In a bid to understand a learning organization, it is necessary to explore some of the ideas of prominent scholars such as Peter Senge. Learning organization is an entity where people are empowered to increase their potential to eliminate the factors that limit growth (Senge 2014). Learning organization offers the platform upon which dynamic and innovative ways of thinking are developed. Therefore, the defining feature of the learning organization is the ability to create knowledge.
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This article seeks to discuss various concepts that are necessary in developing the learning organization in a phone-manufacturing firm. First, the opening moves should identify a systemic network that enables knowledge creation and offers the basis for learning. Therefore, interdependence is a fundamental feature of the learning organization. Second, when moving forward, the learning organization becomes reliant on good leadership upon which it collects guidelines and creates knowledge concerning the shared aspirations.
In this case, people exhibit behaviors that are common in most competitive organizations. In an organization, there are factors that prompt learning, and in most cases, these same factors limit growth. For an organization to be competitive, it has to build the workers’ capacity to learn and adapt faster to changes than their competitors do. To achieve this, cooperation between individuals and teams is inevitable (Marquardt, 2011). However, personal mastery is an essential trait that is necessary for workers.
Thus, having a receptive behavior towards learning is helpful for the firm to create a competitive edge against workforce of other firms. The accumulation of personal mastery encourages the behavior of team learning. This improves the decision-making and problem-solving capability of the firm. Another behavioral aspect is the shared vision that is necessary to encourage the team to learn. Having a shared vision provides the platform to prosper against a competitor because in most cases workers create a sense of attachment towards what they accomplish. Senge (2014) suggests that the development of a shared goal is crucial for the smooth transition from the short-term to long-term goals. On the other hand, managers might feel discouraged to share control with the subordinates whom they see as potential candidates for top positions.
Thus, they end up working in quality team production, but only for the sake of the company standards rather than motivation. They purport to reckon workers’ ideas but fail to incorporate them.
The key benefits of this learning organization include an increased capacity within the workers to improve the pace of change within the organization, promote corporate reputation, sustain high levels of innovation and stay relevant. However, integrating adaptive learning with generative learning broadens people’s ability to create better outcomes. When a firm is moving ahead swiftly, it becomes easy for it to survive the market pressure.
If an organization shows consistency in service delivery and customer care, it promotes its corporate image (Parsloe & Leedham, 2009). Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that workers have the skills to address peoples’ demands. Through generative learning, individuals and groups can capture new insights concerning emerging technologies and provide solutions to evolving customer needs. Quality services at every stage of production are fundamental to ensure that the final products meet customer expectations thus guaranteeing competitive edge (Sanchez & Heene, 2005).
Various issues can stall the progress of learning or lead to a regression in an organization. Often, these barriers emanate from organization’s failure to promote all the essential facets of learning. Mostly, it is hard for some organizations such as the phone manufacturing industry to nurture individual mastery because the concepts are intangible. Besides, this can be viewed as a risk to the organization, particularly in a situation where individuals fail to indulge in a shared vision. Furthermore, the environment should always embrace a learning culture.
The bureaucratic structures can also discourage learning and empowerment, especially when some people feel threatened by change or feel that they will lose power when the other staff improves their skills. In this regard, learning loses its meaning as a shared vision. Other organizations have a large size that prevents the smooth flow of internal knowledge. Such organizations suffer fragile inter-worker relationships, poor coordination, and mistrust.
According to Senge (2014), indicators of active learning include the measures that ensure that an organization is growing. If the measures are moving towards achieving the organizational goals, then they are considered useful. For instance, the time dimension is a key indicator. How long does it take to communicate a particular matter to various sections of the organization? If the employees are in a position to do their jobs and meet the standards within the shortest time possible and with the least amount of inputs, then the progress is positive. The process of conflict resolution and decision-making should be fast and effective. Customer satisfaction and employee commitment indicates that the learning process is progressive. If the overall changes present support for organizational growth, then the learning organization is effective (Marquardt, 2011).
Marquardt, M. J. (2011). Building the learning organization: Achieving strategic advantage through a commitment to learning. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Pub. Web.
Parsloe, E., & Leedham, M. (2009). Coaching and mentoring: Practical conversations to improve learning. London: Kogan Page. Web.
Sanchez, R., & Heene, A. (2005). A focused issue on managing knowledge assets and organizational learning. Amsterdam: Elsevier JAI. Web.
Senge, P. M. (2014). The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. S.I: Crown Publishing Group. Web.