Organisation’s approach to Learning
Learning is an integral professional consideration in the contemporary decades and modern organisations are currently acknowledging the imperativeness of continuation of learning and development among employees (Chawla & Renesch 2006).
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The learning process must prevail throughout the professional life and it is quite significant for organisations in the competitive business environment of nowadays to prepare their workforce to meet the endless corporate challenges.
As postulated by Davies and Nutley (2000), learning is something achievable by individuals, but “learning organisations’ can configure themselves to maximise, mobilise, and retain this learning potential” (p. 998).
Commenting on the same, Davies and Nutley (2000) assert that organisations hunt for enhanced learning primarily to maintain competence and organisational flexibility to challenges within the rapidly changing and uncertain environment as well as enhancing their innovation within the business world.
Central to such factors, part of this portfolio evaluates and analyses organisational learning while focusing on its policies and regulation that depict the presence of practices and approaches to learning and development.
Synopsis of the organisation
The organisation in the discussion herein is Crowe Horwath (HK) CPA limited, which is a CPA organisation operating under Crowe Horwath International situated in Hong Kong (Crowe Horwath 2013). The company entails providing a continuum of professional financial-related services, including risk management, auditing, tax, business advisory services, merger and acquisition, as well as corporate counselling (Crowe Horwath 2013).
The company has approximately 20 directors and over 300 supporting teams and professionals possessing strong technical skills. The company enjoys extensive resource support from the main Crowe Horwath International that enables them to provide services at the international scene (Crowe Horwath 2013).
Crowe Horwath (HK) CPA limited has been triumphant for several years of its operations and one of the factors articulated in its service charter is the presence of professional workers, which may deem untrue by simply examining the company on a shallow view.
This section of this portfolio examines organisation’s policy, practices, and approaches to learning and development that depict learning and development (L&D) in Crowe Horwath.
Presence of well-articulated policy structure
Crowe Horwath has been serving under a strong service charter that may significantly prove its dedication and determination towards achieving learning and development in the workplace. Based on its website, there is substantial evidence that may portray the prevalence of learning and development in Crowe Horwath.
According to Crowe Horwath (2013), the company’s philosophy states, “We value relationships, and regard our clients, team members, and colleagues from the network as long-term partners” (Para. 4).
However, most important to look at in Crowe Horwath that depicts dedication to L&D is what they call “our guiding principles”, which state that the company’s core principle is to maintain professional excellence, objectivity, and integrity (Crowe Horwath 2013).
According to Clifford (2007), organisational learning is evident within the stated policies and objectives. As noted by Smith and Sadler-Smith (2011), policies are essential in depicting company’s focus to the development of different issues in organisations.
One of the major policies demonstrating dedication of Crowe Horwath to learning and development is the policy of ACCA Approved Employer – Professional Development (Crowe Horwath 2013). This form of practice depicts organisational learning and development in the sense that ACCA supports employees in Crowe Horwath to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through integrated professional learning practices.
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According to suppositions made by Yaeger and Sorenson (2009), employees’ learning and professional development policies must involve ongoing factors and certain programs must prove available to accomplish such policies.
In Crowe Horwath, as noted from its website, the company reviews issues pertaining to employee satisfaction, including aspects relating to their motivation in working and more recently, learning and development have been on frequent citation as a motivational factor (Crowe Horwath 2013).
Since the company seeks fast-growing company and reputation, the CEO states from the website that in return, “we offer professional development, training, and an excellent working environment (Crowe Horwath 2013, Para 1). This assertion shows the company’s dedication to L&D.
Practices of L&D in Crowe Horwath
Examining corporate practices can be the best way of examining whether an organisation portrays evidences of learning and development and as noted by Hoyrup (2004), the organisation must show support and guidance that leads to developmental learning.
This aspect is normally evident from how the organisation dedicates its efforts to practices and approaches to learning and development. Based on the company profile of Crowe Horwath (HK) CPA limited, there is the presence of continuing education and training programmes (Crowe Horwath 2013).
Stated from its website, “We encourage and help our employees to enhance their skills through ongoing internal and external professional development events” (Crowe Horwath 2013, Para 2). Among integral learning and development issues that show evidence of existence of L&D as postulated by Sadler-Smith (2006), is the presence of consultants and other employee support systems that enhance learning and development.
The organisation also supports employees while undertaking their professional development studies and this aspect is evident from its Human Resource Management team that has been supportive to learning and development.
Availability of technology and other supportive resources
The organisational learning and development have been achievable through numerous supportive features, including availability of resource strength, including financial and organisational equipment. Technology in the contemporary decades has been in the forefront in propelling attitudes towards L&D with numerous learning frameworks enabled through modern technologies (Gibb 2002).
According to Chawla and Renesch (2006), learning and development in organisations is in the form of continued research and development (R&D) in most cases. As postulated by Davies and Nutley (2000), availability of information and communication technologies has been important in developing research and development in the modern workforce.
Comprehensive research and development programs within Crowe Horwath (HK) CPA Limited have existed throughout its operations and among the programs and drawing evidence from its website it states, “Our clients include entrepreneurs who operate in information technology, communications, and advanced manufacturing” (Crowe Horwath 2013, Para. 1).
In its operations, all the accounting and financial related services include market-oriented R&D that provides data on the market trends.
Action Plan and Commentary
Effective management in organisations depends on quite a number of interconnected matters that directly or indirectly, personal or organisational aspects, influence development of essential management concepts and behaviours (Connor & Pokora 2012).
It is normally important for managers of the contemporary business paradigm to understand the influence of learning and development during their operations in organisations and one of the integral matters, in this case, is planning. Failure to plan leads to failure to achieve the intended purposes whether individually or in organisations, and thus managers must be competent in planning.
According to Butterfield (2010), managers normally bear numerous managerial responsibilities, including developing effective working relationships, which is normally a challenge since management entails dealing with grown-ups.
Since managers certainly dislike failure, developing action plans to handle critical matters has become among the most imperative approaches (Butterfield 2010). This section of this portfolio generates an integrated action plan and commentary that entails building effective working relationships and specifically, ‘teamwork.’
Understanding the problem
Teamwork has been a critical issue within organisations and has always correlated directly with organisational success. According to DTI (2012), teamwork may refer to groups or persons with complementary knowledge committed towards achieving a common purpose. More often workers tend to perform their duties individually with little concern about the welfare of each other within organisations (Butterfield 2010).
Before commencing on anything upon developing the teamwork action plan, this portfolio will consider evaluating the extent of the problem in the first place. This move will provide a limelight and insight into the prevailing situation and the appropriateness of developing the action plan for this matter as recommended by Connor and Pokora (2012).
In developing an understanding to the problem and its extension, the plan will consider undertaking a broad research and interviews questioning on the extent of the teamwork problem, major causes, and possible impacts to the organisation from perceptions held by the workforce, including the management.
Developing a systematic approach and the model to employ
3-dimentional teamwork model will be imperative in this case. The systematic approach in this case, which is essentially the entourage to tackling the teamwork issue from the background will involve two most integral approaches in the first phase.
As noticed by DTI (2012), getting people prepared against certain changes is the best approach to initiate an important program or activity in any organisation that respects human capital in its success. More practically, success in any project begins with the workforce itself, and as noted by Butterfield (2010), the only way to get rid of the workforce is to get rid management or leadership first.
DTI (2012) notes, “Effective teamwork may be undermined by a variety of problems; for example, disorganisation, poor communication, misunderstandings, or inadequate procedures for problem-solving” (p.12).
In a bid to ensure that the plan succeeds, managers will undergo one-month training on how to integrate teamwork aspects to the workforce through workshops. Thereafter, these trained managers will help the entire workforce to develop working groups that will work towards achieving stated targets.
Developing shared vision and team objectives
Following the recommendation made by Yeh, Smith, Jennings, and Castro (2006), as aforementioned earlier, this stage underscores a point where the 3-dimentional teamwork approach will prove significant.
From their argument, Yeh, Smith, Jennings, and Castro (2006) affirm, “The 3-dimensional teamwork model must have leadership willing to commit to supporting the teams and providing environments conducive to team success” (p.194).
Subsequently, during the development of workforce teamwork in the case of this action plan, managers will be responsible for delivery of the objectivity of the action plan within the developed managers-workforce groups.
One important aspect to consider while using the 3-dimentional teamwork approach is for leadership to ensure that mission, vision, goals, and company values are considerable factors in their targeted projects (Yeh, Smith, Jennings, & Castro 2006).
From this point, these autonomous teams developed under managers leadership will harmoniously engage in choosing a certain project, developing shared mission, vision, and team objectives that will act as necessary guidance towards achieving the project successfully.
Setting supportive platforms
In the teamwork action plan expected to yield positive results through combined efforts and emphasised cooperation, supportive strategies to enable the teams achieve will be imperative. According to Yeh, Smith, Jennings, and Castro (2006), for the projects under the autonomous groups to remain unshaken and finally prove successful in their project development, emotional, physical, and resource support is essential.
For the leaders, as postulated by DTI (2012), they have a great responsibility of providing the teams with supportive working climate with openness, mutual respect, and trust that promotes cooperation and loyalty among team members. Psychologically, supporting the team members in developing agreeable objectives, mission, and goals enhances hope among group members.
Managers should assist in devising a work plan that articulates each member’s task and ensure that membership contribution enhances cooperation among group members (DTI 2012). In resource terms, the organisation should provide managers with financial resources to ensure that the projects reach their goals without inconveniences that lower member’s morale. See figure 1.
(Source: Yeh, Smith, Jennings, & Castro 2006)
Measuring potential outcomes
The 3-dimentional teamwork approach models emphasise on team goals coupled with what and how teams will work towards achieving the main goal of the projects (Yeh, Smith, Jennings, & Castro 2006). Team goal is what will be the focus of all the autonomous groups developed under the manager’s watch.
Since all the groups will be aiming towards certain targets within their projects, means of measuring the outcomes of the projects will be important in the study (Connor & Pokora 2012). Within the developed groups, special individuals will keep analysing events, situations, and issues as they progress throughout the evolutionary teamwork process, including renewal, development, and formation stages.
During the process, managers, on the other hand, will be undertaking individual assessments and evaluations on the progress of each autonomous group. The reports documented from the managers and special individuals will be collected and taken to the committee of management experts within the organisation that will produce a final report regarding performance of each group.
Commentary (expected challenges)
Achieving teamwork through the 3-dimentional teamwork model might not be easy and a number of challenges might protract from the projects. Since the project of teamwork plan may deem new and unusual for the workforce, issues pertaining to oppositions from uncooperative workers may be significant as others may find it a waste of time.
Individual social affairs that may lead to absenteeism for group activities may lead to underachievement of the intended objectives following loss of member’s motivation. Since the projects may be time-consuming and engaging, most of which will require special dedication, including developing and devising work plan that consumes individual’s time, may create pressure against members and force them to quite groups.
For the slow learners, the projects may remain unsuccessful depending on an individual’s abilities to learn and understand the aims and processes of undertaking the projects as designed and mentored by the managers.
A Reflective Account on MBA Learning Experience
Learning is an intellectual tool for success and normally it entails a continuous process and has currently become one of the most anticipated achievements in the contemporary decades and a professional consideration as well (Bossche et al. 2011).
Learning remains successful only when learners engaged in certain learning process are capable of demonstrating high levels of their comprehension about certain concepts and aspects achieved in the due course of the learning process.
In other words, students participating in any learning program need to demonstrate their level of understanding of the significant learning process outcomes through reflective learning assessment. Master of Business Administration (MBA) has become trendy in education.
A continuum of studies has been augmenting and questioning the impact of MBA learning program in the business administration paradigm with a substantial difference existing between the learning theory and professional management practices (Reynolds & Vince 2007).
On completion on my MBA, I have managed to acquire significant information on the MBA experiences that may deem noteworthy to aspiring and prospective students.
Perceived quandary in MBA learning
Many studies have emerged since the advent of the MBA program in the business administration paradigm, a mixture of reactions have protracted from these studies (Reynolds & Vince 2007). MBA program has faced significant criticisms from some researchers and this has tinted the perceptions on the imperativeness and effectiveness of MBA.
According to report documented by Bossche et al. (2011), there has been dysfunction and failures of both traditional and contemporary MBA programs, with a view of its theoretical approach to practical management. Based on the notions of this report, MBA program has consistently failed to build student competencies in self-confidence, communication, leadership in managing careers (Bossche et al. 2011).
MBA has failed to utilise genuine background student experiences, many of its programs do not integrate multiple functional disciplines regarding decision making, and finally few programs prepare students for life-long learning careers (Bossche et al. 2011). To disregard such statements, I have developed this portfolio primarily to demonstrate the realities behind MBA and dispute negative convictions towards MBA program.
MBA expands learning exposure
The MBA learning process is not merely efforts by instructors to raise graduates with managerial expertise through directive learning process, but it is one of the most advanced learning programs of the current decades (Wankel & DeFillippi 2004). Unlike other learning programs in the higher education paradigm, MBA is the most engaging and interactive learning that is evident from the beginning of the learning process.
Peterson’s (2009) asserts, “MBA students have the opportunity to shape their own MBA experiences by choosing from a long list of electives, practical experiences, and certificate options” (p.5).
In a bid to understand better the aspects relating to the effectiveness of the MBA learning program in improving learning skills and exposure, one should understand that the MBA program entails self-awareness.
With approximately 60-70 hours of academic involvement on a weekly basis, it shows that the learning environment enhances excellent teaching and learning (Peterson’s 2009). For one to understand how MBA enhances learning exposure, it is imperative to understand the curriculum of MBA itself.
While undertaking this course, I noted that MBA is an integrated learning that offers broad learning exposure. As postulated by Peterson’s (2009), the MBA curriculum has always been project-based and cross-functional.
Unlike in other programs, I noticed that MBA enabled learners in our class to engage in multiple learning tasks, including class consulting projects, in-depth coverage, and analysis on the case and survey studies, and internship programs.
According to Mintzberg (2005), these projects and learning procedures, which engage student in intensive commitment, lead to the development of critical learning skills. From my personal learning experience within the MBA program just as noted by Wankel and DeFillippi (2004), I attained substantial knowledge on important learning procedures that are indispensable in the profession itself.
My experience within the class consulting projects that involved adapting and acquiring important leadership skills through teamwork, cooperation, and self-management, with activities embedded within this program increasing my learning exposure. Research skills through dissertation processes increased considerably.
MBA provides significant management skills
From the beginning of the MBA class, student within my university, akin to several other universities and higher institutions, got the opportunities to learn a continuum of tools that uphold management decision-making skills coupled with how they would apply them to real organisations, just like most MBA students as noted by Verzuh (2011).
As articulated by Reynolds and Vince (2007), the MBA learning program is an all-inclusive learning process that engages learners into real management functions.
Reinforcing this judgement from my personal MBA learning exposure, this program enabled me to develop important interpersonal skills, including leadership skills, communication skills, and teambuilding skills and at the same time, this process was experimental learning.
As affirmed by Calibre (2010), MBA offers a flexible learning experience that result to producing independent and competent managers through instrumental learning and prior to engaging in MBA learning program, I have noticed great changes in personal leadership skills. From my experience with the MBA learning program, real managers emerge from this program.
MBA develops professionalism in management
There has been a sticky notion among cons of MBA program that the theory thought in the program does not prove equally significant relatively to the practical management (Mintzberg 2005). Struggling to get a comprehensive insight into these arguments may lead to total confusion and mislead those hopefuls intending to join the MBA program (Calibre 2010).
Based on my MBA learning exposure, the connotations behind huge disparity perceived between MBA theory and practice is disingenuous.
I concur with the fact that, as noted by Peterson’s (2009), MBA program is an integral learning parameter as it develops practical managers. From my personal experience, I noticed from the beginning of the MBA programme, students design personal study plans that entail academic courses, career-scheduling efforts, and organise for experimental learning, including internships.
Internships have been significant in providing learners with real professional exposure (Verzuh 2011). These internships ensure that learners secure internship positions within existing regional and national companies and worldwide organisations that provide real managerial experiences.
Understanding globalisation and its propositions as viewed globally is very imperative for future managers (Peterson’s 2009).
During the course of the learning progress in my institution, students get the opportunity to travel to different places and regions to experience the real situations in organisations, receive directions, and advice from experienced managers, and see-through organisations protocols, which offer them real-world opportunities.
By the second year, learners participate and focus intensively in a particular career objectives and this aspect allows students to form their personal exceptional career paths and noted by Peterson’s (2009).
Student from my institution engaging in the MBA learning program also had the opportunity to acquire entrepreneurial skills through clubs that focused on enhancing technology, investments, public communication, consulting, community services, and several other business practices.
I received a great exposure on issues pertaining to self-assessment and self-development towards management concepts, with strategic planning being core to MBA learning practices within my institutions.
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