Learning organizations [are] organizations where people continually
expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire,
where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where
collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually
learning to see the whole together. (Senge 1990: 3)
The Learning Company is a vision of what might be possible.
It is not brought about simply by training individuals; it can
only happen as a result of learning at the whole organization
level. A Learning Company is an organization that facilitates
the learning of all its members and continuously transforms
itself. (Pedler et. al. 1991: 1)
Learning organizations are characterized by total employee
involvement in a process of collaboratively conducted, collectively
accountable change directed towards shared values or principles.
(Watkins and Marsick 1992: 118)
Smith, Mark K. The
Learning Organization, infed.org
The term learning organization is the label now being used
for an integration of a set of ideas that have emerged from
organizational research and practice over the past three or
four decades on ways of organizing work in such a way that the
often-conflicting demands of organizational effectiveness and
individual job satisfaction are simultaneously met. The learning
organization is, in many ways, a natural evolution of older
participatory management themes of the 1970's and more recent
emphasis on empowerment and self-managed work-teams.
A learning organization is not so much characterized by its
altered structure (flatter and less hierarchal) and redesign
of work (emphasis on teams), but by the transformation of the
relationship of the organization to the individual and increased
capacity for adaptation and change.
The previous overriding concern for control (e.g. motivate
others, organize work for others, set goals for others, etc.)
is replaced by a concern for learning by all organizational
members on behalf of the organization. Learning about technical
things and things about the external environment is greatly
valued, as are learning things about itself including its organizational
A learning organization expects its members to " . . .
act as learning agents for the organization, responding to changes
in the internal and external environment of the organization
by detecting and correcting errors in organizational theory-in-use,
and embedding the results of their inquiry in private images
and shared maps of organization" (Argyris & Schon,
1979, p. 29).
Chase, Michael L.. Ph.D. The
Learning Organization, July 2000.
Cohen, D. and Prusak, L. In Good Company. How social capital
makes organizations work, Boston: Harvard Business School
Press, 2001. [View on Amazon.]
Garvin, D. A. Learning in Action. A guide to putting the
learning organization to work, Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business
School Press, 2000. [View on Amazon.]
Lesser, Eric L. Knowledge and Social Capital: Foundations
and Applications, London: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2000.
[View on Amazon.]
Senge, P. M. The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice
of the learning organization, London: Random House, 1990.
[View on Amazon.]
Senge, P. et. al. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies
and Tools for Building a Learning Organization, 1994. [View
Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Roth, G. and
Smith, B. The Dance of Change: The Challenges of Sustaining
Momentum in Learning Organizations, New York: Doubleday/Currency,
1999. [View on Amazon.]
Senge, P., Cambron-McCabe, N. Lucas, T., Smith, B., Dutton,
J. and Kleiner, A. Schools That Learn. A Fifth Discipline
Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About
Education, New York: Doubleday/Currency, 2000. [View on