Learning orgainizations


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The learning organization has been defined as a place "where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire

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Learning orgainizations

  1. 1. Learning Organizations Todd Vatalaro 8/14/01
  2. 2. The learning organization has been defined as a place "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. In order for an organization to become a successful learning organization everyone in the organization may need to have a paradigm shift in thinking. If an organization can have a clear view of the future they will have a better chance of becoming a learning organization than a company that does not. Robbins defines the term “reengineering” as the process of taking apart an electronic product and designing a better more enhanced version. Like the process of reengineering electronics management needs to take apart the organization in order to rebuild it. Total Quality Management (TQM) attempts to make incremental improvements over a long period of time. With TQM the process improvements are made from the bottom up and reengineering from the top down. A good example of reengineering is when Steve Jobs the co-founder of Apple Computer returned to the helm. I recall a speech Steve made a week or so after his return. “We are going to completely change the way we do business at Apple. We are going to completely change the product line, discontinue several projects and sell others, we are going to think different about everything we do from this day on.” 1
  3. 3. Apple would use the think different statement as a new marketing them. The only things left after the end of this reengineering process were the corporate culture and roughly 70 percent of the original work force. The knowledge worker is able to take information and use it to help improve the company. The process of taking information and creating knowledge will help produce value to the organization. The value-added worker will continually learn and apply this knowledge to the organization to meet and exceed the company’s needs and expectations. This proactive worker will become valuable to the company and will have a substantial chance of flourishing for years in the organization. The relevance of the distinction between thinking and doing is important for an organization to understand. Organizations spend endless hours and money hiring consultants to help them think of better and more efficient ways of doing business. This proactive approach at times seems to go no further than thought. The challenge is how to implement these changes, how to do! Turning knowledge into action is a serious problem for organization. Many times talk can replace action in the work place. A pitfall management faces is training someone in the organization by endless classes and meetings but never showing the employee actually how to execute this knowledge into a valued action. I have noticed that companies are starting to take note of this very issue when it comes to making a decision in the hiring process. 2
  4. 4. I have learned from our management at Apple that we are more interested in experience than education. Although book knowledge is important, real world experience or the ability to do, is starting to take presidencies. College grads that have interned in their chosen field will most likely be looked at more so than their counter parts that have not interned. Learning to do a task is more efficient than talking about doing it. I work as a Systems Engineer giving advice about high tech solutions. Must of my knowledge I have obtained by talking and discussing within our small engineering team. I will often give advice to my customers, and often time give them resources to communicate with other professionals in real world, like online communities. The implication of an organization that spends too much time thinking but not doing is self-destructive. Think tanks can work wonders only if the solutions actually are tested and implemented. 3
  5. 5. References Power, J. (2000). Analyzing Business Decision Processes Robbins, S. (2001). Organizational Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Scofield, B. (1999). The learning Doing Gap. Stanford: Stanford Engineering. Email address.Com. (1998) [Online] Available: http://www.cio.com/archive/060196_uneasy_5.html 4