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Managing Organisational Learning and Knowledge

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Introduction

Management of Training and Development MSc Assignment submission - Managing Organisational Learning and Knowledge Alan Mumford (1993) defined management development as 'an attempt to improve managerial effectiveness through a learning process'. Critically discuss this statement, comparing and contrasting a range of different approaches that human resource developers can adopt to promote and facilitate learning in organisations. Abstract This essay explores the notion that organisational development is intrinsically linked to the managerial development of is managerial decision makers. It explores a range of organisational approaches to learning and illustrates the changing requirements of a manager to understand, accommodate and develop these approaches for the benefit of the organisation. For this to be successful, it argues that managers must develop their outlook, approach, skills and understanding through a number of learning processes and therefore improve managerial effectiveness. The contexts have been carefully chosen to illustrate that skills need to be developed, irrespective of the number of organisational subordinates, if a manager is to be fully effective to his employer. It briefly looks at an early management perspective, analyses why change was necessary, illustrates a link between learning and management before looking at some of the skills modern managers need. Finally, the essay will look at coaching, mentoring, experiential and action learning as examples learning approaches human resource developers can adapt to promote and facilitate learning in an organisation.. Introduction 'There are three great mysteries in life: air to the bird, water to the fish, and human being to himself.' Chinese proverb The role of the modern manager has arguably been no more challenging than it is today. This has caused management development thinkers concentrate on areas often overlooked in earlier decades such as, learning, motivation, change, corporate responsibilities and cross-cultural issues to name but a few. Consequently, the speed at which organisations must adapt to maintain a share of their respective market has continued to increase over recent decades, pushing the notion of knowledge management further up the strategic ladder. ...read more.

Middle

Also, there is a likelihood that line managers will interpret learning issues in a way that is particular to their own specialism or operational interest. Walton (1999:185) What is therefore needed is an operational relationship that allows for a partnership which involves managers, employees and specialists. A point strongly advocated by Megginson et al. (1993) where it is proposed that it is the responsibility of the HRD function to help carry out successfully successful strategies which previous lay with HRD. 'It is no longer a tenable idea that managers are free to choose whether or not to commit themselves to new HRD activities. Whether they like it or not, the implication of decentralisation and the increasing tendency for CEO's and MD's to commit themselves to major change initiatives . . . is that managers at all levels will be required to respond.' Megginson et al. (1993) Having looked at the context of why managers have had to improve their effectiveness through a learning process, the essay will look at a few approaches in which these new skills can be applied. Mentoring But what is mentoring? Daloz (1986: 209-235), for example, suggests that mentors offer their prot�g�s support, challenge and vision. They support their prot�g�s through listening, providing structure, expressing positive expectations, serving as advocate, sharing them- selves with their prot�g�s, and 'making it special'. They offer challenge by setting tasks, engaging in discussion, drawing attention to dichotomies, constructing hypotheses, and setting high standards. They offer vision by modelling, keeping tradition, offering a map, suggesting new language, and providing a mirror. Beardwell and Holden (2001:154). By any standards, this is a long list. But it clearly identifies the requirement for Managers to undertake a role many will not have been trained for, but most will have learned through experience. Jeiger et al (1995) argue that successful mentoring relationships do not just happen. Even if an organisation has a workable mentoring system, the relationship will not be a productive one unless the mentor and mentoree both role. ...read more.

Conclusion

It takes time to learn, and unlearn. It takes time to build up trust among a group as they work and learn together. It is because of this, the involvement of individuals, including managers, at all levels is essential for the process to work. CONCLUSION The environment for organisations is becoming one of intensive competition, great complexity, short knowledge life cycles and technological breakthroughs. It is also generally accepted that executive education and development have a particularly important role to play in the improvement of managerial performance and development. As a consequence, Managers have been asked to move away from an often restricted, text book bound functional approach to management, to a style which can accommodate a dynamic working environment. Add the increased value to an organisations human recourse, the pressure is on modern managers to learn, develop and produce in this ever-changing world, organisations, like people, need to develop to become more flexible, differentiated and adaptable to their environment. Indeed, the very development of organisational members will contribute to the development of the Organisation itself. 'Management development is needed by the developing organisation and sets in train, further organisational development.' Beardwell and Holden (2001:151) No longer are managers being viewed as a separate entity to the workforce, and are being required to fully involve themselves in the learning development of their organisation a members alongside all other members of the organisation. Within this role managerial development takes place on two fronts. Firstly, managers will be expected to take on roles and functions that have either been part of a HRD function or are new to the organisation as a whole. Secondly, the new learning approaches taken by an organisation such as mentoring, coaching, experiential learning and action learning require a managerial involvement which at the very least should provide managerial feedback. Together, these fronts should ensure that, for those managers who wish to learn, the opportunities for learning have never been so good. In short, 'Management learning therefore appears to encompass all aspects of individual learning in which people are collectively engaged (if only by collision) and working towards a joint outcome'. ...read more.

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