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Learning Organizations

Joel O. Iverson

Subject Communication Studies » Organizational Communication

Key-Topics learning

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


A learning organization is most simply described as an organization in which learning has become a part of the →  organizational culture. As Lehr and Rice (2002 , 1062) state, “organizational learning is most often treated as an extended process through which organizations grow, change, adapt, and improve to remain viable.” Interest in learning organizations can be tracked to the early interests in →  organizational change processes , organizational culture, and organizational improvement. The goals of learning organizations include maximizing the organization's potential, adaptability to turbulent environments, and flexibility for change, increasing knowledge sharing among employees (→  Knowledge Management ), and creating strong organizational cultures. Learning organizations are contrasted with stagnant, unyielding, and overly bureaucratic organizations. The organizational learning literature is significant and growing (see Daft & Huber 1987 ; Weick & Ashford 2001 ). Learning goes beyond information sharing to include understanding and “know-how” ( Yanow 2004 ), involves application, is situated ( Raz & Fadlon 2005 ), and involves various levels and types. For example, Argyris and Schön (1978) differentiate between simple problem–solution thinking (single-loop learning) and a more reflexive learning where the underlying assumptions, thinking, and even organizational ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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