John O'Neill asks -- and I paraphrase -- how we measure whether an
organization is an LO and whether it is effective. Very hard but
There are a number of issues to be sorted out before we can begin to
answer the questions. First of course, what do we mean by LO, and we have
not been able to define that too precisely. Second, what do we mean by
'effective', and that is difficult in professional positions and
government jobs. Third, what do we mean by 'measure'. Are we happy with
purely descriptive viewpoints, or do we want statistically valid measures.
I will suggest my answers, but would be interested in alternative
To take the easy one first, let's settle for descriptive measures. We are
far outside the reach of comprehensive statistical measures of LO.
We could define 'effective' in terms of high-performance. In many jobs or
organizations, this could be difficult to define, but if performance
measures are in place, then we can build on them. In the absence of
performance measures, i am unclear how to define 'effective'.
The last hope for measuring is to try to define where the organization is
in its evolution toward LO-ness. There may be some opportunity here.
Note, however, this is not strictly a measure of effectiveness, but of
progress in implementation.
David Garvin has used a matrix to assess where organizations are in their
evolution in thinking about quality. A similar matrix has been used in
other environments, and LO-ness would seem to lend itself to this
approach. A suggestion is below.
Characteristic Industrial Modern Quality Learning
Revolution Management Movement Org
Concern of Basic Technical
Learning Skills Skills
View of Minimize Ends w/
Emphasis Inspect Uniformity
Methods OJT OJT & school
Role of Inspect Transfer
Trainer Supervise Expertise
Who has Employee Employee
You get the idea. It would be interesting to try to fill in the rest of
the chart as a collaborative exercise. Of course, the top headings are
mine, and may not be the best ones. Finally, as we have just learned, no
system can understand itself, so until we reach the point of moving beyond
LO, we cannot fully define what LO is. Nevertheless, it's never too early
to begin the task.
I look forward to hearing more.
Rol Fessenden LL Bean firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>