Monday, January 12, 2009

Organizational Learning and Culture

It sure is nice when a plan comes together! This class reminds of last semester's technology class. The learner gets tossed in the deep end of the pool and then starts swimming as fast as they can. The similarity is in the amount of reading that needs to be front-loaded in order for the course to make sense and establish a common vocabulary and reference point. What is organizational learning - brainwashing or corporate protocol? What is organizational culture and how would you recognize it?
The foundational reading before the first class meeting connected me to the giants of organizational learning. Schein, Lewin, Argyris and Schon had contributed so much to the field. Single and double-looped learning were new terms to me. Theories of action/Theories in use were also new concepts for me to digest. Lewin helped me analyze organizational learning from the perspective of force field analysis by looking at internal (want) and external (need) sources. Tuckerman's model of forming (orientation), storming (conflict), norming (group cohesion), performing (functional role-readiness), and adjourning (closure - terminating roles and tasks, and reducing dependency).
My reading of Argyris and Schon for another class solidified the concepts of how organizations learn. I made a connection with these authors and Tuckerman to a study on the Japanese model of knowlwdge creation and going from tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. Top the reading off with a dash of organizational culture and the picture becomes clearer. Knowing how organizations learn, why they learn the way they do, and examining values. expectations, customs, rituals, stories, common vocabulary and metaphors was confirmed by Schein and Morgan.
More think about and more to digest!

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