Public Sector Learning Organizations LO21963

tom abeles (
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 10:38:43 -0500

Replying to LO21956 --

Rick Fullerton wrote, in a very small part:

> Today, the conversations about learning organization have broadened to
> include knowledge management, intellectual capital, teaching organization,
> and other popular ideas. So what is missing, it seems, is a clear
> perspective on current learning organization thinking (what is new in the
> last 3-4 years?)

Rick raises an interesting perspective, particularly in the public sector
arena which has some unique issues of its own, one of which is trying to
effect its operations in a fish bowl while being confronted with, often,
conflicting and changing mandates.

But, Rick raises some signficant issues which might be of larger interest
to all segments:

1) Cylindering within and across organizations. This is a major KM issue
where departments, divisions and agencies with similar interests may not
know what projects, information, reports or activities exist in the
present, much less the past. Often this had lead to duplication of
efforts, the same research done several times and similar issues.

Interestingly, many foreign businesses have not only understood this, but
taken advantage of the open access and are often better informed about
what is publicly available then many who deal with this information on a
daily basis, either in the public or private sector, particularly in
issues of technology.

Rick discusses this from a Canadian perspective. In certain technical
areas, the provincial and federal cylindering is quite noticeable in
contrast to its Southern neighbor.

2) Time- time is a relative issue whether you are a Mayfly with a few
hours of life or a Galapagoes tortoise with a larger lifespan. Someone
once suggested that in some museum's diorama on a planet several millenia
in the future, this millineum on earth will be represented by a can of
diet coke and a suit of chain mail. Rick's comments touch on two time
dimensions. first, he points out that LO has expanded to encompass KM,
Intellectual Capital..., etc. From a time and systems perspective, one
wonders, in the future whether one will not look back with a jaundiced eye
and ask whether the reductionist approach which segmented knowledge in
this manner was not the last vestige of a dying intellectual model, or,
perhaps, a clever marketing approach used by management consultants to
differentiate themselves (this latter idea noted with glee by a publisher
of management books). Rick's remark about what might be "new" in the last
3-4 years parallels this concern, particularly when we place ourselves in
an evolutionary perspective.

This is of particular concern to governments (and business). What, indeed,
is the half-life of an organization, a company, a government? What is the
importance of change? On the rate of change? for the organization? for the
individuals? for the larger ecosystem? What is real, what is manufactured?
what is, ultimately, important?


tom abeles


tom abeles <>

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