By Russ Howard
There are three distinct levels of learning in organizations, and to be successful and sustainable, learning needs to occur on all three levels.
- Individual level –When a person acquires a skill, gains knowledge, or achieves a change in attitude or behavior.
- Group level – The acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies within a group.
- Organizational level – The collective intellect and productive capability of all employees.
A key characteristic of a learning organization is a general positive attitude about learning that permeates throughout the organization, where leaders at all levels encourage and provide ongoing opportunities for continuous learning. When leaders consistently emphasize the importance of professional growth through learning, this positive attitude filters down throughout the organization, and over time, becomes integrated into its culture.
Organizational learning brings many obvious benefits that yield positive results toward an organization's competitive advantage and growth potential.
- Enhanced agility – Organizations are able to respond more rapidly to changes.
- Greater commitment – Employees will be motivated and energized by a continuously evolving organization. Satisfied, energized employees are more engaged and productive.
- Improved performance –When employees are motivated and committed to self improvement, it promotes a greater focus on improved quality of the organization’s products and services.
Leaders who wish to establish a culture of learning in their organizations must commit to a long-term and sustained effort to develop and maintain an environment where learning is aligned with the core goals of their businesses and learning activities are encouraged, promoted, and celebrated.
Course: Fundamentals of Organizational Learning (lead_08_a01_bs_enus)
Book: Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition
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