Learning has been a part of human’s nature. Every day a person learns things from his or her surrounding because knowledge around us is infinite and there is an atmosphere of ‘change’ which surrounds us all. This is because knowledge is liquid in nature and it does changes every time. If we delve into it we see that there are seven sorts of knowledge sources which includes knowledge extracted from myth and legend, mystical knowledge, positive knowledge, mathematics and natural sciences, technological, religious and philosophical knowledge.
As knowledge is liquid, individuals have to learn so to stay on the top and to be up to date. That is why most of the authors say that learning is life long as things undergo a change every second. Individuals in the organization carry an utmost importance because they are the ones who can bring in the change in the organization. In last few years learning has gin organization has gained some importance and its significance has increased tremendously.
This is because of the idea of learning organization which has contributed a lot towards the learning of individuals in the organization. The debate which has started a long time ago about the improve work place learning, it stressed more on the issue of renewing or revamping the organizational resources (Whetten 2006). Learning is something which makes us understand different social arrangements and complex systems such as organization itself. Learning basically serves as a lens to analyze these structures and interpret them effectively.
Through learning we adopt different facts and different skills which we had not known about earlier in our life time but the most important thing is to interpret it, interpret its meanings, its contruction so to get different perspective of life. When it comes to individual learning, learning basically involves a process of finding and exploring the facts, questioning, reframaming and transforming the information at work or in the organization. Before we delve deep down into different methods of learning, we must not forget that work place learning is quite different from institutionalized learning (Belker 2005).
In the work place learning what happens is that you learn things on the spot and experience is there to teach you. But in institutional learning, you are being asked to learn specific things like in school or college life when we are offered some subjects and we have to work on them. Work place learning is being considered as informal learning because of the fact that it does not have any sort of curriculum to follow and a person learns due to his or her cognitive skills (Grossman 2001). If we go in the background of the learning theory, we find out that it has its basis in operant learning, conditional learning and social learning.
These have its basics in the psychology which defined parameters of these sorts of learning procedures. I classical conditioning what happens am that that a conditioned response is being made up by an unconditional stimulus and conditioned stimulus. It is a passive learning as it shows us that we react in a way specific way if something particular happens to us. Classic conditioning is really important from individual’s learning point of view because it is being applied in many cases in our daily life. For example a person knows that if any deviation occurs in the system then he or she has to go to the supervisor for the help-why?
Because he or she is being conditioned in a way that if something happens badly then they can go to a person who they can talk to sort out a solution can be thought out of it. In operant condition, which is another sort of learning method in which it is being told to a person that his or her certain behavior can cause him or her punishment or can reap him or her a reward. Examples of operant condition is seen every where. For example your instructor tells you that if you want a good grade then you must have to score well in the tests and exams.
Now here operant conditioning is used because a condition is being set to achieve a desired result. Similarly when a sales person is being asked by his or her supervisor that if he wants to earn a sizeable income then he must be having good amount of sales so in order to earn commission on that. Again over here a condition is being made so to have a desired action and outcome. Lastly in social learning theory and individual basically learns form the people who are there in his or her social circle (Nelson 2005).
For example we learn a lot of things from our teachers our friends and peers. Also we do learn a lot from television on which different shows and documentaries are being aired. Social learning is also close to observational learning as there is a lot to observe other behaviors actions and way of doing things. Learning criteria is never been confined to some limited models i. e. learning is done through different ways. It includes experiential learning, service learning, team building, scenario based learning and peer based learning.
In experimental learning what happens is that when a person does something he learns and this is what learning by experience is. We come across this sort of learning in organizations when you are being asked to do different tasks which you have not done before and here with your experience one learns about different things. Similarly in service learning, a participant gets into the community service and learns there about the things. Individual engages in different sort of activities in the community for example in town library and the learning which he gets from there is known a service learning.
In team building learning what happens is that an assignment is given to a group of people who then coordinate and then apply different strategies. This makes them work in group where they conjure u all their energies and learn through the experience they had. In peer base learning an individual learn from his or her peers. Peers make an individual learn by their experiences. The experiences really make one learn about it. Lastly in scenario based learning a scenario is been given to an individual and he is asked to troubleshoot that problem.
Here an individual applies his all the knowledge he has learned in the past (McShane 2008). This makes an individual learn and gives him or her confidence to apply knowledge in the real world. In this way he or she gets familiar with the way of doing things in practical. When we talk about individual learning in the organization, we mean that what sort of training must be given to him or her which can benefit the organization as a whole. I this way the development in the organization takes place it because they are the individuals who make up the organization (McShane 2008).
That is why if the individuals are being well equipped and well learned then organization would certainly be well developed institution. The models we have some advantages and disadvantages also for example in experimental learning its advantage is that what ever an individual learns stays there with him or her forever i. e. he remembers what so ever he or she has done because it’s the experience which goes with him so it is sort of a huge learning but on the other hand the disadvantage of this sort of learning is that a lot of resources are put or can be put onto stake.
Also most of the times it takes too much time so time are also a constraint behind that. In peer based learning, a lot of information is gathered through the peers but the main disadvantage is that it might not be relevant to your field or experience (Osland 2006). Similarly with the observational learning which is also a very good model through which learning can take place a main advantage is that learning takes place just by observing some act which is comparatively easier as compared to the others.
But the main disadvantage is again the relevance of the observed thing, whether it is relevant to your field of study or not. If we link the above described models with the organizational development, we get a considerable lead in proving the point that individual development and learning can bring huge changes in the organization and can out it on a high speed development track. For an organzation to become a developing organization, it has to first become a learning organization. It has first to adopt those practices and principles which can dub it as a learning organization.
For this it has to some how indulge in upgrading the skills of its people and support them in acquiring new knowledge which would be beneficial for the organization it self. The process which I have been telling is a process of learns and applies and this is done by individuals alone. A learning organization on the other hand actively creates and captures the knowledge. It also takes part in mobilizing and transferring the knowledge to the other people which enable them to accept an environment which is known as an environment of change (Osland 2006).
One of the other characteristics of the learning organization is that it does not rely on the old archaic rules and regulations which are being followed from decades but instead it gives it individual’s opportunity to come up with different ideas which can make an organization a better one. It basically actively promotes and facilitates and sometimes rewards those individuals who go for collective learning. One should ask that why an organization should indulge in learning?
What is the so called need for a firm to be continuously a part of an improvement programmed in which it is making itself better and better? Reason is that a firm has to do this and give training to its individuals who are there working for the because firm itself is being gathered with a lot of internal threats (Robbins 2008). External threats may orbit around the technology and marketing strategy whereas in internal matters firm have to make sure that it is equipped with up to date methods of doing business and operating so it can have a competitive edge from all others.
Organizational development on the other hand orbits around a lot of things. It includes human resource development, equipment administration, planning and recording and reporting. Every organization is different from others so it has different things to tackle and the way of doing things is also very unique. No organization can copy other ways of doing things because nature of work differs (most of the time) so a me too strategy wont work over here. Organizational strategy and organizational culture also plays an important part in the development of the organization.
Every organization has part to play and for that part to play in the market they adopt a strategy (Kreitner 2007). That strategy must be well planned and up to the mark so to achieve the goals of organization. Organzational development is closely linked up with strategy because strategy is something which is being followed so development of organization will be according to the strategy of the firm. In this way the learning models which would be applied to train the individuals will also follow particular criteria which would enforce the strategy of the organization itself.
An organization is a deliberate arrangement of people to accomplish some specific purpose. Organizational development is a technique or programs to change people and the nature and quality of interpersonal work relationships. This may be accomplished through various means, e. g. changing the structure of the organization itself, changing people, changing policies, organizational processes etc. Organizational development takes place through organizational change, which is any alteration in people, structure or technology.
In some ways, organizational culture may also be a factor in organizational development; however this is rare due to the nature of culture itself (Kreitner 2007). Organizational culture is a system of shared meaning within an organization that determines how employees act e. g. Toyota and HP succeeded in developing a successful culture that supported its operations and strategy. Organizational development is now giving way to the learning organization. In the current dynamic environment an organization must not only be responsive but also anticipatory.
Another concept is that of continuous change (Schermerhorn 2008). This is not only being performed at the factory and technology level through total quality management etc. , but also at the personnel level. In order to have the latest management tools, techniques and ideas as well as other specialized skills, personnel could either undergo regular training or the human resource department must ensure that the organization and its personnel stay ‘young’ where it has the greatest impact. However experiential learning is a great asset and must not be discarded.
The learning organization must find ways to appropriately manage the organizational knowledge treasure trove that is the knowledge that is created by collaborative information sharing and social interaction that lead to organizational members taking appropriate actions. The organization is undergoing change. Where it was important for the old to be stable, being dynamic is an important factor today. The old organization was job focused, inflexible, individual and command oriented, rule oriented with a relatively homogeneous workforce and hierarchical relationships.
The new organization must be flexible, skill focused, team oriented, involvement oriented, participative decision making, customer oriented, have a diverse workforce and have lateral and networked relationships. The new organization is best structured to engulf and assimilate new knowledge into its proverbial organizational archive and adapt its organizational knowledge and processes (French 1998). All of these measures, development, learning and changes, at the end aim to boost or maintain organizational performance, which is the accumulated end result of all the organization’s work processes and activities.
In order to ensure best organizational knowledge management, information must be controlled well hence the information officers and management information systems. Performance is best measured through a balanced scorecard that takes financial, customer, internal processes, people, innovation and assets into consideration. The first conscious advent into the learning organization and applying learning models was the benchmarking practice, which was in essence based on discovery or experiential learning, whereby processes and goals were altered to match with what experience showed was working.
Experiential learning is also working in organizations at another level, that is what not to do, and learning from the failures of others and one (Carter 2001). As a manager gains experience, he gains ‘intuitions’ and a better understanding of the organization and the environment. New employees improve performance on the job through experiential learning. Therefore, experiential learning is a major part of organizational development. Another form of learning is problem based (among other models). This is most helpful in new situations and sets the standard for the future.
In the current environment, organizations experience new situations and complex issues frequently. Problem oriented learning (PBL) is therefore crucial in order to remain competitive and afloat. Once a problem has been solved and PBL has taken place, simultaneously experiential learning is also taking place and will become valuable in the future (Mclean 2005). Organizational performance is depended on the performance and synergies of its individuals and their performance in turn depends on their skill. In order to remain dynamic and competitive, this skill must be adaptive.
This is why learning is crucial in organizations, at the structural and organizational level as well as individual level. Organizations need to adjust itself to a number of external and internal factors. Chief among them are the nature of the workforce (diversity, aging populations) technology, economic shocks, competition, social trends and world politics. It must adapt itself to these changes to ensure survival if it is not already in the optimal state. Change agents must carefully plan and execute these changes. However, they may come across resistance.
Although resistance to change may be helpful in critical analysis, it hinders adaptation and progress and therefore the development of the organization (Rothwell 2005). The chief concern therefore, is first, learning models to detect change that influences the organization. Then, which model to adopt to react to those changes at the organizational policy, strategic and structural level. Then how to implement those objectives at the individual level. At the end of the day, an organization is made up of individuals and it is the skills of these individuals that drive it to success or failure (Schein 2006).
Therefore, the organization needs to develop programs on how the individuals will learn to change their behavior. One this has been accomplished, in order to be a truly learning organization; the organization must adopt the appropriate model and incorporate it into its culture to ease future learning and response to change. Learning is a crucial at every level of the organization, from the strategic and tactical, down the first line managers and employees. In the end, learning has a lot of effect on the development of an organization.
As organization is made up of individuals and when the individuals are well prepared to act then only organization can take strides and can achieve its goals which it has planned for (Schein 2006). Organizational structure is also shaped by the organizational development. In organization structure what happens that the jobs are divided among the group members which are later coordinated and then taken care of. In organization structure learning is required and the models which are discussed above can be applied over here.
Those modes are well connected to the work specialization, departmentalization and chain of command, span of control, centralization de centralization and formalization. Levels of formalization also play an important part in the learning of individuals. Individuals have to be trained according to it. Strategy size and technology also sometimes makes a big difference in organizational structure. Mechanistic and organic designs are there which brings up a difference in the structure of the organization.
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