The Learning Organization
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The learning organization is a phrase used to refer to the initiation of change in an organization as a result of the constant feedback that they receive from various players in the running of the business. The HR department can be seen as the spear header of any effective learning organization (Burdett, 1999). This is because the human resource department is the department best suited to receive communication from the staff at all levels. It is with this information that policies are formed.
The information that is used in formulating this process is gotten in many forms. Some of these methods are direct such as complaints and suggestions from the employees themselves, questionnaires given to the employees by the department, research on the organization and the general trends in the industry. These various methods of information collection all strive to serve one purpose: to give the HR department input as to the current state of the organization and its employees (French, 1998). Using this information the department can now accurately analyze which areas have efficiency issues and in what specific areas can be improved.
This process of collecting and analyzing information is the basis for the learning organization. It is with this information that the organization can now formulate its policies in order to make them fit with the current situations and therefor improve the quality of the services that it offers.
The process of learning in the organization is one that can present a number of problems especially in the collection of information. There are many situations in which the information collection may be compromised or not as effective as would be ideal. However the HR department should make sure that the employees feel comfortable enough to give honest and the data provided accurate (Harris et al, 2004) . Some of the methods that can be used in order to make this happen is by creating a culture of openness and willingness to communicate with higher management: not only in times where there is a problem or complaint but also where an employee has a suggestion or a metod that they have devised to make improvements to the business processes.
Change is essential to any organization. Over time various factors may necessitate changes to be made in an organization. These factors arise as a result of two broad spectrums: external and internal. External factors that influence change are those that originate from outside the organization. These factors are influenced by the organizations’ suppliers, customers, the government and any other stakeholder that is not within the organization. These external factors force change upon the organization in other words the changes have to be made as a reactionary measure. If not then there might be dire consequences of ignoring the outside forces’ influence on the company and adapting to how these outside forces are evolving or changing (Boeker, 1997). The second major influencers of change are internal forces or drivers for change. These as the name suggests are those that originate from the company or organization itself. In these cases the driving force for change is an internal assessment by the organization and a review of its policies that has uncovered a few glitches in the system that could use a few improvements in order to make operations more efficient. Internal drivers are an active force for change, in that they are not in response to any other factor but rather they are meant to set into motion a system of events that are then meant to make better certain elements of the organization that had previously been found not to be functioning at optimum efficiency or productivity. Internal motivators for change are active measures that should be conducted and reviewed periodically in order to ensure that the organization is always up to date with the latest relevant business practices that would encourage growth and profitability. (William A. Pasmore, 2010)
The main reasons that a company has to employ changes to its systems are because of technological advancements, customer needs, government involvement in business through legislation and laws, the needs and demands of the customer and when the company reaches a point where its growth stagnates. These aree not all the reasons and in specific situations they are exponentially different but they are generally the main causes of change. If a company does not react or takes too long to react to these drivers for change especially the external drivers over which it has no control over: then it faces the risk of getting losses or even failing completely as a company. It is therefore important that any company that wants to continue experiencing productivity to ensure that it can quickly and efficiently institute any changes that are necessary in order to improve on the overall well-being of the organization.
Research as to the influence of employees on the success or failure of a project has been conducted extensively. Coch and French were one of the first business scientists to conduct research in this field of resistance to change in companies and they found that the most serious obstruction to change in any organization is the workforce. Since the employees are the ones that are responsible in implementing any decisions that the management makes then in a case where for some reason or the other the employees do not have a positive attitude towards the change project or they do not understand or carry out their responsibilities in relation to that project, then they can put the whole project at jeopardy. (Mallin, 2007)
With this information it is the job of the human resource department to ensure that the employees understand the need for change and therefore put in place systems that help the staff accept the change and help the whole process.
Change is inevitable in any company and any organization that does not initiate change or work hard to implement changes that will improve its business practices is bound to experience losses in the long run. However there should be a set process that is to be followed while implementing these changes or else the benefits that are to be accrued will not be registered. Change should involve all the major stakeholders in the organization in one way or another in order for them to own the project and go the extra mile in implementing the project. (Crown copyright, 2004)
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