What is Organizational Learning ( With Theory and characteristics)

In this era, the entire business scenario is changing rapidly after the advent of artificial intelligence. It has created a lot of new challenges for the employees. Thus, organizations must develop the organizational learning environment within the premises. 

In this way, companies can improve their performance. In this article, we have mentioned all the essentials of organizational learning. We will cover learning organizational theory, characteristics, and more here. Without any delay, let’s begin the guide !!

What is Organizational Learning?

Organizational learning refers to developing a learning culture in the organization. In this way, you can create knowledge in your organization. You can use it for the benefit of your organization. It can be possible by setting up an interactive environment in the organization. Employees learn a lot of things and interact with each other. They should try to discover the potential problems and their solutions. 

Organizational Learning
Organizational Learning

As per this learning theory, you have to develop certain things in your organization. For instance, you should develop a culture where you prize the people who share valuable knowledge. Moreover, you should also let employees learn from their failures. You can use such methods and tricks to encourage people to learn lifelong. Therefore, organizational learning allows organizations to grow by implementing new strategies and ideas.

Theory of Organizational Learning

1. Experiential Learning Theory 

As the name sounds, experiential learning theory indicates learning directly from practical experiences. David Kolb has defined this theory. It allows you to develop the required knowledge and skills through daily experiences. According to this theory, employees learn the best of their knowledge and lessons through real work experiences. It allows their mind to work, observe, and grasp the learning lessons practically. This theory works upon four important stages. It includes concrete experience, personalized observation power, abstract conceptualization, and real-time experiments. This theory is a cycle where employees refine and expand their knowledge and skills. This is how you can grow your abilities holistically. It will be based on future needs and requirements. 

2. Adaptive and Generative Learning Theory 

Adaptive and Generative learning theory refers to two different approaches. Both allow you to understand how other companies learn and adapt their knowledge. Adaptive learning theory works upon the concept of adapting new ideas. You attach them with your existing mental understanding. Simply put, it allows organizations to adapt new strategies and methods based on everyday experiences. However, Generative learning theory allows companies to create new structures and cognitive maps. It says that you can learn valuable things only when you intentionally collect new information in your mind. This theory encourages organizations to go deeper into concepts to get the gist of it. No matter what theory your organization utilizes to learn new things. It will eventually lead you to develop valuable insights. 

3. Assimilation Theory 

Assimilation theory is a cognitive process-based concept. It allows the organization to develop new information and experiences. Plus, they even add with the existing frameworks. Simply put, when organizations encounter a unique knowledge experience, they can assimilate the information with the current fundamentals. This way, your employees will gather new knowledge without disturbing the core fundamentals. However, you might also find out something significant. It can even shaken up your company’s existing belief system. It will impact your overall thinking process and modify it with time as required.

 4. Espoused Theory 

The espoused theory consists of a specific set of beliefs, principles, and values. All the employees work based on those beliefs. Companies even mention them in the mission and vision of the organization. In this way, companies generally represent their ideal working methods in society. It helps them to create a positive image. However, this might not be the case in every organization. Through this, you can understand the difference between the major things. Firstly, official claims made by the organizations and actual practices in the industry. 

5. Theory In Use 

“Theory In Use” denotes the actual way the organizations make their practice in the organization. Organizations generally do not follow any specific or ideal theories. Instead, they work on real-time brainstorming to cope with the problems. It is basically a normal method of the employees to deal with their daily challenges and learn from them. Any problem doesn’t have a predefined ideal way to be solved. Rather than, you have to try out different troubleshooting methods to sort them out. It will allow your organizational employees to develop effectiveness and improve decision-making. Therefore, it works as a genuine tool that helps in overall organizational development.

5 Main Characteristics of Organizational Learning

Here are specific organizational learning characteristics mentioned below: 

1. System Thinking 

An organization is made up of multiple employees and professionals working there. According to system thinking, organizational learning focuses on establishing interpersonal relations. Therefore, it allows the organization to work in a collective culture and successfully develop new learning. Everything is developed based on future needs and requirements. 

2. Shared Vision 

Generally, organizations have at least one forward-thinking leader. He/She created a shared vision for all the employees to set up a common vision. And, all of your managers, supervisors, and trainers should try to achieve common goals. Every department should work based on their comprehensive targets. 

3. Mental Models 

All the organizational employees should adequately evaluate their current mindset. In fact, they should also challenge those already set beliefs and values. Because they might be hindering their progress. It allows them to see new aspects of life and learn from their previous mistakes. Moreover, this way, you can even attain the bigger picture in the organization. 

4. Team Learning 

Every organization should have learning employees. This means everyone should be ready to collectively tackle new problems. It helps you achieve the required goals and objectives. In simple words, all the employees should act as a team with their colleagues and peers. To achieve it, you have to build such an organizational learning culture. 

5. Personal Mastery 

In any organization, there should be all the forward-thinking mindset professionals. Everyone should focus on mastery. It will ultimately lead the entire organization in the right direction. To make it in practice, organizations must spread awareness about the importance of continual growth. Business owners should inform employees about developing practical skills, including soft skills. 

6. Job satisfaction and Commitment 

Organizational learning allows the employees to have job satisfaction in their mindset. The high level of satisfaction improves the employee’s productivity towards their work. Hence, it directly improves the overall performance of the company.

3 Popular Organizational Learning Examples

Here, we have mentioned some of the learning organizations examples: 

1. Encourage the Learning Opportunities During Work 

Employees generally learn a lot during their day-to-day work schedule. Simply put, you become better with each passing day. It is one of the obvious examples of organizational learning. You even get to know various new things and remember the existing ones. In a working organization, you learn in three ways. It includes structural, technical, and cultural. From the structural perspective, you learn new things in the development programs. From a technical standpoint, you are learning something new required in the industry. Lastly, the cultural perspective is a learning environment. It is developed by the companies on their premises. Simply, it allows the employees to learn from every moment of their work. 

2. Continuous Experimenting 

It is one of the best organizational learning examples. Because learning generally teaches the employees to experiment during their work. Simply put, it allows organizations to have more open-minded employees. It improves the overall risk-taking capacity of the employees. 

3. Effective Communication 

In organizational learning, companies generally sharpen the communication skills of the employees. Every employee has some sort of unique skills and knowledge. But, these qualities can be represented only through proper communication. And this learning allows the employees to develop the quality to convey their valuable thoughts and opinions. Moreover, this open communication helps companies to improve their learning procedures.

Wrap Up

Organizational learning means various methods and ways. They can help employees develop new skills and knowledge. These learning are required for the organizations to get better results in the long term. We hope this article helps you understand the importance of learning organizations. Plus, you may also adopt such important learning methods in your organization.

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