With the Help of Organisational Examples Critically Discuss the Role of Learning Organisations in Terms of Enhancing Performance

In: Business and Management

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“The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organisation’s ability to learn faster than the competition” (Senge 1990:1) Peter M. Senge is a pioneer in the field of learning organizations and the author of “The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization“ (Senge 1990) which was declared as one of the most powerful books in the past 75 years by Harvard Business Review in 1997 (Smith 2001). The book illustrated that the only way to gain competitive advantage is through making an organisation a learning one. However, is the learning organisation approach really linked to an organisation’s competitive advantage and the one and only approach to enhance an organisation’s performance and, therefore, run a successful company? Or is it more like a brilliant theory but not a viable one in practice? By highlighting the main characteristics of a learning organisation and using organisational examples, this essay will critically discuss and analyse its role in terms of enhancing performance. Learning organisations are companies that aim at improving their performance by providing their employees with on-going learning opportunities. As they are utilising learning to achieve their objectives, learning can be seen as part of an organisation’s strategy. They make their employees learn constantly and, therefore, learning must become an essential component of employees’ work (Bratton and Gold 2007) In order to achieve that, learning organisations invest an enormous amount of money in training activities. Jack Welch, the then-CEO of General Electric, for example, invested about one billion dollars annually in training and learning activities in the 1990s (General Electric 2013) These training activities do not solely consist of formal, traditional instructions, but focus on both formal and “formalized informal learning” activities, such as individual…...

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