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Higher Education Organizations Of Pakistan Are Learning Organizations Management Essay

Higher Education (HE) organizations of Pakistan are normally considered as a learning organization. The objective of this paper is to analyze that how well HE organizations function as a learning organization. The reason to opt this sector is that HE organizations produce thousands of graduates annually who ultimately run the organization and become input for the organization to transform into learning organization. But their creativity, capability and system thinking depends on what they have learnt from their HE organizations. To investigate this study factor analysis and descriptive statistical technique is used to analyze the data while a self administrated questionnaire is used as a research methodology, for this purpose 30 senior faculty members selected to get responses and 5 likert scales is used to explore this study. This paper provides a strapping foundation for all the HE organizations to analyze that whether they are functioning as a learning organization or not.

Keywords:

Learning organization, Learning environment, Concrete learning process, Leadership, Higher Education organization

1. Introduction:

The transition of HE organizations into learning organizations requires continuous effort. From last few decades inventions, innovations and modernizations has entirely changed the way of doing work. Many studies have been conducted to explore the new ways for the learning of the individuals. Today policy makers of HE organizations are forced to think about the challenging organizational environment. The question how to compete in the market Leads towards learning organization. Striving for the best and deployment of skilled personnel and knowledge management is the spirit of the learning organization.

The idea of learning organization is the outcome of knowledge management. According to my point of view learning organization is a continuous approach of the individuals towards creative and progressive learning environment to optimal use of the organizational resources and proper utilization of knowledge from upward to downward to streamline the individual goals with the organizational goals. Only knowledge management is not essential for the learning organization but also individuals must be ready to support the new changes. In third world countries like Pakistan, most of the organizations suffering because individuals are not ready to adopt the new things due to their pessimistic approach towards the organization. Peter M. Senge has opened up a new horizon about the learning organization and he has introduced a very remarkable book The Fifth Discipline. Senge defined: In learning organizations people continually develop their capacity to achieve their desired goals, where new and expensive patterns of thinking are fostered, where they have collective objectives, and where people are frequently learning to learn jointly. In this book Senge has planned a framework of five disciplines: Personal mastery, Mental model, System thinking, Team learning and Shared vision to provide a foundation for the managers to transform the organization from organizational learning to” learning organization”. Senge has discussed many management flaws which hold back the practices of learning organization. He has given many practical examples to high lighten the organizational issues in context of learning organization.

The objective of this paper is to analyze that how well HE organizations function as a learning organization. The reason to opt for this sector is that HE organizations produce thousands of graduates annually who ultimately runs the organization and becomes input for the organization to transform into learning organization. But their creativity, capability and system thinking depends on what they have learnt from their institutes. This paper provides a strapping foundation for all the HE organizations to analyze whether they are functioning as a learning organization or not.

2. Literature Review

Supportive learning environment in HE organizations:

Today every organization intends to penetrate in the market and wishes for competitive advantages over all the others. To achieve this goal they are much focusing on “restructuring”, “reengineering” their processes, competent hiring and bearing millions for training, just to meet their future needs. In general and specifically for the HE organizations only these concepts are not sufficient to renovate into learning organization. Switching towards learning organization desires Psychological Safety, admiration of different opinions, openness to new ideas, time for reflection, experimentation, information collection and information transfer to all the individuals and also acceptability of new changes is much essential for the HE organizations. Rowley (1998) Pointed out that HE organizations considered as a learning community where faculty members and students both engaged in learning environment. So it might be considered that the environment in HE organizations is more suitable for transforming the organization into learning organization. How much it can be changed it depends on the environment of the organization, and an organization who is striving for the learning organization may not be determined in terms of structure and culture.

In addition Aggestam (2006) pointed out that learning organization support learning culture that makes sure the learning of individuals which requires shared vision to build such type of environment. Learning organization and knowledge management both are dependent, it is difficult to respond which came first just like the chicken and egg. Learning organization and knowledge management play their role as a system and subsystem. They are two indivisible parts when an organization transforms into learning organization and it is a learning system which meets up internal and external environment. But according to Cavaleri ( 2008) there is still need to develop a consensus about learning organization to be converted into a significant model for the other organizations.it replicates a variation among the approaches of learning organization.this thing leads the executives towards uncertain outcomes due to their lack of understanding about the learning organization.

For another instance Peters (1996) planned a syllabus about the learning organization.He has covered six areas through which individuals can learn in the organizations. First is about the job of the individual, Second is about cultural alignment, Third is about up coming or future challenges, Fourth is about supply chains or operating environment, Fifth is about avoiding myopia and groupthink and last is about knowledge management and individual’s ability to retain the knowledge.

There are multiple benefits of transforming the organization to learning organization. One of the most significant benefits is that learning organization improves the continuous performance of the organization so that the gaps between organizational outcomes and customer needs could be diminished (Cheng, 2009).

He said that learning organizations hold up innovative ideas, skills of the workforce and encourage community models for the gratification of their employees. According to Prieto (2009) continuous learning has two phases’ internal environment and external environment and most of the trends imposing and being formed by a learning organization. It comprises growing up globally, market competition, customer-centric approach and strategies regarding cost minimization of the product. In form of increasing environmental complexity, organizations have need of proper monitoring and capabilities of transformation of information from one individual to another.

Concrete learning process in HE organizations:

Learning of the HE organizations depends on the learning of the individuals. Whether they are students or faculty members learning acquire continuous efforts in changing behaviors, perceptions, values and norms. It is psychological phenomena of the individuals that they learn to see the others and that they learn from their experiences. In the same context learning process in HE organizations revolves around the faculty members. Most of the students have their role models and they always try to adopt their behaviors, way of communication and their way of doing things and even how they look and how they respond. So there are two core factors which are so important for the individuals, motivation of the faculty members and their engagement in periodic trainings that transform HE organizations into learning ones.

O'Banian (1997) Pointed that HE organizations help out the learners to develop learning environment like study groups and learning communities for their students to foster the HE organizations to learning organizations. Learning of the individuals depends on the interest of the individuals with fear and anxiety the learning of the individuals stops and there is no further learning. Moreover in context of HE organizations, there are two major concepts organizational learning and the learning organization. Organizational learning is that organization that is existing organization and learning from their experiences while learning organization is that who is continuously striving for their best approaches (Kolb & Kolb, 2005).

A learning organization focus on continuous effort and a series of generally distributed activities and it comprises on frequent experimentation, comparing performance, information collection about the stakeholders, analysis about the performance whether it is engaged in productive work or not, education training of the individuals and finally information transformation among the individuals and among the whole system of the organizations (A, Edmondson, & Gino, 2008). In Addition Rebelo & Gomes (2008) found that learning is the essence of the organization therefore managers think without learning it is difficult to survive in future. Most of the organizations desire to identify the position of their organization that where do they situate, whether they are learning or not but it is little bit difficult to develop a learning culture (Marsick & Watkins, 2003).

Leadership that reinforce learning in HE organizations:

Leader’s role in organization is like a Pilot and airplane. With a little mistake of pilot the airplane can crash and in the same context with a little mistake of leader the whole organization can face bankruptcy. So a skilled, conscious and visionary leader is very important for the organizations to keep it on learning track. Most of the leaders think that providing incentives to their employees, engaged them in excessive training, delivering superior services to their clients is sufficient to transform the organization into learning organization (A, Edmondson, & Gino, 2008). While HE organization functions little bit different, in HE organization leaders lead the organizations and produce people having leadership skills.

The behavior of the leaders directly influence the organizations, admiration of their opinions, openness to new ideas, actively listen and respond to their subordinates and prompt decisions about the conflicts lead the other employees towards encouragement and learning. An excellent leadership can reinforce supportive learning environment and can create learning process in organization more effectively. Leaders give direction and integrate shared understanding among the employees and facilitate learning environment in organizations (Berson, Nemanich, Waldman, Galvin, & Keller, 2006). In the same context de Jong & Den Hartog (2007) found that leaders directly influence the creative ideas and implementation of purposeful actions to renovate the organizations into learning organization and also their general behaviors. B & JR (2008) Analyzed that people are much interested into leadership positions that are unable to work in team and have low temper to resolve the social problems and handle complex situations. Senge (1996) Defined that no change is possible without leadership; leader is the only key to reinforce the learning in organization. The question how local human communities switch towards multinational companies depends on the person who led the organization and develop learning environment to foster the organization. In addition Mahoney (2000) mentioned that there are six elements which a leader should have to foster the organization, 1) Responsibility to accept and adopt new changes 2) realized their employees to take responsibilities 3) having confidence to face complexities 4) having encourage to use “I” word to reinforce learning process when it appropriate 5) having the courage to conduct process review 6) give equal opportunity to all their subordinates so that they could participate in creative activities.

3. Methodology:

This study explore whether HE organizations function as a learning organization or not, A self administrated questionnaire was developed to get responses. Questionnaire was further comprised on three major building blocks, 1) Supportive learning environment 2) Concrete learning process 3) leadership that reinforces learning.

Supportive learning environment

Concrete Learning process

Psychological safety

Experimentation

Appreciation of Differences

Information Collection

Openness to New Ideas

Analysis

Time for Reflection

Education and Training

Information Transfer

Supportive learning environment and Concrete learning process was further classified into variables shown in table below.

40 questionnaires were distributed out of which 33 were received from which 3 questionnaires were randomly attempted and 30 were selected for data analysis. SPSS 16 software was used and 5 likert scales was used to get the responses and factor analysis technique was applied to analyze the data. The respondents were senior faculty members of a public institute of Sialkot.

4. Hypothesis:

Ho: Higher education organizations are not learning organizations

H1: Higher education organizations are learning organizations

5. Analysis and Results:

Factor analysis technique and descriptive statistical tool was used to analyze the data, total numbers of respondents were 30 all were male and most of them had 5-15 years of their professional experience. Cronbach’s alpha was .79 that shows the reliability and validity of the analysis. Questionnaire was divided into three major building blocks of the learning organization. In 1st building block (supportive learning environment in higher education organization) in factor analysis result Kaiser and Bartlett’s test is conducted to analyze the adequacy and normality of the data. The value of Bartlett’s test is 183.407 and value of P is .04<.05 it means we don’t reject Ho and it also mean higher education organization is not a learning organization. In component matrix of factor analysis 7 components extracted whose Eigenvalue is greater than 1. Eigenvalue depicts the variation among the components that is 17.703, 12.710, 11.172, 10.148, 9.254, 7.294 and 6.748

About the 2nd building blocks of the learning organization i.e. Concrete learning process in higher education organizations the value of Bartlett’s test is 177.082 and value of P is .359>.05 it means we reject Ho. In component matrix of factor analysis 7 components extracted whose Eigenvalue is greater than 1. Eigenvalue depicts the variation among the components that is 12.232, 11.888, 11.782, 10.443, 10.197, 8.274 and 6.555.

About the 3rd building blocks of the learning organization i.e. leadership that reinforce learning in higher education organizations the value of Bartlett’s test is 45.133 and value of P is .021<.05 it means we don’t reject Ho. In component matrix of factor analysis 4 components extracted whose Eigenvalue is greater than 1. Eigenvalue depicts the variation among the components that is 21.644, 19.645, 17.216 and 16.108

6. Discussion:

In 1st building block that is supportive learning environment the result shows that higher education organization is not functioning as a learning environment due to their lack of learning environment while majority of respondent were responded that they have concrete learning process they get adequate training about their fields and in 3rd building blocks that is about the leadership that reinforces learning in HE organizations the result shows that there is no adequate role of leadership that reinforce learning in HE organizations. Descriptive statistical tool shows clear picture of the whole story about the learning organization in higher education organization.

. In supportive learning environment 33.3% were strongly disagreed about easy to speak in HE organizations while 33.3% were disagreed, 6.7% were neutral, 20% were agreed and 6.7% were strongly agreed. 23.3% were agreed that when they do mistake heads held against them and 36.7% were disagreed, 20% were neutral and rest of 20% were strongly disagreed. 43.3% were disagreed to feel comfortable to talk about the problems and 23.3% were agreed, 13.3% were strongly agreed and strongly disagreed and remaining 6.7 percent were neutral.40% were eager to share information what the work is going on and 30% were disagreed about this statement, 13.3% were strongly disagreed, 10% were neutral, 6.7% were strongly agreed to share information about their work. 33.3% were agreed with this statement that keep silence is the best way to go ahead in higher education organization and 33.3% were disagreed, 13.3% were neutral and strongly agreed and remaining 6.7% were strongly disagreed. 50% were disagreed about differences in opinion in HE and 23.3% were neutral, 20% were strongly disagreed and just 6.7% were agreed with the statement. 36.7% were agreed that only those opinions are valued which are consistent with most of the people and 26.7% were strongly disagreed, 20% were strongly agreed, 13.3% were neutral and 3.3% were disagreed. 30% were agreed that in HE organizations opinions are privately handle despite of group and 26.7% were strongly disagreed and disagreed while 13.3% were strongly agreed, 3.3% were neutral. 43.3% were strongly disagreed for getting the alternative way of doing work, 26.7% were agreed, 23.3% were disagreed, and remaining 6.7% were neutral.43.3% were strongly disagreed about the encouragement of new ideas, 33.3% were disagreed, 13.3% were neutral, 10% were agreed. 40% were agreed that nobody hear new idea whenever it around for a long time, 30% were strongly agreed, 20% disagreed and 6.7% strongly disagreed and 3.3% were neutral. 36.7% were interested in better way of doing work in HE and 23.3% neutral,20% strongly agreed,13.3% disagreed and 6.7% were strongly disagreed. 30% were agreed that people resist untried approaches and, 26.7% disagreed, 16.7% strongly agreed and neutral remaining 10% were strongly disagreed. 33.3% were disagreed that in HE people overly stressed and 33.3% agreed with this statement, 16.7% were strongly agreed, 10% were neutral. 40% were disagreed that in HE nobody has to review how the work is going, 36.7% strongly disagreed,13.3% agreed, 10% were neutral.26 .7% strongly agreed and agreed that in HE schedule pressure is considered as a good job 20% were neutral, 16.7% strongly disagreed and 10% were disagreed.

26.7% were agreed that people are too much busy to invest time in development, 23.3% were disagreed, and 16.7% respondent were strongly disagreed and neutral. 53.3% were agreed that in HE people have on time for reflection, 13.3% were strongly agreed and neutral and 13.3% were also disagreed while 6.7% were strongly disagreed.43.3% were strongly disagreed about the frequent experiment of new ways of doing work in HE while just 10%were agreed rest of the people were neutral and agreed or disagreed. 36.7% were agreed that HE frequently experiment with new product or services and rest of 13.3% were disagreed.33.3% were agreed ,16.7% were strongly agreed,23.3% were neutral,16.7% were disagreed and rest of 10% were strongly disagreed that HE has a formal way to conduct and evaluate new ideas and experiments.36.7% were disagreed, 23% were agreed while 20% were strongly disagreed and neutral in their responses that HE frequently employs simulations of new ideas.36.7% agreed, 26.7% were neutral,10% were strongly disagreed and disagreed that HE frequently compare its performance with their best class organizations.53.3% were disagreed that HE engages in some productive discussions.40% were disagreed, 33.3% were strongly disagreed, 20% agreed, 10% were neutral 3.3% were strongly agreed that newly hired employees get enough training.46.7% were strongly disagreed, 33.3% were disagreed, 13.3% were neutral, and 6.7% were agreed that experienced employees get training in HE organizations. 43.3% were strongly disagreed that in HE organizations training is valued, while 36.7% were disagreed and 20% were neutral. 36.7% were disagreed and 30% were strongly disagreed that in HE time is available for training activities and education. 36.7% were strongly disagreed while 30% were disagreed and neutral that HE organizations have special forums for meeting with and learning from outside the departments of the HE. 30% were agreed and disagreed about the regular shares of information with networks of experts within the HE and 26.7% were neutral. 36.7% were disagreed, 30% were strongly disagreed and 33.3% were neutral about quickly and accurately communicates with knowledge to key decisions.40% were strongly disagreed, 30% were disagreed and 23.3% were neutral about their leaders that they invite input from others in discussions in HE organizations.

26.7 % were neutral while 23.3% were strongly disagreed, 20% were agreed, 16.7% were disagreed and remaining 13.3% were strongly agreed that our heads acknowledge their own limitations with respect to their expertise and knowledge.33.3% were agreed, 20% were disagreed, 16.7% were neutral and 13.3% were strongly agreed that in HE organizations their heads ask nosy questions. 40% were disagreed and 36.7% were strongly disagreed that their heads listen attentively. 40% were strongly disagreed, 33.3% were disagreed that in HE organizations heads encourage multiple point of view. 36.7% were disagreed, 30% were strongly disagreed and 16.7% were agreed that my heads provide time, resources and venues of identified problems and challenges.46.7% were disagreed that in HE my heads provide time and resources for reflecting and improving on past performance. 30% were strongly agreed and 23.3% were agreed that in my heads criticize views different from their own while 16.7% were neutral and rest of 10% were strongly disagreed.

7. Conclusion and Recommendations:

Higher education organizations are not functioning as learning organizations. Senior faculty members do not share information how their work is going and do not feel psychological safety, Appreciation of Differences, Openness to New Ideas and Time for Reflection in their learning environment while their heads do not appreciate different views and they do not handle their problems properly.

The whole story of the higher education organizations revolves around their heads that reinforce learning in HE organizations. So a leader of the organization should be broad minded, visionary and competent so that he could create learning environment in HE organizations.

Experienced faculty members should encourage new ideas and should be ready to accept the new changes in organizations.

7. Limitations and future research:

In Pakistan there are many constraints to access international journals to review secondary resources and another big issue is to get responses. Time limitation is also a major factor. For future research “Constrains of Govt. policies to transform organization into learning organization” is a healthy suggestion that researcher should go for this topic.

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