The world changes in accelerated motion,
in in the available technologies and so much for the global reach of our
interaction. Interaction with the global community seems to be
more complex and more serious. The problem is how to manage this change,
that affects not only our work life, but also society as a whole and
Today, universities are far from being the
only organizations for whom the creation and sharing of knowledge
represent their central source of competitive advantage. The question of
knowledge work is of widespread interest in all sectors of the economy,
and it is important to recognize innovations in the process of knowledge
work... There is also an increasing concern with how intellectual
capital can be recognized and measured alongside the traditional
physical capital of an organization. *
Organizations (groups of people with a
common purpose) have an important reaction to this challenge.
Organizational learning deals with leading organizations (private,
government, voluntaries, etc.) in a way that they can operate more
efficiently, stimulating people to reach their maximum development and
contribute to make of this world a better place.
This activity draws from important
disciplines and principles: an organization learns when it achieves the
future it wanted to reach. In the business world, learning is much more
than reaching our goals, in this highly competitive world, learning can
give the organization the margin it needs to survive and keep itself
Some important disciplines that sustain
Systemic approach refers to attaining a
deep understanding of the whole system through
the comprehension of the relationships
that weave "the system". All organizational
systems are open systems,
influenced by the environment and therefore
complex. In these systems there's not an
easy understanding of anything.
Business culture comprises values and
standards shared by people or groups in the
organization, that determine the character of
group internal interaction and the external
relationships of the organization. Business
culture is founded on the ideas and convictions
about our own goals and norms of behavior in
order to win. From these organizational values,
internal staff behavior norms are shaped.
Shared vision is the result of everyone's
understanding of what the organization is trying
to attain, engaging him in the effort, conscious
of his contribution. Group conscience.
Mental models. A mental model is the
conception an individual has of himself and of
the others, of his context and of the things he
interacts with. A mental model is an individual
interpretation, more than objective it is built
Personal mastery refers to what we want
to achieve in life and work. This attitude,
continuously sustained, becomes a discipline.
Personal domain extends beyond competences and
abilities, it means directing our own life as a
creative work, living creatively, instead of
living it with a reactive approach.
Team learning (yes, also in business). As
a result, it is the rare sensation of synergy
and productiveness that happens when you're "in the groove." When a team is truly learning, the group as a whole becomes much more than just the sum of its parts.
social responsibility. It is the
effect of the activity of some organization (and
industry or school) on society, how it affects
other organizations and families). How can a
company contribute to improve this world to a better place for everyone.
Group dialog has the goal of
consolidating collective intelligence. This
dialog is possible through the modern techniques
that, with practice and discipline are not
currently part of traditional forms of
The role of
leadership is fundamental in
organizational learning. Part of management work
is obtaining that every employee in the
organization can unleash his full potential. The
assumption of this responsibility is redefining
management activity in all organizations, not
only in business.
Private life and work are also important
disciplines that have a certain incidence in Organizational Learning.
If these disciplines construct
organizational learning, it's easy to understand that their absence
But... is there some organization that has
implemented all these disciplines? Surely not, but organizations
that do not implement them, start reducing their presence, until they
disappear. Each of these disciplines integrates with the others. It is
like if all members of the organization push with their shoulders on the
same direction with all their forces.
Organizational learning is a fundamental
element in knowledge management. Both integrate in the stimulation of
creativity, in the reduction of complexity, in the
simplification of processes, and in the application of best
Training (it depends on how do we
use the term) is far away from " organizational learning",
though one can benefit the other; knowledge management is an important
strategy in both things.
Surprisingly, organizational learning is
not different on its application or goals in business, research
organizations, government, non profit organizations, libraries or the
school we would like for our kids.
Based on "The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.
This is a book by Peter Senge focusing on group problem solving using the systems thinking method in order to convert companies into learning organizations.
* From "Building for Business Knowledge: Constructing a
new business school in the heart of London." Clive Holtham. Business
Information Review, 20(4), December 2003