Learning Forgetting And Problem Solving Education Essay

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Learning is a fundamental process in organization because organizational members have to learn how to perform the tasks and duties that make up their jobs, although learning is particularly newcomers, it is also important for experienced members at all levels of hierarchy because they are frequently called on to do things they haven't done before Experienced organizational members often have to learn how to perform new tasks and use new technology and equipment as new the nature of their jobs changes.(George and Jones 1999). Organizations focus on learning as an ecological system that encourages lifelong learning through work. Pragmatic approach of moving towards a goal of progress is a logic of corporate social responsibility where in each project, each day increases knowledge.

A strong link with the work situation, a collective approach of confrontation, mobilize intelligence to build solutions and implement them, aim for a permanent reinvestment in the work of learning achieved. The goal remains the transfer action on the ground. It is not only the ability to create new knowledge but also the ability to pass and implement them.

1.2 Objectives of studying organizational learning

there are several goals to studying learning in organization:

To examine how learning take a place in organization life work.

To explore the different types of learning strategies that could be employed in learning process.

To demonstrate the role of learning in the successes of organization.

1.3 Definition of learning organization

The notion of the "learning organization" has become one of the new buzzwords in the management, psychological and human resource development literature. Senior management in many organizations have also come to believe that the way in which an organization learns is a key index to its effectiveness and potential to innovate and grow. (Garavan1997).

First we have to mention that there is a tendency state that organizations do not learn, people do.

Learning is a relatively stable change in behaviour that occurs as a result of practice (Randolph.1978).

Another definition states that Learning is a relatively permanent change in behaviour potentiality that results from reinforced practice or experience. (Altman 1985) This behavioural change can be a result of direct or indirect experience. It can be acquired through such means as reading, observing, or doing. Whether or not person will actually perform a learned response, however, is determined by reinforcing consequence (such as reward or punishment) that follows from the action.

1.4 Learning theories: there are two main theories about learning operant conditioning theory and social theory and each of them emphasizes a different way how people learn in organization.

1.4.1 Operant conditioning theory: learning occurs as a consequence of behaviour; it is the result of reinforcement process by which the probability that a desired behaviour will occur is increased by applying consequences that depend on the behaviour, and is far more useful to the study of organizational behaviour (figure 1)

Reinforcement strategies contain positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, extinction, punishment, and combination.

Positive reinforcement: by use the rewords to strengthen behaviour, money for example. Positive reinforces strengthen the behaviour upon which they are contingent and make the recurrence of the behaviour more probable, it is not a positive reinforce because someone judge it to be such it must pass the test of being able to increase response frequency. The payoff is favourably viewed by individual (figure 1).

Negative reinforcement: increases the frequency of a desired behavioural event while brining about the termination or withdrawal of some aversive condition, a desired behaviour will occur by removing a negative consequence when a worker performs the behaviour. The negative consequence that is removed is called a negative reinforcement (figure2).

Extinction: the op rant conditioning supposes that all behaviour is controlled by reinforcing consequences. If the manger wishes to increase the probability that an undesired behaviour will occur, they need to first determine what is currently reinforcing the behaviour and then remove the source of reinforcement. Once the undesired behaviour ceases to be reinforced, its frequency diminishes until it no longer occurs. This process is called extinction.

Punishment: when an individual does something that is regarded as a wrong or improper, an aversive stimulus follows immediately. Punishment reduces the response frequency and weakens behaviour.

Combination: this strategy usually used when there are two incompatible response one desirable and the other is undesirable, it is used when we want to reinforce the desirable behaviour and reduce or extinguish the other.

Figure 1:

Undesired organizational behavior

Desired organizational behavior


Administrating negative consequences to workers who perform the behavior


Removing whatever is currently reinforcing the behavior

Negative reinforcement

Removing negative consequences to workers who perform the behavior

Positive reinforcement

Administrating positive consequence to workers who perform the behavior


Anything that tell workers about desired an undesired behavior

Operant conditioning (George 1999)

1.4.2 Social learning theory: according to Albert Bandura one of the principal contributors in this theory, any attempt to understand how people learn must take into impact on learning not only the reinforcement and punishment but also the person feeling and thoughts, this theory acknowledges the importance of the person in the learning process by taking cognitive processes into account. Cognitive processes are the various thought processes that people engaging. From the perspective of this theory, workers actively process information when they learn (Randolph and all. 1978)

Furthermore, there are three factors that influence learning in the organization: various learning, self- control, and self- efficacy.

Various learning: learning that occurs when one person learns behaviour by watching another person perform the behaviour.

Self-control: or self-discipline that allow person to learn to perform the behaviour even though there is no external pressure to do so.

Self- efficacy: a person belief about his or her ability to perform a particular behaviour successfully.

In sum, the organization learns in different ways, using different types of players, according to logics that are not quite the same. There is no single topic of learning, but a set of components that act interact with each other, and contribute together to evolve the general behaviour of the organization.

There are two approaches to learning are offered by operant conditioning and social learning theory, organizational learning complements, these approaches by stressing the importance of commitment to learning throughout an organization.


2.1 Introduction and background: organizational knowledge can be represented as stocks of knowledge that grow through flows of increasing knowledge (organizational learning) and shrink through flows of depreciating knowledge (organizational forgetting). Scientific research on knowledge management has focused on the processes of knowledge creation, use and transfer, but has devoted little attention to the processes of knowledge degradation and destruction.

Organizational knowledge may be conceptualized as stocks of knowledge and flows; Stocks of knowledge are described as the accumulation of knowledge assets within an organization, while flows of knowledge represent the streams of knowledge that move between different parts of an organization (Vicenc Fernandez 2002)

2.2 Definition:

Organizational forgetting has been defined as the intentional or unintentional loss of organizational knowledge at any level (Martin and Phillips, 2003)

The concept of "organizational forgetting" has arisen in at least three contexts. First, research has shown that simply being able to create' or transfer knowledge is not enough. Instances in which newly obtained or created knowledge disappears before it has been successfully transferred to the organization's long-term memory have been documented, leading to the conclusion that avoiding forgetting newly acquired knowledge is an important part of effective learning. Second, several studies have shown that organizational memory decays over time and important pieces of knowledge may be forgotten if organizational memory is not maintained. Third, several writers have argued that forgetting is sometimes an organizational necessity, such as when an existing dominant logic needs to be replaced by a new one (Martin &Phillips. 2004)

3. Problem solving:

3.1 Introduction and background:

Organizational problems come in many forms. The point is that as individual in organization we can approach most problems with a positive mindset and view them as challenge to be dealt with proactively, identifying problems and solving them are important skills for managers who are faced with dilemmas that require judgments every day (Suzanne 2002).

Problems in organization could be in process such as(how managers lead, how employees communicate ,how work flows, how conflict should be solved, how employees deal with costumers ), it also could be in outcomes such as (inadequate or unsatisfactory products or services, excessive employee absenteeism or turnover, insufficient profits margins ).

3.2 The important of problem solving in the organization:

Bo Andersson, executive in charge at General Motors Worldwide Purchasing, says, "To achieve success, members of the organizational world must stand in opposition to the problems that confront them"

Problem solving is a critical link shared by all quality systems and programs. This link is frequently identified as the most important of all the supporting elements and now is the key time to commit to a serious, long-term organizationally driven problem solving approach.

Starting from the question how long can an organization remain viable with a kind of such problem above persist? Problem solving seems as the most important part in management. The ability to solve problems and even apply problem solving techniques to improve processes that work, this ability can significantly and positively impact an organization bottom line as well as it's long term viability.

3.3 problem solving strategy:

Dr. Walter Shewhart suggests a problem saving cyclical process composed of four steps: Plan, Do, Check, Act (figure 2).

Figure 2:

Collect data

Define problem

Develop action plan

Evaluate, prioritize, select act

Develop criteria for evaluating

Generate alternatives

Analyze data





Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) (Suzanne 2002)

The effective managers and team members should energies into solving problem not placing blame the individuals who may or may not be responsible for them. Problem-solving focuses narrowly on individual problems. Problem-solving fails to consider how solutions relate to one another, to the process as a whole, or to the outcomes of a process (James Shaw, 1999)

The ability to identify, analyze and solve organizational problems as they arise represents a core management skill that enables organization managers to operate their businesses by effectively directing resources towards the accomplishment of organizational goals (I. Giroux. 2009). However accomplishing this duty is not an easy task it needs to implement a disciplined approach concerning the next following steps:

Defining the problem and collecting data: from different ways by interviewing those who are involved in the process, analyzing available data, or asking consultation, Solving problems requires a structured approach beginning with a description of the problem, followed by a detailed investigation of the causes and concluding with the development and confirmation of the solution. This process demands the synthesis of different disciplines, statistical techniques and other analytical tools to conquer each problem

Analyze data: once the data collected the next step is to analyze them, the goal of this step is to evaluate the data collected in order to categorize it into trends and differentiate major problems from minor problems or symptoms.

Prioritize and select the appropriate solutions: after the agreement on the problem the next step should be determination of the possible solutions, the manager should ask the next question: What is the best possible solution we can all support? If a decision seems to have emerged during evaluation of alternatives, the discussion leader should test for consensus ("We seem to be all agreed that our second option is the one we prefer. Do I understand everyone correctly? Sometimes, members find ways of combining or modifying options to refine them during this step

Developing a plan for implementation: after a certain alternative solution is chosen, the next step is to create a plan for its implementation. Depending on this solution, the implementation plan may range from simple to complex by explaining the outline dates, contingent plans if schedules are not met, and individual responsibility.

To sum up we can say that to solve the organizational problems effectively requires an appropriate mindset viewing problems as opportunities or challenges and looking for solutions as opposed to placing blame, as well as developing skills in problem solving a disciplined approach to defining the problem and identifying and implementing appropriate solutions.

Many leaders are so immersed in innovative concepts they tend to overlook opportunities to apply effective problem solving in their operations. Although the topic of problem solving isn't new, it can be a boon to many leaders to change institutional flaws and use the true potential all organizations possess.

By stepping forward and sponsoring a structured approach to problem solving and finally realizing the solution to the failure of problem solving is within sight, top management can seize the opportunity and save billions along the way.