Task 1: New management ideas


The Learning Organisation

The Definition:

 An organisation that learns and encourages learning among its employees and throughout its organisation. It promotes exchange of information between employees on all levels, thus creating a more knowledgeable workforce. This creates a very flexible organisation where people will accept and adapt to new ideas and changes through a shared objective.

 The Learning Organisation is a concept that is becoming increasingly popular among modern companies large and small alike.  What is achieved by this philosophy depends on ones interpretation of the concept and commitment to it.

 The importance of learning was first discussed by a Chinese philosopher named Confucius (551 – 479 BC). He believed everyone should benefit from learning.

 The reason for the recent emphasis on company learning is because of the difficulties in running a business successfully in such a volatile market in relation to competition and consumer interest together with the increased pace of change.  Companies who are able to adapt and change quickly and then innovate their work will be able to change their work practices and perform better in a constantly changing environment. Change is now measured in terms of months not years as it was in the past. Business re-engineering used to concentrate on eliminating waste and not working smarter and learning.

 An organisation that wants to implement a Learning Organisation philosophy needs an overall strategy with distinct goals. Once established, you then have to identify which tools will be needed to put the idea into practice.

 Everyone has his or her own interpretation on a ‘Learning Organisation’. Most have the same basic fundamentals and foundations, which aim for the same goal, to continuously learn and promote learning throughout. However, there are three generic strategies, which can be clearly identified that highlight possible routes to developing and achieving the status of a ‘Learning Organisation’. The specific tools used to implement any of these are dependent on the strategy adopted, but the initiatives are present throughout. These initiatives are described using Peter Senge’s Five Disciplines of Learning Organisations (Senge, 1990). The three strategies are Accidental – where a company is unaware they are implementing the Learning Organisation philosophy.  Subversive – where a company has discovered the Learning Organisation, exploits the ideas and techniques but doesn’t openly endorse the philosophies. Declared – where a company openly endorses the Learning Organisation as company ethos. The Learning Organisation is totally adopted.

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 When an organisation adopts the learning organisation concept, the whole structure of the working process will change. The depth of change will depend on how much of the learning organisation concept is adopted or implemented.  Managers who operate within a learning organisation may have to change their pattern of work, the values and attitudes of their approach to work and most importantly the way they deal with employees and the way they communicate with them as a whole.

 With learning organisations, the whole company adopts a vision or a particular approach to the working/learning process. This will ...

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