>I'd like to see more dialogue on the
>foundations of our thinking instead of debate over their manifestations.
>For example, I presume that, as social systems in which knowledge is
>created/acquired, disseminated, and used (Huber, 1991), all organizations
>have embedded learning processes. Consequently, for me the notion of the
>"learning organization" makes little sense except as a redundancy.
and I would agree. But what's wrong with a bit of redundancy?
What is really new in this area since about 1940? We've got some new
models and frameworks (NLP, TQM, QFD, MBTI, DiSC, OLI, Theory Z, FEAR,
Left brain / right brain, "Square Wheels?" -g- etc.) that add some clarity
or perspective. But they do not represent a whole lot of real innovation,
in my opinion. Mostly it is the awareness that these ideas create that
have their impacts on organizational change..
If top management gets all turned on by "LO," cool. At least we have some
hooks into getting their behavior to change. We can offer them/us some
data and information, present some new ideas for improvement of something
or other, stimulate some internal discussions, take a look at other
organizations (benchmarking -- what a "new" idea!!), and do some other
things WITH them to make improvements.
Look at "Missions and Visions." It was all the rage a few years ago (and
is currently raging in some other countries) but what it did in, simply,
in most places was to get top managers to be a bit more specific about
what they were doing and where they were going. And then to share these
expectations and goals. Duh. And they were hiring consultants to
actually DO IT for them. Duh. All the consultants did was add a bit of
(BTW, I have a *list* of about 100 Mission / Vision words I'll share if
anyone is interested -- And a process to get people to "write" missions
and visions. And it is amazing how many people asked for this list when I
posted a message in the Trainers and Training Forum on Compuserve. Duh.
Seems like we're all looking for good ideas and better ways. Do I hear
the rumblings of "learning organization, learning organization, learning
Social systems have always played a role in organizational performance.
Leadership. Quality / Price / Value. Communications. Culture. MD and
OD. Behavioral psychology. Coaching. Modeling.
For me, Learning Organization is a bit like, "The Department of Redundancy
Department" in that learning always occurs in individuals and groups. The
keys to accelerating the process of growth are getting the perceived
support at the top as well as awareness at other levels -- and maybe a
little boost on an individual level because an individual is "expected" to
learn something new as a result of their new Team-Process or Personality
The key: It works.
And since ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, I'd suggest a good strategy is
to identify the ways that previously successful programs have been
implemented in your organization and use those same strategies to generate
more of the continuous continuous improvement,
For the Fun of It!
Scott Simmerman email@example.com
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>