Is Yours a Learning Organization? By David Garvin and Amy Edmondson

In this article the authors outline the tools used to pinpoint areas where a company needs to foster knowledge, idea development, learning from mistakes, and holistic thinking. In the volatile and unpredictable business  environment and competition, the tool set listed below can help organizations learn from others and their past.

Beginning with Building blocks,

Building block 1: A supportive learning environment: Physiologically safe, openness of ideas, appreciation of differences and reflection.

Building block 2: Concrete learning processes and practices: the cultivation should be effortless and be a process  and practice within the company.

Building Block 3: Leadership that reinforces learning.

Four principle of moving forward,

  1. Leadership alone is insufficient. – the company culture must reflect an atmosphere that values leaning the progress that comes from learning.
  2. Organizations are not monolithic. – Leaders must realize that a one-size-fits-all strategy for implementing learning is not successful.  
  3. Comparative performance is the critical scorecard. – Openness to new ideas and education/ training allow for higher scorecards.
  4. Learning is multidimensional. – Solving a single area of learning difficulty will not make an organization learn.

The tool of building blocks and four steps to moving do not define a learning organization but rather a mere report card of where a company lies in fostering learning fundamentals.


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