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Unformatted text preview: Learning in Action- A guide to putting the learning organization to work By David A Garvin Harvard Business School Press, 2000 This insightful book is meant to help companies understand how to leverage knowledge and make it a key corporate asset. The learning process involves acquiring, interpreting and applying knowledge. Author, David Garvin of Harvard Business School examines the challenges associated with each of these steps. He also explains how the three modes of learning, intelligence gathering, experience and experimentation can be effectively deployed. He examines the role leadership must play in making learning a day-to-day reality in their organizations. From individual to organizational learning Learning is the most natural of activities. It is an essential part of human experience. And it is a life long process, whether we recognize it or not. As individuals, we are motivated to learn to satisfy our curiosity, pass an examination, solve a problem or move on to a new role/career. Though the importance of learning is widely acknowledged, many managers remain cynical. They look at learning as something of questionable value that diverts the attention of employees from real work. Learning is also viewed by many managers as something which releases human potential, not something which improves the bottom- line. Another point to be noted is that managers like stability and predictability. This is somewhat inconsistent with learning which encourages constant questioning and repeated reevaluations of established practice. So learning has yet to gain a strong central position in many corporations. It occurs more through benign neglect than active support. Many managers regard time spent on learning as a necessary but unproductive evil. Garvin mentions that this is a very narrow view indeed: Far from being academic, philosophical and inefficient, corporate learning is much more likely to be practical, applied and intimately linked to the bottom-line. He makes an important point that organizational effectiveness must be viewed in terms of adaptability and flexibility, not by the usual short term measures of profitability and productivity. Learning can play a significant role in improving the adaptability and flexibility of organizations. Garvin defines a learning organization as follows: A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring and retaining knowledge and at purposefully modifying its behaviour to reflect new knowledge and insights. The building blocks of this definition are: New ideas are essential for learning. These new ideas are sometimes the result of creative thinking In other cases, the ideas may come from outside the organization, from technical articles, knowledgeable experts or tracking studies Skills are needed to give meaning to raw data Knowledge must be shared across the organization, not limited to a privileged few There must be accompanying changes in the way work gets done.There must be accompanying changes in the way work gets done....
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This note was uploaded on 08/17/2011 for the course ECONOMIC 1 taught by Professor Christinedaley during the Spring '11 term at ITESM.
- Spring '11