Wednesday, 16 May 2007

What's the Buzz about Organizational Learning? 1

So imagine, you're hunkered down in your professional specialism, lawyer, policeman, SEO, marketing strategist, marketing executive, garage owner and any one else from a drop down box on an application form. You've had a bit more experience of co-workers, customers, suppliers, bosses and the like and you start pondering on why people sometimes don't buy your ideas, why the organization doesn't listen, when you tell them 'the baddies are coming' or some dork decides to erect a glass ceiling just above your head.

Guess what's happening... your becoming a social psychologist and a philosopher....aaarggghhh, OK maybe its not quite as bad as that, you're just becoming as Donald Schoncalls it a 'reflective practioner' (This is not some wierdo from a fetish website that wears tin foil btw)

You've started thinking about what makes people and organizations tick've started coming up with some 'theories for success' you know like 'what you should do is', 'the best way to sort that out is' and so on. Now those of you listening in who have concerns about personal gullibility should stay tuned because the ideas and principles of organizational gullibility are pretty much the same.

If you have 'grown up' in a particular work specialism you're often shut away from ideas that could be useful to you, then like me, as someone who worked in sales and marketing, I'd never heard of organizational learning. That was, until I was introduced to it on a post grad business degree (the crowd roars), and now its an intergral (Wilber) aspect of my working life as an organization and management academic (people stand up and start to leave)

No... come back... I don't wear thick corduroy trousers and a tank top.

The plot sort of goes (here's the Hollywood pitch) - Marketing discovers HR and finds she is so nice compared to those sassy 'commercial' types, but after the first romantic meal Marketing finds out that HR has hidden sides to her character, and she's been having HRD treatment, and once had an OD, and then the dark secret - OL - yeah you discover, like her you've been an organizational learner all along (just didn't find the website)....major personal crisis that ends up in personal triumph and owning the world.

And so...we start to begin to think about where success comes from in an organisation. Tools & Techniques? Knowledge Management, Periphery Scanning, Efficient use of resources (including humans!) and the view emerges that is that its 'the people stupid!' and that what is really needed are Resourceful Humans.
Arie de Gues, Jeanne Meister, Pedler Burgoyne and Bodell all concur that people, their ability to learn are the fundamental source of organizational effectiveness.

The GIGO rule rules! Garbage in and Garbage out, and no more so than as one my business lit' heroes Bob Garat says from the top, as he puts it - 'The Fish Rots from the Head'

Organisational Learning Buzz 2
Organisational Learning Buzz 3
Organisational Learning 4

For a neat summary of key themes and issues see:
Organizational Learning and Competitive Advantage

Check out the following Resourceful Humans sites for more interesting & useful info

Reflections Coaching

Mcarthurs Rant

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