Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Obstacles of Organizational Learning and Self-Transcendence: Theoretical Research Based on Chinese Family Business

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Obstacles of Organizational Learning and Self-Transcendence: Theoretical Research Based on Chinese Family Business

Article excerpt


Family enterprises widely exist in countries of the world. No matter in quantity or in scale, family enterprise takes a great share of world economy and occupies a very important position in national economy. Nowadays, research on family enterprise turns to be the focus of theoretic research in all countries, and organizational learning is also thought to be the key issue of family enterprises to survive, develop and maintain competitive advantages. However, the obstacles in learning are difficult questions and may weaken family enterprises' core competence. Thus, the article starts with the basic meaning of obstacles in organizational learning, analyzes their influence factors from several aspects (learning process, organization's ideas and culture), and puts forward the countermeasures for enhancing organizational learning ability of family enterprises.

Keywords: organizational learning, obstacles in learning, culture, leadership, learning framework

1. Introduction

Since Cyert & March (1963) firstly drew out the meaning of learning organization, many scholars give broad review on the research on organizational learning, Argyris & Schon (1978) wrote the book titled Organizational Learning: a Theory of Action Perspective, as one hot pot of western organizational behavior study, organizational learning not only develops more systematic theories, but also sets a series of effective techniques and methods. Huber (1991) concludes that research has not been able to create any guidelines to increase the effectiveness of organizational learning; Peter Senge (1999) says in The Fifth Discipline that enterprises' only lasting advantage in the future is to see whether they have capacity to learn faster than their competitors. Many other researchers have expressed their frustration on the fragmented state of the theory and the lack of practical value of the results of research on organizational learning (Pentland, 1995; Jones, 1995; Hendry, 1996; Tsang, 1997), and there are so many scholars also believe that the organizational learning of enterprise is a capability which embodies in the products and services.

Organizations are increasingly paying attention to the concept of organizational learning in order to increase competitive advantage, innovation and effectiveness. In the time of knowledge-based economy, more and more family-businesses actively promote organizational learning plans, which are driven by the following issues: firstly, the current knowledge innovation and networking are profoundly changing the internal conditions and external environment. Enterprises must cultivate organizational learning capacity and respond rapidly to the changes of environment (Bisel, 2012); secondly, enterprise managers or employees are increasing dissatisfied with the order-control mode under traditional hierarchy. More and more enterprises operate well under the humanistic philosophy (Porth, Bausch & Mccall, 1999); thirdly, since knowledge gradually become a major source of competitive advantage, enterprises mainly obtain competitive advantages through knowledge, which is the most direct source of learning and could be cumulative, conversed, created and form a knowledge-based competitive advantage (Templeton & Snyder, 1999; Crossan, 2011); and lastly, because of problems such as aging or vision-driven, organization would like to explore ways to promote organizational change (Senge, et al, 1999).

2. Organizational Learning of Family Enterprises: An Interesting Study

Organizational learning is a multifaceted and multiphased phenomenon, a complex interplay between different elements of a system. It cannot be studied by reducing the scope to one or another element, but a minimal meaningful system as a whole should be taken as the unit of analysis and intervention. The concept of a learning organization has to be more and more popular since organizations want to be changeable. Learning is a dynamic concept and it emphasizes the nature of organizations. …

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