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BS3916 Thinking about Management. 7: Learning Organisations. BS3916 Thinking about Management 7: Learning Organisations. Typical definition:

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bs3916 thinking about management
BS3916 Thinking about Management

7: Learning Organisations

bs3916 thinking about management 7 learning organisations
BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Typical definition:

  • A ‘learning organisation’ harnesses the full brainpower’ knowledge and experience available to it, in order to evolve continually for the benefit of all its stakeholders (Mayo and Link)
  • An umbrella concept interpreted differently from different perspectives
    • Like Business process Re-engineering, Knowledge Management
  • One root in Organisation Development literature
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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations
  • Also colonised from TQM and Organisational Learning literature
  • coincidence of the rise of of ‘lifelong initiatives’ in society
  • interest in individual and organisational adaptability lie behind:
    • Learning organisation described as essential for continuously evolving and competitiveness in ‘fast-changing, globalising etc… world’
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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations
  • for the individual
    • Personal development
    • New ways of conceiving individual roles and jobs (a key part of the individual’s job being to change their job)
    • New concepts of training (learning ac active, training as passive)
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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations
  • for the organisation
    • Personal development that is complementary to competitive business strategy
    • Organisational flexibility
    • Organisational learning (e.g. double loop, learning how to learn)
    • Organisational adaptation and innovation (‘generative learning’: Senge)
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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Senge, Peter (1990), The Fifth Discipline utilises 5 key concepts:

  • Systems Theory

‘Systems archetypes’ help managers spot repetitive patterns such as the way that certain kinds of problem persist or the way that systems have their own inbuilt limits to growth

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

2. Personal Mastery

Living life from a creative as opposed to a reactive viewpoint. This involves continually learning how to see current reality more clearly. The gap between vision and reality produces the creative tension from which learning emerges

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

3. Mental Models

In Schein’s terms, these are the ‘basic assumptions’ of the organisation. Managers must recognise the power of patterns of thinking at organisational level and the importance of enquiry into the nature of these patterns

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

4. Shared Vision

Shared vision can develop from personal vision i.e. a view is internalised by several organisational members

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

5. Team Learning

Teams learn by dialogue and discussion until there is agreement on the best alternatives available

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Obstacles to creating Learning Organisations..

Managers are unhappy about handing over power

Managers typically controlled training budgets but in the learning organisation, managers surrender a great deal of this power to the individual

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Learning requires flexibility, a willingness to risk something new and the authority to try it

Managers are more likely to sweep mistakes under the carpet than attempting to learn from them

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Dealing with uncertainty

The learning organisation creates uncertainties and ambiguities in areas which previously seemed clear

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Accepting responsibility

Individuals need to accept responsibility for their own learning, not blaming others for a lack of development opportunities

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Learning organisations require new skills

Managers need to learn listening skills and be able to act as facilitators

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Trust

Reared on the concept of ‘divide and rule’ the notion of trust does not come easily to managers.

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Learning within organisations…

‘Ordinary’ people have great potential to be creative in their personal lives but this potential is not typically exploited in organisations.

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Learning within organisations…

Educational systems have traditionally tended to encourage theconvergent thinker (one true correct answer) rather than thedivergent thinker (how many different solutions to a given set of parameters)

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Learning within organisations…

Traditional theory of bureaucracy is that it consists of applying formal rules to particular cases that come before it without fear or favour. Taken to excess, this becomes the bureaucratic personality (more than my job’s worth!)

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Learning within organisations…

In any case, organisations typically find it difficult to handle individuals who constantly question or attempt to redefine procedures

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Learning within organisations…

Individuals ‘cue in’ on how to carry out their initial and subsequent jobs by doing, observing, trial and error, influence of peers, influence of supervisors and mentors. This is not likely to result in radical change!

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Learning within organisations…

But individuals also acquire additional knowledge, attend courses, reflect upon current experiences etc.

Therefore employee development becomes problematical i.e. a tension arises between routine organisational functioning and ‘reflective’ learning.

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Organising the fit between the individual potential and the organisation

Shadowing, substituting, deputising (allows the opportunity for some ‘anticipatory socialisation’ into other occupational roles

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Career management within the organisation (‘making sure that the organisation has the right people with the right skills at the right time’). This implies a degree of career planning (more common in organisations that recruit from within such as the armed forces and the emergency services

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Influences outside the organisation (e.g. Government inspired initiatives such as Investors in People) are likely to shape the perception of learning needs within the organisation

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Facilitation of learning and development within organisations

Design of learning is most effective when: - atmosphere of mutual trust

- learners involved in planning of their own learning

- learners diagnose their own learning needs

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

- learners formulate their own learning objectives

- learners involved in the design of their own learning

- ‘learning contracts’ help learners carry out their own learning plans

- learners involved in the evaluation of their own learning experience

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Action learning

‘Action learning’ is based on the following principles, enunciated by Revans:

·Management development must be based on real life projects

·Projects must be owned and defined by senior management

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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations
  • Managers must aim to make a real return on the cost of their investment
  • Managers must work together and learn from each other
  • Managers must achieve real action and change
  • Managers must study the content and process of change
  • Managers must commit themselves to action
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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

Mentoring

  • In organisations, mentors are older, more experienced employees (and often managers) who guide support, encourage and support younger or less experienced employees or protégés
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BS3916 Thinking about Management7: Learning Organisations

·Mentors should be senior but not in an authority relationship

·Protégés should have potential and behungry to learn

·Relationship needs to be one of mutual trust

·Mentors should encourage protégés to analyse their own task performance and identify strengths/weaknesses