Saturday, 26 May 2007

What's the Buzz about Organizational Learning? 4

And so, the point of organizational learning is what then? Well, you could say its about about preventing organizational gullibility. WOW! how to link a specialised organizational management topic to your Blog theme in one easy jump! lol. This could be that state of affairs where organizations invest lots of time and energy in spurious endevours(would it be unfair to point to ISO, Investors in People, Employer Branding, Brand Salience Ratings etc?) or when the organizations fails to notice or take account of events that are significant (the now cliched Dyson / Hoover story being a good e.g. For those of you might not know Hoover told Mr Dyson to go away with his crazy bagless vacuum idea)

Now some of you may already be twitching at the anthromorphic connotations with this whole idea, so lets have a quick chat about them shall we? I know, you've been thinking since the first post on this theme - how can an 'organization' learn? it's a 'thing' not a 'person'! and you're really stretching it by claiming that it reduces organizational 'gullibility', 'ignorance' or any other personal characteristic. Well I think you're onto something there, after all its the 'people' making up the organisation that notice things, make sense of them, devise processes, strategies and actions, and change them if their whizz around Kolb's learning cycle suggests they should.

So this must mean that 'gullibility' is an archetypal form of human behaviour whatever the context, domestic, business, night clubs, picnics, cult gatherings, knitting circles etc etc etc. Wherever people meet. Now there's a thought can you 'gull' yourself??, maybe that's the whole point! Gullibilty is actually a system, check out Systems Thinking for more. This means that it only works if the 'gullee' lets it work, otherwise the 'gullibility system' breaks down. This also means that whoever you are and whatever your concern, personal/ business/ pleasure you should be able to get something out of these posts.

So let's consider this now...The Meta Gull.. or the Gull of Gulls. One criticism of the whole organizational learning thing is its Utopian belief that if every is warm, cuddly, and trusting then we'll all get along fine and no one will get hurt.

But as Mabey Salaman and Storey observe "there is a noticeable and striking pattern apparent in the history of approaches to organisation change and improvement: high enthusiasm, extravagent promises, followed by failure, deep disillusionment and rejection" Now could this be down to the fact we underplay politics and power, something that 'gullees' instictively or deliberately indulge in.

I also notice that the Mabey et al quote could apply to any self help endevour from dieting to smoking to changing your life. Might I suggest that we read/ go on courses to understand content and underlying philosophy before 'believing'

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