Monday, 7 May 2007

Is Ignorance Bliss? 12 On Organisational Learning

What might this suggest for practical management?

Organisational learning it seems is dependent upon the collaborative behaviour of individuals. However the philosophy of organisational learning appears to be swimming against a tide of acquisitive cultural messages (especially in western society), reward and punishment structures and examples of individual management behaviours (that seem to lead to personal success) that lead to a predisposition towards immediate self interest rather than long-term organisational welfare.

A real challenge is presented by a prognosis that suggests that no amount of exhortations to behave for the greater good of the organisation will connect with the ‘organisation thwarting’ character and threat ‘remedial’ intervention will simply falter because of the instinctive unwillingness or inability to change fundamental character type.

The ‘organisation thwarting’ character is ‘ignorant’ and where these characters exist in sufficient numbers ‘organisational ignorance’ can be found. Might it be that it is here where the real reasons for an organisation’s success or failure can be found? It’s interesting to think of the following questions from that perspective.

• Why did that marketing strategy hit problems?
• How come that new product development was so successful?
• Why is our customer service good or bad?
• Why is there conflict between manufacturing and production?
• Why do decisions take so long to make?
• Why don’t management listen to what we say?

And so on.

If the prospect of lasting change has something to with the ‘character’ of individuals within the organisation then maybe it raises the possibility that we are looking at something to do with an attitude to ‘organisational lifestyle’ that reflects an individuals long term, holistic and ecologically sound understanding of what is good for the individual and where they work. Which in turn suggest an even greater emphasis on preventative interventions associated with recruitment and selection rather than high expectations of remedial intervention.

I also recommend that you visit workplace survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival

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