A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.
Ajay Agarwal adds learning in an organization means the continuous testing of experience, and the transformation of that experience into knowledge- accessible to the whole organization, and relevant to its core purpose. Thus, it is derived that learning in an organization sought to continuously improve employees’ knowledge and unlock the potential of the employees in order to achieve organizations’ goals.
In line with creating efficiency, David Garvin stated that effective learning organization should consist of five learning activities; systematic problem solving, experimentation with new approaches, learning from their own experience and past history, learning from the experiences and best practices of others, and transferring of knowledge quickly and efficiently throughout the organization. Systematic problem solving provides analytical tools eliminating assumptions during problem solving stage. This element insists on solving problems based on information acquired. Experimentation involves the ongoing development of new knowledge with close reliance to innovation of employees. With experimentation, learning from own experience and past history can be done. Employees can learn from their own strengths and weaknesses utilizing the elements for the success of further projects. Learning from others implies the use of others’ experience and cultivate them into their own thus eliminates the possibility recurrence of failures. Transferring of knowledge is learning through the information of the organization through reports and training and development programme allowing employees to development their skills in line with organizations’ mission. An effective learning organization will cultivate these activities in developing their employees ensuring maximization of learning.
As learning aims directly to provide stable growth in a human, it is inevitable that there are factors that influence the effectiveness of learning organization culture. Sally Sambrook, 2003, categories these in four categories; motivation, HRD, culture and pragmatics.
Psychologically, human behavior towards learning is closely related to the motivation available. Thus, manager plays a vital role in the learning behavior of the employee. Motivation can bring out the enthusiasm of employees to learn effective. Sally Sambrook, 2003, derived the lack of motivation can be due to the following reasons:
1. the lack of time (due to the organisation of work and work pressures);
2. the lack of reward for learning (at the organisational and HR functional level);
3. the lack of enthusiasm in the concept of the learning organisation or training and development in general; and
4. the lack of confidence to learn and/or take responsibility for learning (at a personal level).
Thus, the skill of manager in motivating the employees is interrelated to the effectiveness. The involvement of manager in the learning process of the employees can create an interest and define the purpose of learning in the eyes of the employees.
In the HRD section, Sally Sambrook, 2003, proposed that often employees lack understanding towards to HRD objectives. Thus, employees had less clarity towards the purpose of learning and the procedures and the objectives in regards to the development plan. The lack of understanding is closely related to the communication of the organization towards the employees. Miscommunication often brings down the learning purpose thus creating confusion and diversified learning environment to the employees.
The learning culture of individual reflects the enthusiasm of individual to learn. Individual who possess a learning habit tends to learn things faster. However, employees have the problem in developing this culture. Jones and Hendry, 1992, found that a learning-oriented culture enhances successful learning, whereas it is very difficult to create learning situations in companies with cultures characterised by bureaucracy and inter-functional rivalries and politics. Thus, the capability of organization to develop learning culture will determine the effectiveness of HRD.
Sally Sambrook, 2003, identified that the lack of time and HRD resources is the main issue pertaining to the effectiveness of learning. The lack of learning time caused by the work pressure of fulfilling specific task, intervene the time for employees to learn. As a result, employees find little availability towards the actual learning that the organization had implemented. Moreover, the lack of investment in the HRD proves less initiative towards developing the employees.
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