The Learning Organization: Myth or Reality?

By Christina Wilton.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For many, the learning organization (LO) remains something of a mythical concept despite 14 years passing since Peter Senge helped to popularize the subject in his book The Fifth Discipline. Pedlar, Boydell, and Burgoyne (1989, p. 2) define the learning company as “…an organization which facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself”. And while much has been written on the importance of evolving a learning culture, little attention has been given to understanding the practicalities of the learning organizations. With the realities of global competition and increased customer satisfaction and productivity, organizations are experimenting with “new” approaches to learning, coupled with current and future business goals. Indeed, there are many who are now claiming that organizational learning is the new paradigm for managing organizations. True transformation occurs at the deeper levels of an organizational system – in the underlying patterns and structure which determine thinking, behaviour, and action in that system. A few popular theorists have begun to shed light on the importance of deeper structure in organizations and the need to focus change work in this realm (Fritz, 1989; Senge, 1990; Wheatley, 1992).

Keywords: Learning, Transformation, Change Management, Organization, Culture

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 7, pp.99-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 698.860KB).

Christina Wilton

Senior Learning and Development Consultant, Learning and Development, IBM Canada, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Christina Wilton is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Calgary studying Higher Education and Leadership. Her interests are Workplace Learning, Organizational Change and Learning and Gender Learning and Leadership. She is employed with IBM Canada as a Senior Learning and Solutions Consultant.


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