sample essay on organization as a learning organization

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  1. 1. Sample Essay on Organization as a Learning Organization Interconnectivity is becoming more intense within an organization as the world becomes more universal. Being the case, running businesses in different companies has become complicated and as complexity level increases, individuals and organizations are discovering the necessity of work to survive in the business world, and are also becoming more committed in the strive for excellence (Galsworth, 2005). Based on the above, the organizations are making a transition into learning organizations to maintain their sustainability and competitiveness. Therefore, organizational management is formulating strategies to enhance learning environment and such processes are also proving to be quite effective because they are inspiring in different organizational levels. Learning process is additionally facilitating the construction of an organization that is committed to the culture of accountability and trust within the organization. Similarly, having an environment that facilitates learning is a modern way of sustaining contemporary, excelling and technology oriented organizations. Therefore, it is imperative to note that encouraging learning is crucial in any organization since its a culture of learning that enables employees to be part of the organization while promoting teamwork for the benefit of the organization (Rheem, 1995, p. 10). The characteristics of an ideal learning organization in this analysis will be defined along with assessment of traits observed in such companies, strategies that can be utilized and barriers that prevent achievement of set goals or objectives as well as how to overcome them. Characteristics of an ideal learning organization As companies become educational organizations, they are better placed to acquire new skills through learning. There is also a possibility of behavior change, interpreting, acquiring and dissemination of information to members. With such, learning organizations have different characteristics that differentiate them from traditional ones. System thinking is one of the traits of learning organizations. System thinking means that workers in whole in an organization understand the functioning of an organization and is aware of consequences of their actions in the organizations. Therefore, workers in an organization do not base their thoughts on self-
  2. 2. interest but in the welfare of the organization. Complex systems can be created from simple frameworks in system thinking. For instance, an organization can involve all stakeholders in designing how well they can cope with each other as well as with the environment. Stakeholders may therefore suggest having a workable solution that may help an organization. For instance, participation of employees of an organization may offer solutions to any challenge facing the company. In turn, such participation builds a common vision for the business. Whats more, when an enterprise has a shared vision, the stakeholders work hard to achieve set goals and objectives. Even so, such results can only be achieved if they are involved. Communication is also a crucial tool when building a shared vision as it helps to convince stakeholders to adopt it. Additionally, focus is paramount to vision and it should be employed or interpreted using system thinking model. This helps to create good social relationship between different stakeholders. The other characteristic of a learning organization is the aspect of social learning (Bingham & Conner, 2010). Social learning is an element that occurs when people gain knowledge from others and works with them. Knowledge that many people possess today is generated from sharing and networking when they co-create, collaborate and process information by participating in an exercise. For instance, if an organization employs new staff, the new employee strives to engage with the others to have an idea of what is going on. They shape and modify their behaviors based on performance of existing employees as well as their experiences. This is also enhanced by the fact that people have undergone the same process and have faced same challenges, offer solutions to the problems and help new employees thus, enhancing learning (Bingham & Conner, 2010). Educational tool is also another feature of an ideal learning organization they offer (Wick, Pollock, & Jefferson, 2010). Development programs as well as corporate training should exhibit the significance of the knowledge process. It means that the purpose of learning should be directed towards rewards, improvements and benefits of an organization and be shaped by employee expectations, past experience, attitude, learning style, attitude and emotional experience. Therefore, there is planning, facilitation and program absorption in the system of the organization (Wick, Pollock, & Jefferson, 2010). Personal mastery also exists as one of
  3. 3. the characteristics where employees undertake learning continuously thus expanding their knowhow. Organizational knowledge occurs through persons who love to learn. Therefore, attaining mastery enables an individual to work progressively and to help his or her creativity to be of the culture of an organization. Personal mastery is a good example of the characteristic and it can be generated from changing certain behaviors. This leads to creation of models such as behavior change, self-awareness and better attitude towards an organization. Besides teamwork and enhanced communication, specific mental models are also developed within the organization. This helps members of the organization to be aware of the environment and the way they share knowledge. This stems out from past experiences and being the case, different mental models are based on generalizations as well as assumptions that influence the way in which a person understands the world and how to relate to it because it affects individual behavior (Singe, 2012, p. 8). Observable Behaviors for each of the characteristic of an ideal learning organization In system thinking, observable behaviors include employees ability in the organization to use simple frameworks to create complex systems. This is based on the fact that the employees of an organization can deliberate conveniently on existing challenges, thus generating workable solutions. Whats more, there is high level of trust among stakeholders of the organization. Learning organizations also encourage openness. Additionally, they integrate workforce and implement fair channels of communication amongst workers. This enables an organization to create a dialoging atmosphere thus, offering better outcomes (Blevins 2001). Technical aspects for example, of a smooth running show and actors being called in for a show among other related aspects can be affirmed is there is open communication and trust. Results of the Observed Behavior There are many characteristics that emanate from learning organizations. They include reduced time used in undertaking production time because in the end, effectiveness is achieved. There is also increase in production, service delivery and quality because all stakeholders operate with the organization at the center of focus. Mastery experience
  4. 4. also helps to cut down on costs because employees will help each to gain more experience. Other behavioral observations include the desire to enhance organizational learning and to improve core competencies (Haney, 2003). There are also other observable results including the fact that there is increased socialization in an organization (Haney, 2003). Whats more, there is better understanding using organizational systems and technology. These are some of the factors that help to enhance performance in relevance to decision making process. Lack of knowledge on the other hand in the management of learning organization generates conflicts in the workplace and it hinders productivity as well as development. Barriers to achieving learning in an ideal learning organization Failure to incorporate learning paradigm aspects may easily result in barriers to success of learning model. For instance, personal mastery can be difficult to achieve and implement because there are no measurable incomes. It can also counterproductive if it was enhanced in an organization that is not properly aligned. In such situations where there is no common vision, personal mastery will serve personal interests only for the good of an organization. Additionally, if there is no learning culture in an organization, it is impossible to achieve change within the organization. Learning culture can develop if stakeholders in the organization are not able to share knowledge, information and ideas with other people. However, the only place where learning can be adopted successfully is the place where individuals feel that they are not being ignored, mistreated or devalued. At the same time, focus on program often act as a barrier to learning in an organization. This is especially when there are new agendas being evaluated in isolation as opposed to being co-dependent parts of an entire organization. When the resources of an organization are limited, it may be difficult to promote learning culture in some cases. This often occurs in the event where learning is not given support or any form of funding for instance, in cases where workers are not entitled to any resources to help them learn new ideas before undertaking any large implementation. In the presence of work- learning dichotomy in other cases, learning is bound to fail. Resistance and passive leadership are also other barriers that can prevent organizational learning (Senge, 2006). When the management fails to put the entire
  5. 5. organization in focus and aims at personal interests only, learning will not occur. In cases where the organization fails to encourage innovation and its implementation, it can lead to demora