Friday, January 21, 2011



Garvin (2005) criticized Senge's (1994) approach to the development of learning organizations in that it did not provide a framework for action. Garvin appeared to have missed Singe's point. In the original work, Senge's mission included establishing cultural assumptions to embrace, not promoting specific structural processes to employ. One must arguably recruit and convince disciples before the true development of those disciples may begin. Senge, along with some other researchers, later provided a "field book" (1994) that offered more specific directions on the structures of learning organizations. Senge appears to have understood that the questions to which Garvin needed answers (e.g., How will managers know when their companies have become learning organizations? What concrete changes in behavior are required? What policies and programs must be in place? How do you get from here to there?) would find their best answers from the ones creating and shaping programs to meet specific, local needs. Conclusion: real problems probably do not result so much from structure or implementation issues  as they reside with vision and commitment issues.

References

Garvin, D. A. (2005). Building a learning organization. In W. L. French, C. H. Bell, Jr., & R. A. Zawacki (eds.), Organization development and transformation: Managing effective change (6th ed., pp. 274-287). Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Senge, P. M. (1994). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Currency Doubleday.

Senge, P. M., et. al. (1994). The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. New York: Currency Doubleday.

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