Resilience and HR

Organisational Learning VS Learning Organisation

Joanna  Dourou
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Started by Joanna Dourou on
26 Feb 2013 at 11:34
Education Manager, K3-Cubed Ltd.
Know-how: Talent Management, Executive Search, Project Execution, Training & Coaching
Learning & Dev

 

Every single HR professional, apart from different skills and competences, has his/her own personality. This leads to a variety of attributes that are driven by personal differentiating characteristics. The only way to get to know these attributes and get the most out of every HR professional is by mixing the workforce and make them communicate with each other.

A great motivator for HR professionals to share their existing knowledge, experiences and abilities is the process of collaboration and team working. It does not only build new skills, but it also enhances the probability of advanced workforce performance due to the combination and use of more than one human minds and related-to-work abilities. The main profit for employers, as a follow-up of this extremely low-cost procedure, is that employees will gain new knowledge, will get involved in a continuous learning process and will improve their team working, collaboration and communication skills.

Here comes, however, the question of what differentiates a good organisational learning culture from a bad and ineffective one. In order to define a good learning culture to its full extent, we first need to define what “organisational learning” is and compare it to a “learning organisation”. “Organisational learning” can be defined as the variety of processes, tools and techniques of learning, implemented by HR professionals , with the target of providing employees with sufficient skills and information, enabling them to reach the overall organisational targets. It is mostly specific rather than generic and it is usually a goal-oriented, time-framed learning, while it can be repeated when new needs or problems arise.

On the other hand, a learning organisation is much more than that. Organisational learning is embedded in the culture of a “learning organisation” and it is continuous, supportive, interactive, while it also involves knowledge management tools and techniques. For a learning organisation the biggest threat is the deskilling of employees, the lack of required new knowledge and the misuse of the existing knowledge. Its most important task is the enabling of employees to create, share and properly use knowledge, by creating a culture that supports life-long learning, upskilling, knowledge transfer and information exchange. A learning organisation supports the interaction amingst individuals and, thus, actively creates, transfers and mobilizes knowledge, in order to prepare the employees adapt to a changing environment.

While it depends on HR professionals whether they will favor a learning organisation or they will stand for organisational learning, whenever required, everyone should be aware of the fact that a “learning organisation” has already built the ground for problem solving and change management. This is because its employees have already learnt how to continuously improve themselves and deal with new conditions, new needs and requirements. Therefore, when a new trend or issue approaches, they already recognise the worthiness of learning, knowledge and communication. As such, they work all together in sake of the goals-to-be-reached, adopting and using familiar to them techniques or tools. As an overall, a learning organisation is active and highly promotes, facilitates and rewards collective learning.

Joanna Dourou

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