Requirements for an Effective Learning Organization My philosophy of an effective learning organization is one in which there is a culture of ongoing training and sharing of information to assist individuals in growing and reaching their potential. Employees are empowered to share ideas and take as many risks they can handle, as valued members of the organization. The organization embraces and encourages change. Thinking is focused on the organization as a whole, considering the impact of decisions on other units, with the understanding that no part is primary. infed. org) In an effective learning organization, teams of employees are formed to work together, facilitated by a team leader, without the typical hierarchy and control common to a classical organization. Team members share a common goal and work together with openness, trust and respect, expressing their opinions and challenging each other’s creativity. Managers, or team leaders, act as facilitators, working to provide an environment where employees can be creative. They embrace change, as does the organization.
Managers work to instill the values and goals of the organization in the day-to-day operations of their team. They follow moral and ethical codes that are an example for employees and consistent with those of the organization. (Larsen, McInerney, Nyquist, Santos, ; Silsbee) Apple is a company which I consider to be an effective learning organization. Steve Jobs introduced a defined goal for the company, which was fluid and evolved as time and technology dictated, but remained constant with his vision to make great products. Employees work as teams to reach a common goal for the organization as a whole. Fortune, 2009) Theoretical Support My philosophy is most similar to the Human Relations Management Theory, of which Abraham H. Maslow and Douglas McGregor are considered the primary theorists. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs includes physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and the need for self actualization. This theory provides managers with an understanding of an individual’s needs that must be met prior to achieving higher motivation. McGregor believed that there are two basic types of managers.
Managers who subscribe to the belief that employees don’t like to work, must be controlled and coerced, are lazy and lack ambition are representative of the Classical Theory and are categorized under Theory X. Managers who subscribe to Theory Y believe that people want to work, they are responsible for accomplishing their work objectives, and personal rewards are important in obtaining their commitment to work goals. They can be instrumental in the creative and innovative resolution of organizational issues, but most organizations only use a small portion of an employee’s capability.
This theory shares many ideas with W. Edwards Deming’s 14 Points for Managers. Constancy of purpose, constant improvement, on the job training, and breaking down barriers within the organization are just a few of Mr. Deming’s points that are consistent with the Human Relations Theory. (Hartmann) Potential Limitations for Diverse, Multicultural, or International Organizations In today’s diverse, multicultural, or international organizations, there are unique challenges for organizations in implementing the components required for a successful learning environment.
Culture, language, religion, customs and disabilities can provide additional challenges to a learning organization. For example, a Muslim employee or customer may have cultural, language or religious requirements that conflict with typical organizational practices, such as their need to pray at specific times, the need for Halal foods, and a failure to understand slang. It is also important to provide ongoing training to educate the workforce about disabilities. Training must be provided to assist employees in understanding and respecting disabled customers and employees, and the additional challenges they face.
Multinational corporations face an even more difficult challenge based on their size, the scattered locations of their employees, and the number of cultures that can be found among their employees and customers. Multinationals and diverse corporations are limited in the time and money they are able to dedicate to these cultures as part of the learning experience. The failure to include diversity education may result in the loss of great talent or lack of motivation of these employees and loss of customers. (Friedman & Awoo, 2002) Conclusion
My philosophy of a learning organization is in stark contrast to that of the Classical Theory. By fragmenting an organization, limiting an employee’s role, assuming that monetary compensation will provide sufficient motivation, and removing the ability to make decisions and exhibit their natural creativity, an organization is limiting this resource and limiting the growth and profitability of the organization. It’s important for any organization to understand that people are their most valuable asset. (Lenenburg, 2010)
Fortune. 2009). Friedman, H. H. , & Awoo, T. (2002). Workplace Diversity: The Key to Survival and Growth. Retrieved September 9, 2012, from University of West Georgia: http://www. westga. edu/~bquest/2002/diversity. htm Hartmann, S. W. (n. d. ). Management Theory. Retrieved Sept 6, 2012, from Association of Management/International Association of Management: http://www. aom-iaom. org/archives. html infed. org. (n. d. ). Peter Senge and the Learning Organization. Retrieved Sept 4, 2012, from infed. org: http://www. infed. org/thinkers/senge. htm Larsen, K. McInerney, C. , Nyquist, C. , Santos, A. , & Silsbee, D. (n. d. ). Learning Organizations. Retrieved September 4, 2012, from Leeds School of Business, Colorado University – Boulder: http://leeds-faculty. colorado. edu/larsenk/learnorg/index. html Lenenburg, F. C. (2010). The Demise of Bureaucracy and Emergent Models of Organizational Structure. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from National Forum: http://www. nationalforum. com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Lunenburg,%20Fred%20C. %20The%20Demise%20of%20Bureaucracy%20Schooling%20V1%20N1,%202010. docx. pdf