Thursday, 3 May 2007

Is Ignorance Bliss 8 - On Organisational Learning

Organisational Learning – improving unintentional ignorance?

Organisational learning and how organisations become learning organisations is a major theme in contemporary management literature (Senge, Argyris, Garrat, Revans et al). Learning organisations are characterised by the way in which they successfully change over the long-term in response to signals for change in the operating environment essentially through having free flowing information processes, good sense making skills, and an ability to learn how to solve problems so that they stay solved. Frequently the disappointing observation is made that there is little evidence to show that learning organisations actually exist despite the arguments that to become one is a ‘good thing’. You may agree that this applies to individuals too.

The prescriptive style of management literature (You must, Good organisations should, 25 ways to…) urge organisations onward with ‘this is how to do it’ schemes in the drive for 100% organisational fitness. Much of the writing and its tone suggests a ‘Utopian’ outlook. Despite the extensive publication of ‘how to do it’ management models, task and intervention lists and explanations of the underlying philosophy, becoming a learning organisation remains elusive and crucially individual learning doesn’t necessarily translate into organisational learning.

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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