used to continually enhance their capabilities and those who work with it or for it, to achieve sustainable objectives for themselves and the communities in which they participate. This shows that learning organization is effort from the organization to prepare for adequate system, mechanisms, and processes to conduct the business process using their maximum capabilities which was continually process in such a way to achieve the goals.

Accrording to M. Pedler, J. Burgoyne, and Tom Boydell in year 1991, they believe that learning company is an organization that facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself. This is a simple definition but yet adequate to describe learning organization. The organization needs to assist in providing instruments, facilities, and capabilities on learning to all level of members to enhance on better performance. The top management needs to be aware of their responsibility to facilitate learning to motivate its members to participate on the learning process.

A case study conducted by Dato Dr Ir Nordin Yunus has shown that the concept of a learning organization is applicable in the public sector as well as in the universities. As Malaysia try to achieve the knowledge-based economy, it is important to have a concerted plan of action to create awareness in the public sector universities on the importance of learning organization to improve on efficiency and efficacy. Based on the article titled Building Learning Organization: Malaysian Organizations Context written by Dr. Abd Rahman bin Ahmad, learning organization can be defined as the ability of an organization to gain insight and understanding from experience. It involves experimentation, observation, analysis and a willingness to examine both success and failure.

In contrast, organization learning lays in different ways compared to the learning organization. Ang and Joseph distinguish both of the term into two different entities

Overview of Knowledge Management, Learning Organization, and Organizational Learning

MKM 730 : Learning Organization and Organization Learning

[2010]

which the learning organization as the structure and organization learning as the process (Ang & Joseph, 1996).

In 1997, during the intervention research on double looping, Chris Argyris and David Schon, defines organizational learning as the process of detection and correction of errors. Organizational learning allows the organization to identify the fatal areas that affect the business process and make sure that those areas can eliminated through the process of learning and implementation. It is a process that needs to be conducted in order to ensure that errors can be detected as early as possible to minimize the risk as much as they could.

Moreover, Fiol and Lyles investigate related literatures to clarify the definition of organizational learning and they define organizational learning as the process of improving actions through better knowledge and understanding. It is understandable that organizational learning is concern with the process of learning in order to improve the organizations functions and actions. This definitely will upgrade the competency of an individual as well as advance the development of the organization in total.

In 1984, Daft and Weick stated that organizational learning is the process by which knowledge about relationships between the organization and the environment is developed and is a process of putting cognitive theories into action. Some believe that learning happen on three levels which includes individual level, group level, and organization level, and all of these three levels must e ale to recognize the relationships between the organization and the environment from their own perspectives which definitely will encourage the creativity of an individual to be developed.

Furthermore, in 1991, Hurber claimed that organizational learning as the acquisition of knowledge by any of the units of an organization that the organization recognizes as potentially useful. This is similar to the definition given by Daft and Weick since both of the definition distress on the identification and assessment on knowledge which acquired

Overview of Knowledge Management, Learning Organization, and Organizational Learning

MKM 730 : Learning Organization and Organization Learning

[2010]

by the organization and its environment. This will abandon the unnecessary elements in knowledge acquisition and distribution.

In 1995, Nevis emphasized that organization learning is the capacity or processes within an organization to maintain or improve performance based on experience. In this context, experience can be illustrated as the learning on action. It can be conducted through analysis on previous performance or statistical evaluation on data presentation to ensure that the experience can be utilized to maintain or improve the business activities based on learning.

Besides, in an interview with Dr. Michael Beitler on the issue of organizational learning, he defined organizational learning as the processes used to acquire new learning, capture that learning, and transfer that learning to other organizational members. Dr. Michael Beitler believes that the process should enable learning that can be used by the whole organization. In fact, it must be able to transform into useful form that can be learned and implemented.

Basically, in Malaysia, it is widely believed that organizational learning is the best approach to improve organizational work outcomes such as employees work performance, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Organizational learning is no longer exclusive to the private sector and it is increasingly emerging as an important strategy in the public service sector. According to the research conducted by Ong Gua Pak, it can be illustrated that organizational learning is positively related to organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and work performance among the public service managers (Ong, 2007).

Overview of Knowledge Management, Learning Organization, and Organizational Learning

MKM 730 : Learning Organization and Organization Learning

[2010]

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Conclusion

It can be concluded that knowledge management, learning organization, and organizational learning can be considered as crucial to the business process as the fundamental of these methodologies enable the organization to enhance their competitive advantage within the work processes. In fact, those areas were vital to ensure that the process of learning in the organization will not have any barriers that limit the individual, team, or even the organization to learn and apply the knowledge in the best ways that it could be. Most of the organization that have applied these theories claimed that it has improved the organization for better performance. Fundamentally, knowledge management is an emerging perspective that came along with the establishment of learning organization or organization learning by or in the organization. It concerned with the management of knowledge that fulfill the requirement on on-demand access that promote the fast and efficient retrieval process. It also concerned with the application of knowledge which can be utilized at the maximum level of use since the management of the knowledge itself was comprehensive and inclusive. On the other hand, learning organization and organization learning can be separated into two different entities. Learning organization may refer to a structure and organization learning may point to a process. However both of the term can be integrated since the organization will needs the organization learning in order to prepare as a learning organization. Learning organization and organization learning will encourage the whole community in the organization to continually learn and transform themselves to be more efficient and effective.

Overview of Knowledge Management, Learning Organization, and Organizational Learning

MKM 730 : Learning Organization and Organization Learning

[2010]

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References

A. Beate & T. Keith. (2010). The learning organization: Hackneyed phrase or untried concept? Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://www.google.com.my/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CCsQFjAF&url=http% 3A%2F%2Fwww.alara.net.au%2Ffiles%2FAretz%2C_B__Paper.doc&rct=j&q=learning%20organization%20Griffey%2C%20Simon%20&ei=gix NTO_OKYO7rAek8O25Dg&usg=AFQjCNHqWBKsblq7eM9rSQPOlqtZgH1uQ

Abd Rahman. (2010). Building learning organization: Malaysian organizations context. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://cob.uum.edu.my/amgbe/files/019%20F%20Abd%20Rahman%20bin%20Ahmad.pdf Ahmed Taher & Dina Ismail. (2005). Could knowledge management provide an organization with a competitive advantage?. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://www.iseing.org/emcis/EMCIS2005/pdfs/Knowledge%20Management%20%20Tra nsfer.pdf B. Michael. (2005). Organizational learning interview. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://www.mikebeitler.com/freestuff/articles/Organizational-Learning-Interview.pdf

C. Rebecca. (2003). What is a learning organization: Reflections on the literature and practitioner perspectives. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://www.engr.wisc.edu/services/elc/lor/files/Learning_Org_Lit_Review.pdf

G. Simon. (1998). Conceptual frameworks beyond the learning organization. Wales: MCB University Press. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://www.eclo.org/pages/uploads/File/Emerald%20Papers/Simon%20Griffey%20Conc eptual%20Frameworks%20Beyond%20the%20LO.pdf

K. Moya. (2010). What is a learning organization? Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://www.moyak.com/papers/learning-organization.html

Overview of Knowledge Management, Learning Organization, and Organizational Learning

MKM 730 : Learning Organization and Organization Learning

[2010]

Management Insight. (2008). The learning organization. United Kingdom: David Skryme Associates. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://www.skyrme.com/insights/3lrnorg.htm

M. Yogesh. (1996). Organizational learning and learning organizations: An overview. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://www.brint.com/papers/orglrng.htm

Nordin Yunus.. (2000). Learning Organization in Public Sector Universities: Policy Framework and Strategies. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://publicweb.unimap.edu.my/~ppkas/home/index.php/news/articles/42-learningorganization-in-public-sector-universities-policy-framework-and-strategies

Norliya Kassim & Azizah Nor. (2007). Team learning in a learning organization: The practices of team learning among university librarians in Malaysia. Vol. 12, no. 1: 55-64. Malaysia: Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science. Retrieved from July 23, 2010 from: http://majlis.fsktm.um.edu.my/document.aspx?FileName=515.pdf

P. Ong. (2007). The effect of organizational learning on organizational commitment, job satisfaction and work performance. Malaysia: Universiti Putra Malaysia. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from: http://psasir.upm.edu.my/6909/1/GSM_2007_11%281-24%29.pdf

Overview of Knowledge Management, Learning Organization, and Organizational Learning