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January 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm Leave a comment

Learning institutions (Universities) and the transformation to Learning Organizations

Many teachers in universities teach their students about learning organizations and how is it the 21st century ideal. They let students analyze organizations and make them give recommendations on how to transform these organizations into LO’s.

But wait… are these universities applying what they teach?

Well, the culture of institutions of higher education is full of examples of competitive ratings and rankings, acceptances and rejections, and authoritarian (strict) and hierarchical (chain of command) structures that shape teachers lives. Weather they are writing, doing research, or teaching; they generally fly solo in their work. As a result, learning institutions need to promote the practices of the learning organization.

Mavin and cavaleri (2004, p.287) believe that the learning and knowledge creating roles of professors in most universities are defined by the culture, strategy, and the structure of educational institutions. Rather than operating as a community of scholars, most universities operate bureaucracies where social learning is an espoused ideal rather than actual practice. Faculty consider themselves knowledge creators for their professions and groups or practitioners with whom they identify , but are not usually willing or empowered to learn or create knowledge on behalf of their institutions.    

So what can universities do to become Learning organizations?

One way to encourage faculty to work as one team is to establish an online archive in the university website where faculty can post papers for review by colleagues before submitting them to journals, this can give helpful criticism that will enhance the quality of the work done by the faculty.

Another idea is to create a faculty website that can let teachers share their knowledge and ideas about what are the different ways and approaches to teach some courses. This idea would be good for faculties who teach the same course for a big number of students, where they can learn from each other experiences. It’s also for new faculty to look on the different styles that the teachers are using to teach students. The internal transfer of new knowledge will be at high levels if this idea worked.  

    The university administration (the beautiful land of the university) has to realize that the pyramid- shaped organizational structure makes little sense for an academic institution. Follow of information shouldn’t be from the top to the bottom. If the university wants to be innovative it has to allow information to flow from the bottom to the top in order to get ideas and thoughts and comments from the people who are processing the teaching.  Knowledge sharing software could be used by administrators to get fresh ideas from the entire faculty.

     Furthermore, encouraging lifelong learning among faculty is really important, since a significant number of faculty (one # is often quoted is 60%) never publish an article after they receive tenure and become associate professors.

There are much more solutions to transform universities into LO’s, but we think that these ones can be a good start not only for universities but also for schools.


F&M 😀




Mavin, S. and Cavaleri, S. (2004), “Viewing learning organizations through a social learning lens”, the learning organization, Vol. 11 No.3, pp. 285-9.

Pollack, S. (2005-10-01). Transforming a University from a Teaching Organization to a Learning Organization. Review of business, 26(3), 31.

 White, J. (2005-05-01). Can universities become true learning organizations?. The learning organization, 12(3), 292.

January 13, 2011 at 1:09 am 1 comment

The Implementation of learning organization

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January 13, 2011 at 12:58 am Leave a comment

How HR practices help an organization to become a LO

 HR department should set a plan or a process that make sure that the employee shares the most important learning information he gained from the training session.

 Some of the activities the HRM department can do to implement these dimensions which are (Team learning, Embedded system, and System connection.) is by, for example:    Letting their employees attend training and conferences and then share with other staff the most important learning they took from the event by doing a presentation or maybe sending them an email.

 HR can contribute in that in an indirect way, by providing effective training sessions where trainees are going to develop their skills and learn new things here employees will have something to share with others. Unlike, if they were trained on something they already know.

 “Training is an attempt to focus influence on people in order to refashion and improve their job-related knowledge, skills and behavior. The employees are expected to apply knowledge, skills and behavior learnt during training to their day-to-day activities. However, it is an established fact that to offer a competitive advantage, training has to involve more than just basic skill development. Training is moving from a primary focus on teaching employees specific skills to a broader focus of creating and sharing knowledge.”( Rakesh SEHGAL) 

An HR department should increase the effectiveness of training by adding more ways and  different styles of training such as:

–          The every year training week where different training activities such as Seminars/Workshops, computer courses, preparation of Case Studies, guest lectures on various topics, group discussion, etc. are done.

–          Add a training development column where employees and trainees can add recommendations to enhance the particular training session or course.



M& F 😀






January 7, 2011 at 9:47 am Leave a comment


      Learning organization dimensions are the characteristics that an organization should posses in order to become a learning organization. Therefore, The literature research of  Mohd. Fairuz Abd. Rahim, also suggested that HRM practices have a strong potential to shape the behavior of learners and would play a critical role towards the success of LO initiatives(Soliman & Spooner 2000; Shipton et al. 2002). For example, giving rewards and incentives have been shown to encourage employees to engage in continuous learning in addition to training strategies such as: mentoring, coaching, and access to professional journals (Dymock & McCarthy 2006). Therefore, a number of LO literature have emphasized the importance of HRM in ensuring the success of any LO initiative (Dechawatanapaisal 2005; Marquadt 1996: 2002; Rahim et al. 2008b; Watkins & Marsick 1992).
This can be done in various ways. For example, to encourage and foster continuous learning among employees, an HRM policies and practices can be designed to provide incentives for employees to embrace the new behaviors that are reflected and enhances the LO characteristics. Overall, the literature provided a theoretical support to the interaction between HRM and LO

By providing a hypothesis:                                                                                                             

There is a positive relationship between HRM practices and LO dimensions.


HRM Practices  : Staffing , Training & Development , Appraisal, Compensation .










Continuous Learning

 Learning is designed into work so that people can learn on the job; opportunities are provided  for ongoing education and growth.  

Inquiry &  Dialogue

 People gain productive reasoning skills to express their views and the capacity to listen and inquire into the views of others; the culture is changed to support questioning, feedback and experimentation. 

Team Learning

 Work is designed to use groups to access different modes of thinking; groups are expected to learn and work together; collaboration is valued by the culture and rewarded. 

Embedded  System

 Both high- and low-technology systems to share learning are created and integrated with work;access is provided; systems are maintained. 


 People are involved in setting, owning, and implementing a joint vision; responsibility is distributed close to decision making so that people are motivated to learn toward what they are held accountable to do. 

System Connection

 People are helped to see the effect of their work on the entire enterprise; people scan the environment and use information to adjust work practices; the organization is linked to its communities.

Strategic Leadership

 Leaders model, champion, and support learning; leadership uses learning strategically for business results.  



 Any Learning organization effort would only be fruitful if it is coupled with proper and effective implementation of HRM practices.  Furthermore, the research can also provide practical contributions and help for practitioners by setting a benchmark or standards to be used by firms to update and reorganize their HRM systems to achieve better performance by implementing the dimensions of Learning organization.


 F & M 😀





 Soliman, F & Spooner, K 2000, ‘Strategies for implementing knowledge management: Role of human resource

management’, Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 337-345.

 Shipton, H, Dawson, J, West, M, & Patterson, M 2002, ‘Learning in manufacturing organizations: What factors

predict effectiveness?’ Human Resource Development International, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 55-57.

 Dymock, D & McCarthy, C 2006, ‘Towards a learning organization? Employee perceptions’, The Learning

Organization, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 525-537.

 Dechawatanapaisal, D 2005, ‘HRM as enablers of learning work behaviour: Perspectives from Thai ICT

professionals’, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 30-45

Marquadt, MJ 1996, Building the Learning Organization: A systems approach to quantum improvement and

global success, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Marquadt, M 2002, Building the learning organization: mastering the five elements for corporate learning, Palo

Alto, Davies-Black.

 Rahim, MFA, Chong, SC, & Chew, KW 2008a, ‘Internet usage in learning organizations: Malaysia’s perspective’,

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 132-154.

 Wright, PM & McMahan, GC 1992, ‘Theoretical perspectives for strategic human resource management’, Journal

of Management, vol. 18, pp. 295–320.

January 7, 2011 at 9:23 am Leave a comment

Leadership Skills & Learning Organizations

As we said before, we will be discussing more about the necessary leadership skills required in a learning organization, which are vision, motivation, and creativity. 😀



As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “ you cannot see the mountain near”.

As mentioned in the maximum performance book, to vision the future is a very hard and complicated skill that not all really know its importance. All great leaders should be able to vision the future. Visions can be dreams, fuzzy images, sounds, missing puzzles, and more. But to put those bits together is the skill, because the hard part is when you create the image and look forward to plan actions. Making a dream come true is a vision. However, visions differ from one person to another.

We believe that vision is like a paint brush used to paint a white blank piece of paper. Vision is very important for a leader in order to create a better learning organization, because they get to paint their future as they vision it in their minds. Each leader sets  numbers of goals but the key behind setting goals is, did you in-vision what you really want to achieve?  Visioning your future your road or way in life requires you to think outside the box, it requires you to read between the lines and go further than those specific written goals.

Another important point about vision is that it should adapt to changes since we are in a constant changing environment due to globalization and competitors in the business world, and the vision itself should be flexible to adjust to such changes.



Motivation is encouragement. Encouraging yourself, and your employees help develop skills that were there but not out there. Motivation is very likely discussed in universities, schools, homes, and in organizations. For example, in organization, when you motivate and encourage employees they work with commitment and enjoy what they are doing which lead to high productivity.

A leader must be able to pull out and reveal the best in every person and encourage them to do their best at all times, to think outside the box, without fear or doubt. A leader must motivate a person to feel that he belongs to the organization or society and making them feel this way helps in producing more, also discover, learn and search for more.

A leader must encourage him/her self before others to know how it feels to be motivated an inspire others at the same time


Us as Human Resource student thinking creatively is necessary, because in a workplace you get to deal a lot with people who face problems or bump into a wall and stop developing themselves. Therefore, creativity is needed not only to create new things but also to solve problems in a creative new way that help build a better working environment to all employees.

Creativity leads to long term success. Being creative requires you to see things in a different way, because being creative is endless. The thirst to come up with something new and different makes you a creative person, trying to figure out how to fit a triangle in a square makes you a creative person. Creativity simply refers to being imaginative. So, It is never too late to be creative!


To conclude, as mentioned in the maximum performance book, leaders are learners, they learn from themselves and from others for example: their followers. They can connect what they learn with their daily life and with people in the organization. Combining these skills in the role of the learning organizations leader will enhance and develop the organization in becoming a better organization.


F & M 😉



Forster, N. (2010). Maximum Performance: A Practical Guide To Leading And Managing People At Work. UK: Edward Elgar.

January 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

Leadership in Learning Organizations



      In our daily life we have a role model we have a leader. Leaders are found everywhere, being called a leader doesn’t mean you have to be someone with a high position. Leaders can be found at home, universities, work and more. Having a leader that brings out the leader in you that you never thought existed is a true leader. Therefore, no one can disagree with the fact that every organization in order to become a learning organization needs a leader with competencies, creativity, vision and motivation.

      Senge identified three leadership roles that are important for building a learning organization. “Leaders as designers”, “leaders as teachers”, and the “leaders as stewards”. Similarly, Marquardt (1996) identified six leadership roles in a learning organization. He considers the role of “instructor”, “coach” and “mentor” as the most important aspect of leadership in learning organization. In the role of “knowledge managers”, “colearners and model for learning”, leaders are learners themselves. As “architect and designers” and “coordinator” they are responsible for creating a learning environment motivating followers to perform at their best. Johnson (2002) considers visioning, empowerment and leader’s role in learning as crucial skills for leaders of learning organization.

         “The competitive pressures of the present environment necessitates the need to focus on risk-taking and creativity, developing new competencies and capabilities has gained importance and this places learning at the center of organizations. This has led to the development of new organizational forms known as “Learning Organization” and these organizations are more adaptive and flexible and tap the learning of individuals to improve organizational performance and enhance organizational learning. “


 Having a leader with competencies is very essential. Therefore, building a better competence and enhancing it is very important to deliver the organization promises and to maintain the credibility of leaders and team members alike. Also, leaders who are interested in developing competence and credibility of their constitution might think that this is a personal and hands on affair. Leaders are actually interested in those they coach, having empathy for them and understand their positions. This will be beneficial to make followers more qualified, more capable, more effective and leaders in their own right, (Kouzes & Posner, 2007).

As mentioned in the Kouzes and  Posner book, leadership competence refers to the leader’s track record and ability to get things done. Most people believe that competency doesn’t connect or relate to technical work as much as it relates to inspiring people that will follow their leader in the future or will be leading in the future. For example, people won’t follow someone who isn’t credible, who doesn’t really know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Workers will not follow me unless they truly believe that I’m the person they would trust to follow towards their future aim and target without doubting my capabilities. So, finally,  competence is earned by the leaders actions.


 In our next post we will be discussing more about skills that leaders in learning organizations require, which are the vision, creativity, and motivation.


M & F 😉



Marquardt, M. J. 1996. Building the learning organization: a systems approach to quantum improvement and global success. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Senge, P. 1994. The fifth discipline: the art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Currency Doubleday.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The Leadership Challenge. San Fransisco: Jossey- Bass.


January 3, 2011 at 4:20 am Leave a comment

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