The Learning Organization 1 Running Head: The Learning Organization Assignment 1: The Learning Organization Tiffany A. Simmons EDU 500-006016 Theories of Teaching and LearningHONOR CODE AGREEMENT: I have read and understand Strayer University’s AcademicIntegrity Policy. I promise to conduct myself with integrity in the submission of all academicwork to the University and will not give or receive unauthorized assistance for the completion ofassignments, research papers, examinations or other work. I understand that violations of theAcademic Integrity Policy will lead to disciplinary action against me, up to and includingsuspension or expulsion from the University. I understand that all students play a role inpreserving the academic integrity of the University and have an obligation to report violations ofthe Academic Integrity Policy committed by other students.Signed- Tiffany Ann Simmons406 Nottingham DriveVersailles, KY. 40383Telephone: (859) 251-4097Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgInstructor: Dr. Jessica Guire
The Learning Organization 2 In their book, The Profession and Practice of Adult Education: An Introduction, Merriamand Brockett (2007) state that “an area within training and development that has potentialconnections to adult education practice is the learning organization.” What is a learningorganization, and what does it means to be such? A learning organization is “a place wherepeople continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire” (Merriam,Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007). At the heart of all learning organizations is the need to createcontinuous learning opportunities at all levels of the organization, encourage inquiry anddialogue, and stress collaboration and team learning (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner,2007). None of the attributes of a learning organization can exist without the idea oforganizational learning. Organizational learning “occurs when members of the organization actas learning agents of the organization” (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007). InOrganizational Learning II: Theory, Method, and Practice, Argyris and Schon (1996), refer toorganization learning as an event that “occurs when individuals within an organization experience a problematic situation and inquire into it on the organization’s behalf. They experience a surprising mismatch between expected and actual results of action and respond to that mismatch through a process of thought and further action that leads them to modify their images of organization or their understandings of organizational phenomena and to restructure their activities so as to bring outcomes and expectations into line, thereby changing organizational theory-in-use.”Learning organizations utilize this process of organizational learning to bring about processimprovements, thereby enabling them to be more responsive to internal and external conditions
The Learning Organization 3that affect the organization’s profitability and sustainability in the ever-increasing globaleconomy. Amazon.com is an example of the learning organization and what it does to keepeveryone engaged in the goals of the company and practice continuous improvement to keep itcompetitive. Amazon utilizes each of the three, continuous learning opportunities, inquiry anddialogue, and collaboration and team learning, to drive its operations. At Amazon.com, new associates are not just thrust into a new work situation withoutproper advisement of acceptable standards of work practice. Each person attends a “school”dedicated to whatever job he or she is assigned to do for the company. In this “school,” a personlearns how to perform the job using the quality and safety standards in place and is assignedwork mentors to help acclimate them further and be available for questions and feedback. Eachdepartment has a stand-up meeting for all associates immediately after the shift begins and againwhen lunch is over. The purpose of these meetings is to get associates enthusiastic about thework, review any significant quality and safety issues, offer work tips, discuss work-relatedissues, impart information about meetings, work schedules, and any other information that isdeemed important. In the case of the post-lunchtime stand-up meetings, the managers offer anupdate on department productivity. Associates also have the opportunity to participate in leadership initiatives with Amazon.One such example is Kaizen (a Japanese term for “continuous improvement”). Associates havethe opportunity to suggest process improvements, and if that person’s idea is chosen, then he orshe gets to be a project leader in the area of improvement suggested. Amazon frequently usessurveys to gauge employee satisfaction and suggest areas for improvement. A past surveyrevealed that process assistants (assistants to the managers) were not as visible with employeesas they should be. In response to that finding, Amazon management introduced a series of
The Learning Organization 4professional development/leadership workshops for the process assistants. The result of thoseworkshops was phenomenal: the process assistants are assuming greater leadership roles with thedepartment and are more visible on a daily basis. All associates receive continuous feedback ontheir performance, and management takes the time to reward outstanding performance throughverbal recognition, incentives like gas cards for those whose performance rates exceedexpectations, and, of course, promotions and pay raises where appropriate. All of these practices make Amazon good at what it does and effective at being a learningorganization. People are motivated to perform at a high level, often exceeding the establishedperformance rates, because of the culture of learning that Amazon has created. And many whohave been there for years are motivated and eager to pass their knowledge and expertise on to thenewer associates, making them successful as well. Learning organizations stress that sort ofteamwork, where everyone wants to win-and everyone usually does. Such organizations strivefor continuous improvement of processes and people so that it can continue to be the best at whatit does.
The Learning Organization 5 ReferencesArgyris, C. and Schon, D. (1996). Organizational Learning II: Theory, Method, and Practice (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.Merriam, S. B., Baumgartner, L. M., & Caffarella, R. S. (2007). Learning in adulthood: a comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Wiley.Merriam, S. B. & Brockett, R. G. (2007). The profession and practice of adult education: An introduction. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.