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What is the distinction between organizational learning (OL) and individual learning (IL)? Learning is a kind of change, an investment that will yield returns. Individual learning will promote knowledge or skills enhancement, whereas OL is a process by which an organization acquires, retains and uses inputs for its development.
Learning inputs include new structures, the deployment of technology, or any change introduced in the business process. The OL system is concerned with retaining the acquired input. Retention of an input depends on how well it is integrated in the organization and its function. The OL will be effective only if the new input (structure, technology or change) becomes integrated with existing work practices.
Learning will result in the increased capability of an organization to learn more on its own. So what must the corporate academy or training department do? It should develop a mechanism for examining experiences imparted, retaining functional ways and discontinuing dysfunctional mechanisms in dealing with business issues. For instance, the deployment of an Oracle ERP module is a technological input meant to reengineer activities. What employees learn through this and how they adapt to new methods will increase organizatïonal efficiency. Therefore, the corporate academy must work closely with the IT project team to enhance organizatïonal learning capability.
OL implementation involves inviting experts and creative industrial practitioners to share their ideas and experiences with selected employees. Encourage employees to try out new ways of dealing with problems even if they may not succeed. Reward them for new approaches that successfully resolve problems. Organize employee seminars on new developments. It does not require big training managers or organizational development (OD) consultants. Instead, it requires mutual support, mutual respect, and learning from one another.
• Learning at whatever level is an investment that yields returns
• OL increases organizational capability to learn more on its own
• It involves inviting experts to share their ideas /experiences
Source: Dr. Pon Mohaideen Pitchai, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is a Dubai-based HR and Management Consultant