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Learning Organization?
“A 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”. Learning organization is
Creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring, and retaining knowledge. Purposefully modifying its
behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights. “Learning Organization” is a Hot Topic:
Do one thing. Search for Learning Organization and fill the following.
o Google search yields ------- hits
o Amazon search yields ----- books
o Harvard Business Review has published----- articles

Important of Leaning Organization:
“The organizations that will truly excel in the future will be the organizations that discover how to tap
people’s commitment and capacity to learn at all levels in an organization.”
– Peter Senge
“The rate at which organizations learn may become the only sustainable source of competitive
– Peter Drucker
“The need for learning organizations is due to the world becoming more complex, dynamic and
globally competitive.”
– Gary Ahlquist
Peter Drucker – “The Information Age”
Competitive advantage is created through “information-based organizations”
o Four Critical Areas:
o Develop rewards, recognition and career opportunities that stimulate information sharing.
o Create a unified vision of how the organization will share information.
o Create the management structure that enables cross-boundary information sharing.
o Ensure the continuous supply and training of staff and volunteers that can use the

Peter Senge – “The Fifth Discipline”
“Learning organizations are where people continually expand their capacity to learn”.
o “Five disciplines are key to achieving an effective learning organization”.
o Personal Mastery – enhancing ability to be objective.
o Mental Models – continually scrutinizing our assumptions and picture of the world.
o Shared Vision – creating a new picture for the future.
o Team Learning – creating the capacity to “think together”.
o Systems Thinking – knowledge and tools that allow people to see inter-relationships.
Daniel Tobin’s Five Principles of the Learning Organization
o Everyone is a learner.
o People learn from each other.
o Learning enables change.
o Learning is continuous.
o Learning is an investment, not an expense

Critical Tasks: A learning organization tries to do six things …
o Collect intelligence about the environment.
o Learn from the best practices of other organizations.
o Learn from its own experiences and past history.
o Experiment with new approaches.
o Encourage systematic problem solving.
o Transfer knowledge throughout the organization.

Levels of Learning
Managers/leaders need to encourage learning at four levels:
o Individual
o Group
o Organizational
o Inter-organizational
The Basis of the Learning Organization Strategy need to be
o Transfer Knowledge, not just information.
o Knowledge leads to better, safer decisions.
o Better-informed.
o Knowledgeable.
o Wiser decisions.
Organizations Must Learn Faster & Adapt to the Rapid Changes in the Environment otherwise they will
be history.
The Bottom Line: Any organization that has a culture and structure that promotes learning at all
levels to enhance its capabilities to produce, adapt and shape its future.
A Litmus Test
Does our organization:
o Pursue a defined learning agenda?
o Avoid repeated mistakes?
o Capture critical knowledge before key people leave?
o Act on what it knows?
o Encourage Learning
o Encourage Risk taking
o Empower employees

The Learning Organization: Handling Knowledge & Modifying Behavior:
“A Learning Organization is an organization that actively creates, acquires, and transfers knowledge
within itself and is able to modify its behavior to reflect new knowledge.”

Note the three parts
o Creating and Acquiring Knowledge
o Transferring Knowledge
o Modifying Behavior

Learning Strategies
There are two principal types of organizational learning strategies:
1. Exploration: members search for and experiment with new kinds or forms of organizational
activities and procedures.
2. Exploitation: members learn ways to refine and improve existing organizational activities.

The ‘Ideal’ Learning Organization
o Communications
o Work relations
o Willingness to change
o Leadership
o Opportunities to learn

o Encourage free expression of opinions.
o Establish good and open communication among all parts of the organization.
o Develop better communications with the external environment.

Work Relations
o Friendly work relations
o Include staff in decision making
o Cooperate with others
o Clear statements of responsibilities
o Let talent be recognized and fostered
o Mutual respect for others

Willingness to Change
o Staff encouraged to innovate
o Staff encouraged to be proactive in regard to change
o Establish dynamic mechanisms for change
o Make sufficient resources available to support change

o Share a common vision and clear policies
o Provide encouragement and support for staff
o Empower staff to take responsibility in relation to their work

Opportunities to Learn
o Encourage personal growth and personal mastery
o Encourage team work
o Provide opportunities for staff to develop effective problem solving strategies
o Become involved in the broader society
o Be willing to learn outside your area of specialization
o Encourage honest evaluation

The Knowledge Management Cycle
o Create knowledge
o Capture knowledge
o Refine knowledge
o Store knowledge
o Manage knowledgee
o Disseminate knowledge

What Will a Learning Organization Achieve for You?
o Develop effective leadership skills
o Gain skills in working as a team
o Improve professional development
o Understand change management skills
o Overcome staff inertia
o Link theory and practice to solve organizational problems
o Create a non-threatening environment

Through learning, we:
o Re-create ourselves
o Become able to do things we never were able to do before
o Re-perceive the world and our relationship to it
o Extend our capacity to create, to be part of the generative process of life

Why is there a Need for a New Managerial Mindset?
o Change
o Globalization
o New technology
o Need for strategic flexibility
o Need for non-linear thinking
o Need to see the whole
o Need for changed mental models

Where Within the Organization Do We Begin the Effort?
Begin at any entry point that has the potential to affect others!
o Top management
o Human Resources Department
o Joint management-union initiative
o Task Forces
o Focus on one of the key organization’s issues
o Start with one department

2. How Do We Successfully Continue the Transformation?
o Establish a strong sense of urgency
o Create the vision
o Communicate & practice the vision
o Remove obstacles that prevent others from acting on the new vision
o Create short-term wins
o Consolidate progress achieved & push for continued movement
o Anchor changes in the organization’s culture

3. What are the Facilitating Factors that Encourage the Building of a Learning Organization?
o Performance gap
o Concern for movement
o Experimental mindset
o Climate of openness
o Continuous education
o Multiple advocates or champions
o Involved leadership
o Systems perspective

4. How do we maintain the new learning organization?
An example can explain this step.
Caterpillars, Pupas & Butterflies – Transition to a Learning Organization
Learning organizations are where success is more possible, where quality is more assured, & where
energetic & talented people want to be. Best of success in building your learning organization!
This is The Knowledge Era and entry is granted only to those who learn, innovate and implement

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