Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

A Comparative Study of Assessing the Organizational Learning of Two Educational Organizations Using Organizational Learning Diagnostics (OLD)

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

A Comparative Study of Assessing the Organizational Learning of Two Educational Organizations Using Organizational Learning Diagnostics (OLD)

Article excerpt

Organizational learning (OL) has been the focus of considerable attention in the literature lately and a great deal of work has been generated on the topic in the last decade. Many academic disciplines have been identified also as contributors to the recent understanding of organizational learning (i.e. psychology, management science, marketing, production management, sociology, and cultural anthropology) (EasterbySmith, 1997).

In Organizational development (OD), learning is a characteristic of an adaptive organization, i.e., an organization that is able to sense changes in signals from its environment (both internal and external) and adapt accordingly. OD specialists endeavor to assist their clients to learn from experience and incorporate the learning as feedback into the planning process.

Organizational learning is an area of knowledge within organizational theory that studies models and theories about the way an organization learns and adapts. Organization learning occurs when members ...acts as learning agents for the organization, responding to changes in the internal and external environments of the organization by detecting and correcting errors in organisational theory in-use , and embedding the results of their enquiry in private images and shared maps of organization.

Several definitions of organizational learning have emerged from the literature, but the most popular was formulated by Senge (1990): "...organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together" (p. 3). On the other hand, Garvin (1993; cited by Kreitner, 1995; p. 276) in an effort to consolidate different thoughts on OL has launched the following definition: " A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflects new knowledge and insight." Garvin's definition of OL relies on the requirements that an organization must satisfy in order to become a learning organization.

Some debate has arisen from an existent dichotomy in the use of the terms "organizational learning" and "the learning organization". Both concepts are so intimately related that sometimes they are used interchangeably in the literature. The difference between organizational learning and the learning organization refers to process versus structure. Organizational learning is used to describe certain type of activities that take place in an organization. Organizational learning is a construct, which implies that the entity called an organization actually gets engaged in the process of gathering and processing information, and as a consequence its potential behavior is changed. Learning organization is a construct related to an organization that has a thoughtful philosophy for anticipating, reacting, and responding to change, complexity, and uncertainty. The learning organization refers to a particular type of organization: it is an organization that is good at organizational learning. The consequence of this debate is that the concept of organizational learning always comes first and the learning organization follows, but they are mutually inclusive. This dichotomy also implies that organizational learning is a complex and multidimensional phenomena (Malhotra, 1996;Tsang, 1997).

Organizational learning is the development of new knowledge and insight that have the potential to influence behavior. In this context, learning facilitates change in behavior that leads to improved performance. Therefore, organizations must pursue the integration of learning processes, behavior change, and performance improvement in order to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

The concept of learning has traditionally been used in the context of individuals also. Recently, this concept was extended to organizations, with a distinction being made between organizational learning (OL) and individual learning. …

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