What is a Learning Organization LO30471

From: dpdash@ximb.ac.in
Date: 08/19/03

Replying to LO30469 --

"Sarwar Kabir" <pullok733@hotmail.com> asked:

>... I just simply want to know what is learning
> organization & why we need this. This learning
> organization topic doesnt make any sense to me...

Dear SARWAR and Fellow Readers,

I am sure, Sarwar's question will produce a variety of responses from this
enthusiastic group. I am attempting a type of response, which I have not
discussed in this group so far. I thank you for this opportunity and seek
your valuable feedback.

Paraphrasing Sarwar's question slightly: Why do we need that social units
be learning entities? My response is in the form of a set of propositions:

 1. Members of a social unit (organisation, community, family, etc.) are
typically part-free (i.e., independent, unrestrained, etc.) and part-bound
(i.e., confined, restricted, delimited, etc.).

 2. The things that bind them can be called 'systems' and these may be of
two types: (a) systems that respond to our desires, values, purposes,
etc.; therefore we may shape them according to our aims, traditions, etc.
(b) systems that defy us, i.e., if they change at all, they do so by their
own internal logic based on whatever input they can take from their
surroundings (including us!). [Let me label Type (a) systems as 'Action
System' and Type (b) systems as 'Knowledge System'.]

 3. The composite of Action System and Knowledge System in a social unit
may be called the 'Knowledge-Action Landscape' of that social unit.
Therefore, this landscape influences (although it does not fully
determine) how people observe, communicate, act, interact, etc. Of course,
people still retain a degree of freedom -- remember, they are part-free.

 4. In their part-free and part-influenced activities, people tend to
affect the Landscape. They directly build/rebuild the Action System (over
a period of time) and create conditions to trigger changes in the
Knowledge System (over a period of time). Therefore, it is a Landscape in
motion, always!

 5. The 'learning organisation' idea is simply a recognition of the
possibility that the members, if they so wish, can start caring for that
Landscape and shaping it when required. Since the Landscape influences
their thoughts, actions, decisions, performance, etc., it is expected that
an appropriate reshaping of the Landscape should produce improvements in
these areas.




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