Organization Learning Theories and PrinciplesIntroductionOrganization strategy was at first envisioned as a kind of planning designed to create broad policies based on the understanding of an organization’s situation in relation to its markets, competitors, technologies, materials, and skills. However, as the area matures and the notion of strategy and perception of strategic game have become dynamic, effectual strategy now involves persistent development of new understanding, models, and practices. Today, consideration has shifted from planning to execution of plans and then to the “interaction of planning and implementing in a process explicitly described as organizational learning”1.
Learning is a significant factor in an organization, which in order to survive and organization’s “rate of learning must be greater than or equal to the rate of change in the environment” (Revans (1980) as cited in Pedler et. al. (1997). This paper will discuss the validity of this statement and the relevance of organization learning in the 21st century using organizational learning’s theories and principles. 1 Chris Argyris, 1999, On Organizational Learning, Published 1999 Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0631213090, p. 2Organization Learning Theories and PrinciplesLearning in social science is of great importance thus cognitive psychologist and educators explore how people obtain, arrange, and store information, ideas and knowledge.
On the other hand, anthropologist and sociologist observe how cultural values, norms, and group identities are transmitted across groups and generations. In addition, economist and the business community study the development of new technologies, and how organizations survive, and become more efficient over time. As early as 1947, according to Brown et. al. (2006), a significant body of researchers focusing on the study of organizational learning, political learning, policy learning, and so forth has surfaced with one universal goal.
They all wanted to discover how individual decision-makers, government bureaucracies, states, and societies derived upon experience, information, and knowledge to alter their perception of the world, their policies, and their behaviours. However, despite the common objective, there are inconsistencies in the meaning of organization learning, as researchers tend to focus on “various units of analysis, indicators, and measures of learning”3. The large number of ways in which organizational learning has been classified and used signifies an “organization learning jungle” which is becoming increasingly “dense and impenetrable”4.
In our view, regardless of varying definition, organizational learning 2 Leann Brown, Michael Kenney, and Michael Zarkin, 2006, Organizational Learning in the Global Context, Published 2006 Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. , ISBN 0754648427, p. 13 & 4 Mark Smith, Luis Araujo, and John Burgoyne, 1999, Organizational Learning and the Learning Organization, Published 1999 SAGE, ISBN 0761959165, p. 24is generally the acquisition of information, knowledge or skills, and the changes in organizational practice and procedures because of experience5. Learning from Experience, Rate of Discovery, and Capability to LearnAccording to Brown et.
al. (2006), organizations not only learn from their own successes and failures but also may learn from the experience of others through vigorous investigation, policy reproduction, and the dissemination and transmission of ideas and technologies. Organizations may deliberately embark on primary and secondary research to generate information, knowledge, technologies, and policies as a part of problem solving and policy-making. The aim is to implement the most brilliant routines and policies from a pool of ‘alternatives’ thus the rate of discovery depends upon the “richness of the pool and the intensity and direction of search”6.
In other words, an organizational learning objective is to recognize how the world works, and then discover the correct way to deal with a problem7.