I received this inquiry from a business school student:
>I would like information about the pros and cons of the learning
>I am a student studying business at Central Washington University. It
>seems like every website I have read always talks about the good side of
>the learning organization. As a future manager, I would like to know
>about any drawbacks of the learning organization.
>Any information you could give me would be great. Hope to hear from
My response is below... How would you respond? What are the objections to
the learning-organization approach to organizational improvement?
Well... I'm one of the advocates on the good side.
When people resist LO, it seems to me it is with one of these lines
1. (Don't trust the means) The goals are right, but I don't like the
means (reflection, capacity building, dialogue, addressing mental
models, teaming skills). I don't believe in the means, they feel too
soft to me. To reach the goals let's just work harder and smarter.
(Other approach) I prefer _____ (some other approach to improvement).
2. (Misunderstanding the goals) Learning? Wait a minute... This
organization is all about performance, not about some academic or
self-indulgent support of learning.
3. (Too busy) Sounds good, but I just don't have the time... I'm too
busy with today's work to do all the things you recommend. That
"Field Book" is REALLY THICK! I could never do all of that.
4. (Reactive orientation) Sounds good, but nobody is telling me to
do that. (Powerless) I couldn't do it unless it was coming down from
above with their support. (Depressed) We're just stuck and couldn't
get out of our stuckness with learning organization or anything else.
Woe is us.
5. (Avante Garde, fad followers) Learning organization? Isn't that
the old stuff that Senge was writing about a decade ago? Are people
still talking about THAT? Have you heard about the latest ________
from ________? I want to be using the latest and greatest methods;
I've going to give that a try. I want to be ahead of the pack, not
behind the curve!
Richard Karash ("Rick") | <http://world.std.com/~rkarash> Speaker, Facilitator, Trainer | mailto:Richard@Karash.com "Towards learning organizations" | Host for Learning-Org Discussion (617)227-0106, fax (617)523-3839 | <http://www.learning-org.com>
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