Definition Of Learning Organisation Management Essay
This research study is focused upon identifying the need and exploring the level of its intensity for career development of employees and its inherent linkage with the success of a business organization such as Pad & Co Ltd. It is a comparative study whereby the difference in attitude of the organizations as whole towards career development of the individuals has been studied. This study considers the difference in the significance and the commitment attached to the individuals’ career development and its incorporation into the Human Resource Processes and procedures by the company following different types of management styles. This study investigates such career related attitudes, values and commitment in two different contexts, i.e., Learning Organization and Conventional Organization.
The model of this study focuses on long-term strategy of organizational development (OD) that could be achieved through the development of the employees’ careers. In this respect two major strategies of OD have been studied that are considered to be integral part of the processes going on in organizations that claim to qualify as learning organizations. Based on this fact, this study assumes that practicing such strategies causes the development of their staff.
This research analyzes the supportive role of Learning Organization towards the employees careers while it moving towards the final stage of development. For this purpose the impact of two of such OD strategies. Improvement of Quality of Output and Human Resource Development for sustainability of Organization, have been selected in the context of Learning Organization. These two strategies have been taken as Independent Variables for the study. The relationship of these two variable strategies with the dependent variable i.e. Career Development is considered to be direct, as these contribute directly towards the process of career development of individuals.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 DEFINITION OF LEARNING ORGANISATION
Much more emphasis is made upon Learning Organisation due to increased pace of change. One of the origins of Learning Organisation (LO) comes from Shell Company where Aries de Geus illustrates learning as being a major sustainable competitive edge for achieving success. The phenomenon of globalization has turned the business world into a global dynamic village for business exchanges. Indeed, competition is becoming increasingly fiercer and simultaneously using Learning Organization as a strategy has become a MUST for companies’ success and development. Adopting such strategy helps organizations to innovate and acquire knowledge in order to survive and thrive in the current rapid changing environment.
Some key definitions by distinguished writers on Learning Organisation are as follows:
“The essence of organizational learning is the organisation’s ability to use the amazing mental capacity of all its members to create the kind of processes that will improve its own”- Nancy Dixon (1994)
“A Learning Organisation is one that consciously manages its learning processes through an inquiry-driven orientation among all its members”- Kim D. (1992)
“A Learning company is an organization that facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself”- M. Pedley, J. Burgoyne and Tom Boydell (1991)
“Organisations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire when new and expensive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to learn together”- Peter Senge (1990)
Learning Organisation is achieving a significant importance nowadays and most modern companies is widely applying this concept to allow them achieved sustainable growth and development.
What are the origins of the “Learning Organisation” approach? Who helped in implementing this approach? There do have some great authors who are known as the founders of Learning Organisation. Their views, theories and practices greatly helped in understanding and implementing the concept of Learning Organisation in many successful companies.
2.1.1 Peter Michael Senge
Peter Michael Senge, born in 1947 and graduated in engineering from Stanford completed his PhD on Management. Peter Senge is considered as the “Strategist of the Century” by the Journal of Business Strategy has a specific vision of Learning Organisation. He actually used to see Learning Organisation as a company whose people continually enrich their knowledge and capabilities in order to improve themselves and create a better work environment where they can subsequently reach for personal development. The emergence of Peter Senge’s book the “Fifth Discipline” after his studies of the business environment at Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT) provides a greater public interest to the concept of Learning Organisation. The principal interest of Peter Senge is to encourage delegation in the leadership approach of companies to improve employees’ aptitudes and being more applied in working towards goals and objectives of the company as well as their own personal goals. Peter Senge is also the co-founder chair of the Society for Organisational Learning (SoL)- a non-profit membership organization involving f worldwide researchers, corporations and consultants committed in finding out, incorporating and applying theories and practices for the interdependent development of people and their institutions. The SoL works at attracting community sponsorship to support pilot projects that hold relatively idealistic concerns.
The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook published by Peter Senge and other colleagues which is a further practical work explains that any person who desires to be part of a learning organization should begin with a personal change. He argues that if in a group there are members who only tell others what to do and not to do without listening to others’ requests; those members ought to be keen to change themselves.
Peter Senge identifies five essential disciplines which are supposed to be converging for the improvement of learning organizations namely systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision and team learning. He proposes that people forget about their old ways of thinking (mental models), gain knowledge while learning with others (personal mastery), be aware of how their organization actually works (system thinking), create a plan which everyone consent (shared vision), and subsequently do a mutual work to reach that vision (team learning).
2.1.2 Donald Alan Schön
Born in 1930 and graduated from Yale in 1951, Donald A. Schön obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy at Harvard University. Died on 13th September 1997, he is remembered for his concern with the development of philosophical application and learning systems within companies. Donald A. Schön co-authored Theory in Practice and Organisational Learning in association with Chris Argyris. Schön’s works are still having an important impact on the conceptualization of organizational learning. With The Stable State, we can examine his concern about professional learning, learning processes in organizations, and with developing critical and self-reflecting practice.
Donald Schön’s theory has helped in several debates concerning the so called “learning society”. He argues that with the span of free time and the rapidity of environment change which surrounds us, the “learning society” should aim at people continuously require education. He wanted to evaluate to which extent businesses, social organizations and government can be described as “learning systems”. He persists on the fact that “learning systems” is a necessity for all organizations nowadays.
In collaboration with Chris Argyris, Donald Schön works on learning systems regarding qualified effectiveness and organizational learning. They argue that there is a hole between theory and action and people do have mind maps concerning how to operate in different circumstances which include the way they plan, apply and review what they did.
2.1.3 Chris Argyris
Chris Argyris, born on 16th July 1923, obtained an MA in Psychology and Economics at Kansas University in 1949 and a Ph.D. in Organisational Behaviour at Cornell University in 1951. He is currently the director of the Monitor Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Argyris is plaised for publishing original ideas about how learning can develop organizational growth & development success. His first research was basically on the influence of proper organizational structures, control systems and management upon people. He then concentrates himself upon organization changes particularly regarding the behaviour of superiors.
While working with Donald Schön, Argyris at first analyzed three main concepts which are governing variables, action strategies and consequences. Governing variables are proportions that individuals are likely to keep within reasonable limits while action strategies are actions to be taken to keep governing variables within acceptable range. Furthermore during their study, Argyris and Schön’s focal point was on three fundamentals specifically learning systems, double-loop and single-loop organization learning and the relationship of reflection-in-action to professional activity.
Double-loop learning consists learning that confronts the status quo while routine learning is considered as single-loop learning. Argyris argues that double-loop learning is concerned about resolving complicated problems. Transparency helps to discuss and establish the truth more obviously and it depends on employees’ dedication to seek truth and accept personal responsibility at their place of work. While for single-loop learning, it is argued that individuals are used to approve transparency and truth only when their reputation is not at stake.
2.2 CHARACTERISTICS OF LEARNING ORGANISATION
Research identifies three characteristics of learning organization that are Learning Culture, Tools and Techniques and Skills and Motivation.
Learning Culture refers to an organisational environment that nurtures learning. These organisations opt for understanding of their business climate while using internal and external sources and advisors. A Learning Culture develops a free exchange and flow of information within the organization thus encouraging innovation. With the help of systems, expertise and knowledge is readily available allowing employees to be up-to-date. With the support of the top management, employees are more committed to their tasks, they are encouraged to learn and thus achieve personal development. While adopting a learning culture, organizations show concern about their employees. Encouraging them to learn and developing their capabilities is meanwhile valuing employees to progress and achieve efficiency. Organisations also open doors for more creative ideas and more challenges. Employees feel free to explain their ideas. A learning culture consists of the organization being future oriented, encouraging exchange and flow of information, dedicate to learning and personal development, valuing employees, offering people a climate of trust and giving the possibility to learn from experience.
Tools and techniques are concerned about ways that support individual and team learning. This can refer to creativity and problem solving practices. Examples of tools and techniques that can be used to encourage learning are interviews to seek for information, creativity to brainstorm and gain new ideas, delegation of decision making, observation from possible outcomes, reframing knowledge, communication across borders, understanding people wants and needs and supporting others at work.
Skills and motivation consists of means that management could adopt to encourage learning within the organization. A learning organization is one that shows concern to employees and supports its people in learning new skills and techniques. Motivating people is very important in encouraging people to learn. It can be either through financial or non-financial motivations.
2.3 BENEFITS OF LEARNING ORGANISATIONS
There are several challenges faced by organisations nowadays in their business environment and promoting learning organization can help them to confront them. Changes at place of work is arising constantly and adopting new strategies and techniques can be difficult for workers therefore being a learning organization will allow the organization to get ahead this stage more easily as in a learning organization, changes are perceived as opportunities to learn about new developments and enrich employees’ knowledge.
Producing what customers want is crucial for all businesses and with the constant change in taste of customers, companies need to be very pro-active and apply frequent changes to the whole organization. Learning organization will ensure that strategic coordination is kept between resource allocations, organizational goals and objectives, individual learning and customer need.
Training is often seen as a cost for companies and sending workers on training is relatively considered as time wastage. Learning organization can search for other alternative strategies for the workforce to learn at their workplace and this type of learning is much more appreciated by either top management or staff and is effective and cost less for the company.
Learning is both individual and social. Learning organization also gives room for personal development. It generates in the company permanent learning prospects. The workforce is continuously encouraged to learn thus avoiding employees being reluctant to change and they will be keen at learning new things. Learning organization also encourages inquiry and dialogue which gives rise to employees working altogether in good working conditions.
Collaboration and team learning is also one of the numerous benefit of learning organization as it focuses a lot on group work and team spirit. Employee will learn how to act as a team and work in groups. Learning organization institute systems to retain people and share learning. It empowers employees toward a share vision.
2.4 LIMITATIONS FACING LEARNING ORGANISATIONS
Learning Organisations are progressively being more accepted by worldwide businesses as they are supposed to encourage people to work more efficiently and effectively. The concept of learning organization gives rise to a better work environment where workforce has the possibility to share information and incessantly learn together.
However learning organizations are also criticized and there are opinions such as Finger and Woollis (1994) which argues that learning organizations see its people as “resources” can that exploited for business’ interests. Learning is often perceived as a instrument for competitive benefit for the organization. One of the main disagreement concerning learning organizations is “whose interests are mainly taken into consideration and being served?” There are several limitations facing the learning organization namely
The organization as a site and frame for learning
The dominant role of managers and educators
The subordinate role accorded to employees as undifferentiated learner-in-deficit
The emphasis on problem-solving and instrumental knowledge
The organization;s appropriation of critical reflection
The reliance in “open” dialogue for group learning in the workplace.
2.5 HOW DOES LEARNING ORGANISATION SUPPORTS GROWTH DEVELOPMENT
Learning organization supports growth and development by promoting:
“Creating a Learning Project Environment”- This article by Deane, Clark et al (1997) points out whether project results meet up consumer needs and it also gives a model that allows managers evaluate and narrow these gaps and promote a continuous enhancement cycle.
Furthermore learning organization provides for a better working environment where people can work freely with the hope that things can be improved. It allows employees to continually improve themselves both individually and socially and encourages a continuous improvement in the company either on behalf of the management or the employees.
Innovation is perceived as a process of knowledge conception and the speed and direction of knowledge creation reproduces the organizational set-up of the firm as well as its investments in research and development and training. Learning organization is also known for promoting innovation and creativity. It gives room for creative ideas while the opinion of everyone in the organization is valued.
Dori Digenti’s paper (1998), “Towards an Understanding of the Learning Organisation”, merges the emotional and intellectual learning desired to break throughout defensive practices and spot effective learning performance. The learning community is seen through three lenses which include the vision and the attributes, the pro-social behaviors which form an institution for learning and managing and lastly the cognitive skills built through community learning. The learning organization cultivates a vision of completeness and by bringing one’s whole self to the organization, the learning community contributes to the happiness of the employees and the employers are better seen by their staff.
2.6 LEARNING TAKES PLACE IN LEARNING ORGANISATION
Learning takes place either consciously or unconsciously. It is viewed as a process of acquiring new, or modifying existing knowledge, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information through experiences, studies and being taught. Human beings, animals and some machines possess the ability to learn which is not compulsory but mostly contextual.
There are different types of learning and the three main ones are Visual Learning, Auditory Learning and Tactile Learning. Visual learners are those who learn through visual techniques of communication. They learn through diagrams, charts, visual presentations and take notes of what is being presented. Those learners are those who are able to absorb information obtained through visual methods and have the capacity to create their own graphics and charts.
Auditory learning is for learners who are best able to understand information through lectures and other verbal techniques of communication. Written notes or information do not really make sense for them until the information is being verbally explained to them. Auditory learners study new information and skills while listening. Whilst learning, the auditory learners are very attentive to the tone of voice and the speed of the teacher/lecturer- the person who is explaining the new information. Those learners benefit a lot from recordings
Often known as “kinesthetic” learners, tactile learners are those people who mostly learn while completing the actual work. Tactile learning involves a hands-on approach to learning. Those people learn best while mastering new skills and taking part in experiences and experiments. However tactile learners might undergo a short attention span which will make learning new skills a bit difficult except they take the practical approach.
Learning organisations need to know in which category their employees fall when it comes to learning so as to be able to make them learn effectively and absorb new information and skills at the first time and thus avoiding time wastage and repetition while learning. Organisations need to know the appropriate methods of learning for their staff to choose the best study technique and lessen the amount of reviewing.
There are several personality questions where organizations can determine it which learning style their workforce falls and which kind of learning is more applicable for them to learn best and take in most of the information given. Throughout tests, observations, guidance counselors learning organizations are able to settle on which category of learning style to adopt with its employees for them to be more receptive towards learning.
We learn at any age-people spend hours at learning. They learn for self-improvement. Learning is essential to improve knowledge and skills. There is no age to stop learning; it is a continual process which helps to enrich and develop ourselves. The environment and the other individuals in our surroundings increase our motivation to learn. While learning, people do not only get intellectual or material benefits, they do also get psychological or emotional benefits namely pleasure satisfaction and self-esteem. Learning aids to impress others and to receive praises and gain recognition among others.
2.6.1 LEARNING AS A STRATEGY FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS
A business strategy consists of the moves and approaches devised by management to produce successful organization performance. A successful strategy is the management’s action plan to attract and satisfy its customers, to run its operations, to compete successfully against rival firms and to achieve organizational objectives and targets. A good business strategy is important to proactively shape how a company’s business will be conducted, to mold the independent actions and decisions of managers and employees into coordinated company-wide plan and to chart the company’s direction. A good strategy in addition to a good strategy execution results in good management.
Organisation who is willing to implement the learning organization concept, will need an overall strategy with goals and objectives clearly targeted. Once those goals and objectives are well established, the strategic tools that will be recommended will then be set normally by the management. Gaining strategic advantage in today’s business climate is not an easy task. Organisational learning strategies are plans by which knowledge is spread through an organization.
The more experienced employees in all different departments of the company, needs to share their knowledge with new ones and with whose who needs to be taught. A strategic organizational learning plan gives rise to several channels of communication and allows all departments of the business to gain knowledge.
Learning development is an organizational strategy which conveys employees’ competencies, skills and capabilities necessary to guarantee a successful and sustainable growth development for organizations. Being a learning organization will help businesses and their employees to easily to adapt to changes and to work more effectively.
2.7 THE ROLE OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN LEARNING ORGANISATION
Being a learning organization is essential tool for businesses to attain goals and objectives of the company and consequently achieving success. At this juncture, an efficient strategic human resource management plays a decisive role. A strategic human resource management brings into line the general business strategy. By taking into consideration the overall objectives of the company, the Human Resource Manager is able to take decisions about what kind of learning to be given to the different levels of employees.
The approach of Human Resource Management (HRM) strategy should generally reflect the employees’ learning and aptitude development strategy within the organisation. HR Managers should analyse the motivation needed for each employee to encourage learning in their companies. There are categories of workers at different levels who have contrasting needs and wants. They can be motivated differently and managers need to know how to motivate their staff to learn new skills and techniques of doing their work. Learning Organisation can be an effective strategy for business success if strategies for learning are well planned by the HR manager and the latter is in capacity to avoid people from being reluctant to learn and changes.
2.7.1 How HRM motivate people to learn
HR managers can motivate people in organization to learn and work well for the success of the company through the reward strategy. It puts in line the aspects of non-financial and financial employee reward package. Non-financial rewards include valuing employee engagement in terms of career development opportunities and promotion facilities. Motivation is the desire of getting things done quickly and correctly. It results from the person’s requirements to achieve goals and objectives and to satisfy needs and wants. The best-motivated employees readily to learn and adopt changes will give the possibility to their organization to reach for goals and objectives as cost effectively as possible. Managers should identify what kind of motivation to develop for employees and help them to achieve their own objectives while working towards that of the company. Unmotivated workers are reluctant to learn and they do not execute their work effectively.
Moreover there are several famous theories of motivation which can be useful to managers to encourage learning in their orgnisations namely, F.W. Taylor and scientific management, Elton Mayo and the human relations theories and Maslow and the hierarchy of human needs.
F.W. Taylor (1856-1917) is the first theorist who have seriously analyse motivation of people to help organization management to increase employees’ performance and productivity. His approach known as “scientific management” is still used in the modern business world. He studies and records performance of people at work through an hypothesis. Taylor aims at reducing workers’ inefficiency in manufacturing industries thus increasing productivity gains between employers and employees.
In the twentieth century, he emphasizes his theory on reducing unqualified and non-specialized staff who was weakly led by supervisors and without proper training. Taylor’s scientific approach can help companies in becoming efficient learning organizations while encouraging workers to learn and perform their tasks well, to train them when necessary and supervise them to ensure that work is done in the best way. His study demonstrates that workers are driven to learn and work well and gives much more effort when being motivated by money
Elton Mayo (1880-1949) is well-known for his “Hawthorne Effect” conclusions. Throughout the several experiments performed at the Hawthorne Factory of Western Electric Co. in Chicago, his colleagues and he based themselves on the probability that working conditions might be a source of workers’ motivation. Examples of those working conditions are lighting, heating and rest periods among others. However the researches find out that change in working conditions and financial rewards has the least effect upon workers’ productivity. Workers are much more motivated when there is interaction between the management and the employees and when the employers take into consideration their interests during decision making. Elton Mayo’s study has also demonstrated that working in groups and building team spirit is sure to develop productivity and a good motivational result is to allow workers organize themselves over some decisions on their own working life
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) theory is concerned about finding out what are the principal needs of human needs. Maslow argues that needs determine actions-people are motivated to work well to reach for their needs. He interprets a hierarchy of need for people to become more productive and satisfied consisting of 5 distinct levels which are self-actualisation, esteem needs, social needs, safety needs and physical needs. He suggests that people those five needs are being satisfied are those who will effectively words towards the goals set by their companies. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
5th Level: Self-Actualisation-Reaching for one’s full potential.
4th Level: Esteem Needs- Respect from others, status recognition of achievement.
3rd Level: Social Needs-Trust, acceptance, friendship, social facilities.
2nd Level: Safety Needs- Protection from threats, job security, health & safety at work.
1st Level: Physical Needs- Food, Shelter, Water, Rest.
3. COMPANY PROFILE- Phil Alain Didier Company Ltd (PAD & Co. Ltd)
Situated at Riche-Terre and established in 1976 by Mr. Philippe Hao Thyn Voon, PAD & Co. Ltd was incorporated in 1987. PAD & Co. Ltd is Construction Company those main early years were committed to construction of utility pipelines and electrical power network. It was upon those construction works that the company developed its reputation and its competitiveness along with the determined effort of its employees which help out for sustaining consistent and steady growth. The company is actually registered as a Grade A Contractor for Building and Civil Engineering works and has been licensed in 2002 to ISO 9001:2000.
The corporate philosophy of PAD & Co. Ltd is to aim at innovation and achieving excellence. Its management system which works at improving consumer’s satisfaction by offering qualified services, has given the opportunity to PAD & Co. Ltd to recently obtain some great projects namely the construction of Cybercity Tower II, the Thermal Power Stations in St-Louis and Rodrigues, utility underground networks and government housing units and schools across the country.
PAD & Co. Ltd’s vision for the future is development and growth together with integrated considerations such as the welfare of its employees including health and safety and the community, social responsibility and respect of the environment. The company is structured with the Board of Directors at the top, following by a well established senior executive team including the General Manager, the Operations Manager, the Accounts Manager, the Contracts Manager, the Business Unit Manager, the Site Manager, the Security Manager, the Workshop Manager and the Procurement & Purchasing Manager. A self-motivated staff assists the senior executive team which consists of head of departments, engineers, technical staff, administrative staff, local workers and expatriates workers.
A dynamic staff, a good team spirit among employees and an effective communication channel help the company to achieve success and build up the its competitiveness in the industry. The company has its own workshop for maintenance. Moreover there are vehicles, plant and equipment owned by the company and used on a day-to-day basis namely crawler excavators and backhoe loaders, tower fix cranes, asphalt recycler & cutters, dumpers and tractors and so on.
PAD & Co. Ltd engages to
Combine effective project management and a highly skilled staff to provide the highest quality civil engineer contracting services to its esteemed customer.
Guarantee that the site work is designed, supervised, executed, and recorded too show that contractual requirements are consistently meet
Work together with all those who are directly and indirectly inconvenienced by Pad & Co’s construction works to find alternative and suitable solutions.
Abide with constitutional and legal requirements of the building and civil engineering industry.
Fully engage its respected suppliers in the work implementation process so as to supply its services in a timely manner.
Appropriately train employee to boost them on a continuous basis.
Ensure that this quality policy is evaluated on a regular basis so that it effectively provides as the basis for defining the quality objectives of the enterprise in line with its policy for continuously improving customer satisfaction.
This chapter deals with the methodology used in carrying out the research at Pad & Co Ltd. The research methodology which was based on the models proposed by Burns and Bush (2003) and Wilson (2003), involved the following steps:
Research Objectives and Hypotheses
Data Collection Method
Data Collection and Analysis
4.1 Research Problem
The ferocious competition prevailing in the construction sector has lead to compannies to adopt a proactive employee management strategy. Studies have shown that business performances are affected by the ability of making the best out of employees (Naidu et al., 1999; Palmatier & Gopalkrishna, 2005). A number of construction companies have managed to maintain a stable market position as a consequence of good employee management strategies.(Keltner, 1995).
The above was considered in defining the research problem within the context of Pad & Co Ltd, Mauritius.
4.1.1 This study has the following research questions:
What is learning?
What are the benefits and limitations of learning?
How learning organizations sustain growth & development?
What can HRM motivate people to learn?
4.2 Research Objectives
Research objectives are defined as providing relevant, accurate and unbiased information that the researcher can use to solve the research problem (Burns & Bush, 2003; Wilson, 2003). Prior to developing the research objectives, a thorough review of literature was done on the topic. The following objectives were set:
To investigate what is learning.
To assess the benefits and limitations of learning.
To evaluate how learning organizations sustain growth and development.
To find out how HRM can motivate people to learn.
4.3 Research Design
The research design of this study is tailored according to the objectives of the research and the conditions in which the research was conducted. The practical constraints associated with the timing of the research have also been taken into consideration. Therefore, the purpose of the study, the research strategy, the research approach and the research method were chosen accordingly.
4.3.1 (A) Exploratory Study
An exploratory study is a valuable means of finding out “what is happening: to seek new insights; to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light” (Robson 2002:59). This type of study is useful to clarify the understanding of a problem, which can be derived from a thorough literature review, interviews of experts, and focus group interviews. In this case, the questionnaire was distributed among the employees of Pad & co Ltd.
4.3.1 (B) Descriptive Study
The object of a descriptive research is ‘to portray an accurate profile of persons, events or situations’ (Robson 2002). This may be an extension of, or a forerunner to, a piece of exploratory research or, more often, a piece of explanatory research. It is necessary to have a clear picture of the phenomena on which to collect data prior to the collection of the data (Saunders et al. 2009).
In the current study both exploratory and descriptive research were conducted in order to have a better understanding of the existing links between learning and sustainable growth and development.
4.4 Data Collection Method
A questionnaire has been designed on the basis of recouped literature and past researches, with a view to attain the objectives of the research problem. One background question on relationship length, measured in number of years, has been included as a single measure of actual behavioural loyalty. Data collected was both of a primary and secondary nature. While the primary data was collected through a survey, secondary data used was that of past empirical studies and researches from various authors across the world.
4.4.1 Survey strategy
According to Saunders et al. (2009), the survey is a very popular research strategy used in business and management research. It is generally related to the deductive research approach, and for descriptive and exploratory research. A quantitative research method was adopted to collect numerical data through the development of a questionnaire.
4.4.2 Questionnaire Design and Structure
The questionnaire was split into four Sections namely A, B, C, and D and contained some thirty (30) questions which were a mixture of dichotomous (giving only two alternatives) and multichotomous ones (a range of options). Nominal Scale (Yes/No) and Likert Scale (Scaling over a range) were used.
The questionnaires were administered through personal interviews on a one-to-one basis, while some were also emailed and hand delivered to employees for completion at their comfort and pace.
It treats the generic aspects of awareness employees have concerning the learning strategies of the company, such as if the company encourages them to learn and if they are aware of what the company if doing to encourage them to learn.
This section deals with the Benefits and limitations of learning, where questions address areas like if they know how learning is going to be beneficial for them, and the drawbacks of the learning strategy for the company.
It looks at the growth and development aspects of the learning organization, whereby twenty-two (22) aspects have been analysed to gauge the communication and sucess level at Pad & Co Ltd.
The last section treats the demographic profile of the respondents. Questions about age, gender, department, and number of working years were asked.
4.4.3 Pilot Test
For the purpose of this study, a pilot test amongst some 10 employees was undertaken on a random basis to assess the understanding of employees, statements’ clarity and precision, clarity of provided responses, sensitivity of questions as well as the layout and content of the questionnaire. It was concluded that:
- The questionnaire was too generic
- Employees did not have enough time to answer all questions during interviews
- Elements of loyalty measures were not there
- Employees were replying to the questions without really understanding the purpose
The questionnaire was then reviewed and adapted to the exigencies of the study.
4.5 Sample Design
4.5.1 Sample Unit
The sample unit or sample frame is a “list of the population of interest from which all sampling units are taken” (Wilson, 2003). The sample unit normally refers to the target population represented by Pad & Co Ltd employees in this particular study. The sample population for this research consisted of some 800 employees of Pad & Co Ltd, from the construction sector.
4.5.2 Sample Size
There are several approaches to determining the sample size. These include using a census for small populations, imitating a sample size of similar studies, using published tables, and applying formulas to calculate a sample size (Cochran, 1963; Israel, 1992). To determine the sample size for the purpose of this research, a published table has been used. At +5% precision level, 95% confidence level and a proportion of 0.5 for the degree of variability in the population, the ideal sample size for this study should have been 400 employees (Israel, 2012). However, due to certain limitations, mainly time constraints, availability of employees and willingness of employees to participate, the sample size was limited to 150 employees.
4.5.3 Sampling Technique
The type of probability sampling method used was the stratified random sampling. According to Wilson (2003), “a stratified random sampling is a probability sampling procedure in which a chosen sample is forced to contain potential respondents from each of the key segments of the population.” Hence a quota sampling technique was used whereby the employees have been stratified based on the types of department. At the end of the data collection period, 112 questionnaires were collected, resulting in a response rate of 75%.
4.5.4 Validity and Reliability
Cronbach’s (1951) alpha statistic is the most frequently used indicator of instrument reliability in survey research. The reliability of the scales for this data is determined using the Cronbach alpha and the results showed that the alpha coefficients were high, that is, above the minimum value of 0.5, which is considered acceptable as an indication of reliability (Hair et al., 2000). Such a figure indicates that the image measurement component is a good indicator of what is to be investigated. It is seen that for the entire dimension, the Cronbach’s Alpha value is well above the critical point of ‘0.5’.
4.6 Data Collection and Analysis
4.6.1 Data Analysis
The statistical software SPSS 16.0 has been used to analyse data collected from the survey. Descriptive statistics, with percentages and mean analysis, were undertaken. The answers were illustrated by means of bar charts, pie charts and tables using Microsoft Excel 2004 for Mac.
4.6.2 Data Coding and Data Entry
Data coding involves assigning numerical codes to responses so that the computer can recognize them, they can be stored in data fields to be interpreted and manipulated for statistical and tabular purposes. After numerical codes were assigned to the responses, the data was entered on the SPSS programme.
4.6.3 Statistical Analysis
Inferential analysis was used to test the main hypotheses that were formulated to support the objectives of the study. Pearson Correlation and Regression Analysis were mainly used. Pearson’s Bivariate correlation coefficient is a measure of linear associations. This parametric technique was used to assess the strength of the relationship between two variables. For the purpose of the project, Pearson correlation coefficient (r) was used to test the hypothesis as well as for the analysis of the questionnaires. The Pearson correlation coefficient (r) can take on any value between -1 and +1. A value of +1 represents a perfect positive correlation, meaning that the two variables are positively associated, as values of one variable increase; values of other variable will also increase. By contrast, an (r) value of -1 represents perfect negative correlation. A value of 0 means that the variables are perfectly independent, that is, uncorrelated.
4.7 Research Report
The Research report is the final step in the research process, whereby results from the survey as support evidence were used to illustrate the main findings of the study and to interpret the information gathered on the relationship between the awareness of the learning organization, the benefits and drawback at Pad & Co Ltd. The outcome of the analysis helped to address any loopholes that existed within the actual learning context, while also indicating what the expected strategies to enable employee development are.
4.8 Limitations of the survey
Though the survey was conducted to the best of its possibility to ensure full effectiveness, still it showed some limitations, such as:
The number of employees that could be surveyed limited the research project. It is valid to argue that a 100% response ratio is quite impossible and often only a proportion of the people invited to take part in the survey would eventually participate. From the 150 potential respondents invited, only 112 actually participated. Hence generating a response ratio of 75% only.
The next limitation pertains the quality of the responses. The research project has not been insured against the respondents’ bias and errors. Since a number of questions were constructed using the Likert Scale, there is a chance that employees could overreact or under react to certain statements.
The respondents did not allocate the same amount of time for the face- to-face interviews, as most of them had time constraints. Many responded just to please and/or help, while other just filled the questionnaire because they were asked to do so. Hence, the truthfulness and good faith were assumed, but not guaranteed.
Some respondents hesitated to voice out their true opinions fearing retaliation from the company or any other negative impact in their relationship with employers.
The outcome of this research can shed light on future avenues that can be explored following analysis of the link between the learning organisation and employee development at Pad & Co Ltd. The actual survey was done in a way to minimize risk of bias as far as possible, but still several limitations were experienced. But still, these limitations can be addressed in future researches to derive better results and obtain greater accuracy, reliability and validity.
5. ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF FINDINGS
In this chapter, the findings of the study are presented. The data collected are analyzed and illustrated through descriptive diagrams in the form of pie charts and bar charts.
5.1 General information of respondents:
As shown by figure 1 above, it can be seen that the majority of the respondents that is 22% work in the accounting and finance department, followed by 17% of them who work in the security department
Figure 2 shows that 52% of the respondents are male and 48% of them are female.
It can be observed in figure 3 the most of the respondents that is 63% are from the age group of 20-30 years and 27% are from the age group 21-40 years.
4. Number of years working at Pad & Co ltd
As shown in figure 4, most of the respondents (41%), have worked at Pad & co ltd between 2-4 years.
1. The company encourages employees for continuous learning
As depicted in figure 5, it can be seen that the majority of the respondents that is 50% agree that the company encourages employees for continuous learning.
2. The employees have a clear vision of the objectives and goals of the company
Figure 6 indicates that 50% of the respondents agree that employees have a clear vision of the objectives and goals of the company.
3. Necessary information is accessible to employees to work successful
As shown in figure 8, it can be observed that most the respondents that is 48% agree that necessary information is accessible to employees to work successfully.
4. Learning is the responsibility of everyone and not left to senior supervisor and managers
Figure 9 shows that the majority of the respondents that is 48% of them agree that learning is the responsibility of everyone.
5. Employees and management openly discuss about mistakes so as to take corrective measures
As indicated in figure 10, it can be noted that most of the respondents (47%) agree that employees and management openly discuss about mistakes so as to take corrective measures.
6. Top management and senior supervisors are always keen to help and teach their subordinates
It can be observed in figure 11 that the majority of the respondents that is 45% agree that top management and senior supervisors are always keen to help and teach their subordinates.
7. The company provides training facilities to his employees
Figure 12 shows that 56% of the respondents agree that the company provides training facilities to his employees.
8. Employees view problems as an opportunity
It can be seen in figure 13 that most of the respondents that is 50% of them agree that employees view problem as an opportunity.
9. Head of departments usually consider suggestions and requests coming from their subordinates
Figure 14 describes that the majority of the respondents (48%) agree that the head of departments usually consider suggestions and requests coming from their subordinates.
10. Employees are rewarded for the effort they give when learning
Figure 15 shows that 39% of the respondents agree that employees are rewarded for the effort they give when learning.
5.3 Benefits & Limitations:
1. Learning brings both individual and social benefits
It can be seen in figure 16 that 66% of the respondents agree that learning brings both individual and social benefits.
2. The knowledge acquired from learning can be used for the long-term purposes
It can be observed in figure 17 that 49% of the respondents agree that the knowledge acquired from learning can be used for the long term purposes.
3. Learning gives employees the opportunity to work altogether and develop team spirit
As depicted in figure 18, it can be seen that the majority of the respondents, that is 60% agree that learning gives employees the opportunity to work altogether and develop team spirit.
4. Learning helps employees to build trust with each other
Figure 19 shows that most of the respondents (52%) agree that learning helps employees to build trust with each other.
5. Learning encourages continuous improvement at work and personal development
Figure 20 shows that 63% of the respondents agree that learning encourages continuous improvement at work and personal development.
5.4 Learning organization supports growth and development:
1. People are more at ease to talk about problems within a learning organization
As indicated in figure 21, the majority of the respondents that is 51% of them agree that people are more at ease to talk about problems within a learning organization.
2. People working in a learning organization are opened to alternative ways of getting work done
Figure 22 shows that most of the respondent that is 58% agrees that people working in a learning organization are opened to alternative ways of getting work done.
3. Learning is often seen as a cost for a company
As shown in figure 23, 45% of the respondents agree that learning is often seen as a cost for a company.
4. Learning organizations see only the interest of the company and sometimes forget their employees’ own interest
Figure 24 shows that 40% of the respondents agree that learning organizations see only the interest of the company and sometimes forget their employees’ own interest.
5. Employees are not well-motivated by their companies to learn
Figure 25, shows that most of the respondents that is 33% agree that employees are not motivated by their companies to earn.
6. At Pad & co ltd, the communication channels are clearly accessible and effectively used allowing discussion between managers and employees
As shown in figure 26 the majority of the respondents that is 37% agree that there is clear and effective communication channels at Pad &co ltd.
7. Learning can leads to business success by promoting communication
As described by figure 27, the majority of the respondents (65%) agree that learning can lead to business success by promoting communication.
8. Learning as a strategy can lead to business success by sharing knowledge across departments
Figure 28 shows that most of the respondents that is 56% agree that learning as a strategy can lead to business success by sharing knowledge across departments.
9. Learning as a strategy can lead to business success by easily adapting to changes and working effectively
Figure 29 shows that most of the respondents that is 56% agree that learning as a strategy can lead to business success by easily adapting to changes and working effectively.
10. Learning as a strategy can lead to business success by increasing the employees’ capabilities, skills and competencies necessary to sustain growth and development
Figure 30 shows that most of the respondents that is, 50% agree that learning as a strategy can lead to business success by increasing employees’ capabilities, skills and competencies necessary to sustain growth and development.
11. What should the company do to motivate its people to learn to achieve success?
RECOMMENDATIONS & CONCLUSION
Overview of the chapter
As stated in Chapter One, this research study was about the learning organization and the intensity for career development of employees at Pad & co Ltd. It analyzes the supportive role of learning Organization towards employee’s career. The findings have shown that the employees are very well aware of the benefits of learning through the several strategies that have been put forward by the company. They are aware of the possibilities of self development and quality development both for themselves and the company that Learning Organisation brings to them. Most employees are fully satisfied with the facilities offered by Pad & co Ltd for them to pursue their learning through training facilities. The survey also helped to analyze how the employees viewed the initiative that Pad & co Ltd brought to them. This turned out to be a highly motivational factor for the employees and thus having a better relationship with the top management. It was also found out that through these training and learning opportunities, the employees found new alternate ways of doing their work more efficiently and effectively. The employees were however of the view that even if they were being encouraged to learn more and further develop their skills, it should be the company who bears the cost for all these as it is Pad & Co Ltd who will mostly benefit of these newly developed skills. Also, employees seemed to think that the learning was in the interest of the company and that the employers often forget their employee’s interest. This survey also found that the communication channels were good according to the employees as they responded by saying that the communication channels were effective and that the supervisors were always ready to help and assist them in their work.
The main recommendation following this survey and its responses from the employees would be:
Offering better courses to employees relating to their immediate work. That is, provide them in depth training for their actual work so as to make them more efficient.
As suggested by employees, financial support for the learning of employees would highly benefit the company, as some employees who cannot afford themselves are not being to develop their skills and work for the betterment of the organization.
It has been found put that even with all the learning, there is still a lack of motivation by some employees. The main suggestions are more compensation that is financial support, more training and also devise motivation strategies so as to find why there are 29% of employees who have no answer as to what the company should do to motivate its employees.
Through the information gathered and analyzed in this study, it can be generally concluded that the employees belonging to any department is aware of the importance of trainings in their career promotion. It is because of this awareness that they think that whatever training they receive even if its impact is not direct, still it contributes towards their development.
The results produced by this study help us deduce that career progression path and the process is clearly defined and transparent in learning organizations due to its participatory form of management and open culture at Pad & co Ltd. It is because of this that the employees are clear about their career development opportunities at Pad & co Ltd.
Whereas, in conventional organizations ambiguities exist in such processes due to lack of employee involvement in the process, which limits the vision of the employees about their career progression.
One of the conclusions drawn from this study is that almost all the individuals have planned for their career and their stay with their organization is subject to this planning. This means voluntary turnover is not impulsive but is caused when the individuals see no match between theirs and organizational goals. To counter the turnover, Pad & Co ltd should be able to create a shared interest with the individuals.
In order to achieve long term association and be on the safer grounds, this shared interest could be created by identifying a match between the individuals’ career development and the organizational business strategy. Furthermore, the benefits should be clear to the individuals as they may not be able to see it by themselves.
While analyzing the individuals’ expectation from the company in terms of its support to the process of career development, we conclude from this study that majority wants that the organization should commit formally to such support. In this case, career development activities such as mentoring, coaching, trainings, promotions opportunities, on the job guidance and career counseling should be introduced into the organizations through formal interventions.
It has also been ascertained that learning organizations’ context is more conducive to the individual development as the career development activities are being practiced commonly. If these activities are formally integrated in different development processes, it would convey the message of a strong organizational commitment towards individuals’ career development ensuring long term association.
Besides these other development activities, we find that individuals consider trainings as one of the major intervention for their capacity improvement. Besides trainings, they have indicated other interventions for staff development such as guiding and supporting colleagues in their work, sharing information gained through these trainings and communicating standards of quality work. From all this, it can also be concluded that individual development contributes towards creating a learning climate at Pad & o Ltd especially when the context is that of a learning organization. This is because the learning organizations practices are based upon team work, where the performance of one individual affects the performance of the whole team. Hence we conclude that staff development activities do not only favor individuals in grooming themselves, but also provide a great deal of inputs in improving organizational performance.
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