Raktim Singh

Home Digital Transformation What is Learning Organisation? Is Your Company Ready for the Future?

What is Learning Organisation? Is Your Company Ready for the Future?

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What is Learning Organisation? Is Your Company Ready for the Future?

What is Learning Organisation ?

The learning organization is an organization, where there is a deep commitment to learning and education with the intention of continuous improvement. 

Here, the company helps the members in continuous learning and transform themselves.

This term was introduced by Peter Sense and his colleagues in his research work.

The Learning organization is on the path to becoming the norm for competitive organizations. 

With the rise of the learning organization(learning organisation concept), employees will be given the freedom to continuously learn and grow in order to further the progress of the organization as a whole. 

A clear benefit of employing a learning organization is the ability to retain talent. When an employee is not learning, he is in-fact not progressing,

 To remain in the competitive business environment, all organizations adopt this method so that they can beat modern organizations.

The concept of big learning organization become popular when Peter M. Senge wrote about the concept in his book “The Fifth Discipline” in 1990.

He has mentioned the characteristics of a learning organization (what is learning organization) in the form of “five disciplines of a learning organization.”

In this article, I have tried to summarize the five disciplines, which Mr. Peter Senge had described in his book.

  • Personal Mastery

The meaning of personal Mastery is when an individual puts his 100% to Learning related to the project.

An employee puts effort to learn so that he can bridge the gap between his knowledge and skills and the knowledge and skills required for the task at hand.

Learning is not just acquiring information; it is rather the ability to be more productive and apply your skills in our work in the best possible manner.

Personal Mastery is much more than just learning. It is clarity for personal vision, personal drawbacks, and interpreting reality clearly.

If you really want to achieve personal mastery in a subject or domain then you should be ready to accept brutal feedback about your current incompetence about that subject.

If we are talking about What is learning Organisation then Personal Mastery is an important aspect.

Remember, no one is perfect & learning is a journey. To achieve personal mastery, you should be quite honest about, how much you currently know, what are the drawbacks & you should be happily working to improve these drawbacks.

According to Peter, we should not only provide technical knowledge but should train the subconscious mind of an individual.

Those individuals are able to break, their self-limiting beliefs & can perform even what they don’t expect to form themselves.

It has been seen that people learn more when they take an interest in the work, they do rather than by participating in formal training.

Therefore, rather than providing training for a month or a week to employees to help them learn, an organization should create an environment where learning becomes an essential part of day-to-day activities of the organization.

Personal Mastery has many positive results, such as commitment, sense of responsibility, patience, self-motivation, work-life balance and focus. Therefore, personal Mastery should be encouraged in the employees.

  • Mental models

A mental model is the ability of the brain of an individual to perceive the world and its assumptions about the system. What people think and assume is known as their mental model.

Mental models are the deeply ingrained assumptions we carry, consciously or unconsciously, that influence how we understand the world and determine the actions we take.

Successfully working with mental models requires people to identify and scrutinize their mental models.

These are the assumptions and generalizations which are held by an individual and organization. Mental models limit people’s observation due to selective observation.

Many times, we assume about someone based on his/her gender/religion, native place, etc.

If we have already framed a model/assumption about someone then we interpret all his behavior/interaction based on that model. We (almost) refuse to see that person with a fresh perspective.  

If you had watched movies like ‘Pink’ or ‘Mulk’, ‘Free to run’, you will realize that the core theme of these movies, challenges the various stereotypes, which we carry in our mind. 

When an organization wants to become a learning organization, these models must be identified & challenged.

Individuals tend to adopt theories, which they want to follow and theories in use, which are what they do.

In the same way, organizations may have ‘memories’ that preserve certain norms, values, and behaviour.

It becomes crucial to replace confrontational attitudes with open culture in the learning environment.

It helps in promoting inquiry and trust. It is necessary to remove unwanted values in the process called unlearning.

  • Shared vision

 The characteristic of shared vision is important to motivate the staff to learn since it creates a common identity and also provides focus energy to follow.

If there is a lack of clearly defined goals in an organization, it leads to a negative impact on the only organization, and it also cannot attain trust office members.

A suitable environment is created through the practice of shared vision—this encourages the members of the organization to share their own experiences and opinions.

In many organizations, still vision is imposed from top.

In that case, you don’t get the buying of our vision from team members, working on the ground. This is a sure-shot recipe for failure.

Also in knowing What is Learning Organisation – Shared vision plays an important role.

  • Team Learning

 The staff learns more quickly through team or shared learning.

It also improves the problem-solving capacity of the organization as it provides better access to knowledge and necessary expertise.

The team members can learn better in a meeting by concentrating on listening, being responsive, avoiding interruption, and showing interest in the topic.

In such a kind of environment, there is no need to hide or overlook disagreements.

Also, in team learning, each member, complements other persons with skills & understanding of the topic.

Different viewpoints get collected & reviewed. Remember, each person has different strengths & areas of expertise.

In team learning, that expertise gets shared. 

Therefore, collective understanding is richer. According to Sense, there are three dimensions of team learning, 

  1. The ability to think insightfully about complex issues
  2. The ability to take innovative, coordinated action
  3. The ability to create a network that will allow other teams to take action as well.

 In the process of team learning, the members of the organization need to adapt and develop the team capacity to obtain the maximum results for the organization. 

The individuals of the organization need to get involved in dialogue and discussion. Therefore, it is important for team members to develop open communication & shared understanding.

  • System thinking

Systems thinking is a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that

  1. A system’s constituent parts interrelate.
  2. How systems work over a period.
  3. How systems work within the context of larger systems.

A System Thinking perspective requires curiosity, clarity, compassion, choice, and courage.

System thinking requires us to see a situation more fully, to recognize that we are interrelated, to acknowledge that there are often multiple solutions/leverage points to a problem, and to take/champion solutions that may not be “popular”.

In Systems thinking 

  1. Apart from observing events or data, you try to identify the patterns of behavior over time.
  2. You try to find out the underlying structures that drive those events and patterns.
  3. You & team members should ask different kinds of questions than you asked before.
  4. You can identify & relate to various mental models (your own as well as of team members)

By understanding and changing parts, that are not serving us well (and this can include our own mental models and assumption), we can expand the choices available to us.

This way, we can identify & create more satisfying, long-term solutions to chronic problems.

To summarize (What is learning Organisation) , in system thinking

  1. You need to think of ‘big picture’
  2. You need to identify recognize the various interdependent systems & recognize the dynamic of those.
  3. Understand that we are all part of the systems in which we function and that we each influence those systems. Also, we are also getting influenced by them.
  4. You can identify ‘short term’ & ‘Long term’ perspectives & able to balance both, while taking a decision. Systems thinking is characterized by these principles
  5. You consider, factors, which can be measured & which are non-measurable.

 What is Learning Organisation : Benefits of the learning organization

The basic benefit is a competitive advantage. Strategic flexibility is one of the ways in gaining a competitive advantage.

An organization needs to have a continuous inflow of knowledge and experience as it keeps the organization dynamic and prepared for change.

There are several other benefits of learning organization such as

  1. Maintaining levels of competition & staying innovative.
  2. Linking the resources to customer needs.
  • Giving better quality outcomes at all levels.
  1. Becoming more people-oriented and improving corporate image.
  2. Improving knowledge sharing. 
  3. Improved pace of change within the organization.
  4. Improvement in long-term decision making.

Now, why ‘Learning Organization’ is crucial in the current world & future.

To highlight this, let me share, a story, which I have mentioned in my book ‘Driving Digital Transformation – Reshape the future of business’

This story dates back to the time when Einstein was a teacher.

One day, during an exam, he distributed question papers to his students.

To everyone’s surprise, the paper had the same questions from the previous year.

Einstein’s assistant asked him, “Why are the questions the same as last year?”

He thought for a moment and replied: “Yes, they are same. But this year, the answers are different.”

The same is true for your business.  Our questions had remained the same. But answers to solve these, are different now.

And ‘Learning Organization’ will help you in getting the correct answer for the current digital world.

This is all about

What is Learning Organisation?
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