What Is Organizational Learning and Why is it Important?

Whether you are a startup or a Fortune 500 company, it is indisputable that continuous learning is the key success factor. If the employees of a firm are involved in, curious and constantly reflecting on themselves, cooperating and growing, the entire organization can only gain from this. But this implies that the organization needs to have the culture of learning that encourages and promotes it, and that not only makes it safe for employees to share their perspectives, but also encourages them to push themselves and to provide new ideas. They must become a learning organization.

How do you define a learning organization?

Learning organisations are enterprises that promote a learning, sharing and reflection atmosphere. According to the author of the idea, Peter Senge, learning groups are locations “where individuals continue to develop their ability to produce the outcomes they really desire, where new and extensive thought patterns are cultivated, where collective aspiration is freed up and where people continuously learn to view the whole”. Garvin says that an apprenticeship is simply an enterprise that “knows how to create, acquire, transmit information and adjust its behavior to reflect new insights and knowledge”.

The concept of learning organization comes from the field of system thinking, which is the framework of system research. Peter Senge typically considers organizations to be not a dynamic, changing system and rather a static one.  In order for learning companies to be successful, Senge also outlined the four components essential for systems thinking:

Personal mastery focuses on the individual worker and her dedication to learning, in which employees seek to develop and grow themselves continually.

Mental models are conceptions or recollections that workers or the whole firm should confront to progress regarding the organization. A good learning organization must remove the baggage and concentrate on what it can be.

A shared vision is essential for setting long-term unified goals that encourage continuous group learning.

Team learning entails ongoing discourse and communication with workers, allowing people to bring ideas to the table without being afraid of judgment.

According to Senge, learning may thrive when certain frameworks are formed inside the organisation. In order to be a learning organization, companies not only need to try and learn, but also to discover methods to apply what they have learned to their own models.

Many fundamental activities are suitable for learning organizations:

– Innovative ways and ideas for experimenting.

– Distribute information around your business with efficiency and convenience.

– Learning from prior experience and history.

– Learning from other organizations’ best practices and experiences.

The Importance of a Learning Organisation

Establishing a learning organisation, especially for firms with inflexible hierarchy or a certain approach, could seem like an enormous effort. As Garvin explains, “A learning organization is not cultivated effortlessly. It comes from a range of tangible actions and broadly spread operations, which do not differ from the workings of the business processes such as logistics, billing, order fulfillment and product creation”. A few examples are available here:

More innovation

While a recent trend may seem to be the emphasis on learning and innovation in firms, in 1989, Ray Stata indicated that organizational learning is the key to innovation, especially on management level. The emphasis on ideas sharing and teamwork in learning companies should not surprise us if they necessarily lead to larger and better ideas.

Better cooperation

Because learning organisations have a strong feeling of community and support based on teams which interact and share knowledge. Conflict is less prevalent since everyone strives and learns from one other for a similar objective.

Although it might be a time intensive process to turn into a learning organisation, its benefits certainly exceed the labor. A focus on continuous learning and growth is a key component today for companies who want to be the next leading innovators in the future. You can help you get there by becoming a learning organisation.

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