Organizational Learning and Decision-Making

Reading article- “Garvin, D.A 1993”

What is this article about?

This article discusses how learning organizations are built. This has been achieved by exploring the meaning of learning organizations, how they are managed and how the learning aspect is measured. It demonstrates some of the practical ways of advancing a learning organization based on some the common principles and philosophies. It brings out a clear picture of a learning organization and what it generally entails.

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The article gives a comprehensive exposition of the topic on learning in organizations. It accounts for knowledge transfer, creation and acquisition of skills. It also illustrates behavior modifications in terms of learning among organizations.

What are the author’s argument / position?

The author explores some of the strategies that can be used of building successful learning organizations. He believes that organizations can be made better if the right approaches are adopted. Although he argues that the issue at hand is relatively transient, he is mainly out to demonstrate the steps which should be taken in organizational improvement programs. He posits that the whole process calls for commitment and carefulness. He takes the position of a problem solver who has mastered the challenges which face organizations. He argues that failure is likely to be inevitable if managers cling to grant philosophies and ignore the most practical ideas.

What three or four key points are made?

One of the major points made clear in the article is the definition of a learning organization. This has been done amidst lots of controversy. The reliability of the definition given in the article is therefore subject to scrutiny. A learning organization is explained as one which is equipped with the ability to create skills and transfer knowledge into actions of improvement. The other point which has been put across is the management of learning organizations. The third issue which comes out of the discussion is the process of monitoring learning in an organization. The three aspects have been put together to offer final solution towards strengthening the performance of organizations.

What 4- 5 questions does this article raise for our group?

The main activities of building an organization is one of the main questions raised in the article. Secondly, what are the strategic steps that can be taken in making decisions in a learning organization? Which is the best way to define an established learning organization? The issue of the nature of knowledge which needs to be kept in a learning organization has also surfaced in the article. The role of training in learning organizations is also an important question raised here.

Do these Questions relate to our work or personal lives?

The questions relate to both our work and personal lives. They seek to create a stable base for everyone in an organization to grow. Organizational growth is not achieved if all members fail to realize desirable changes in their lives. This entails behavioral modification which is usually inevitable. The answers to these questions call for change in the way managements in organizations undertake their roles.

How might this article useful for HR practitioners or Managers in thinking about organizational change?

The article gives managers and human resource practitioners the information they need. After understanding the nature of learning in their organizations, they will be able to formulate quality procedures of change. Training will be done on a basis of giving all employees skills which will help the organization at large. Since organizational change is associated with modification of human resources, it is easier to execute it in the case of a learning organization.

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What other factors does Garvin believe are crucial for building a Learning Organization?

Garvin believes that successful programs are central in the process of building a learning organization. According to the author, it is important for organizations to emulate proven working principles from others. The latter is one way of making sure that organizations do not rely on inventing what may have complications. The author calls for an act of openness. This should be combined with transparency.

A learning organization is not a one man’s affair. It is a project to be run by the input of every department. In addition, attitude towards proven knowledge is a major determinant of the direction to be taken by an organization. Manager’s attitude towards learning is replicated in the whole organization. Garvin explains that knowledge transfer in an organization is necessary especially if prior planning and survey has been undertaken.

Comments on a difference between Senge (Senge, P. 1997 reading) and Garvin’s ideas about Learning Organizations

To begin with, Garvin’s idea revolves around exploring the impact of learning and management as pillars of building learning organizations. These are different from the ideas of Senge. The latter author presumes learning organizations as products of the choices made by leaders within the management team. He argues that managers of an organization take a pivotal role when it comes to the success of the organization.

The process of learning in building a learning organization is under the control of management. On the contrary, Garvin points out that in a learning organization, control of learning is a management function. Generally speaking, Senge views a learning organization as a product while Garvin’s idea is that the organization is a process. Garvin insists that an organization experiences processes which are geared towards making it better. These include constant informal and formal learning experiences. Informal learning occurs spontaneously while formal learning when is indeed structured and planned in advance.

While Senge focuses on explaining the positions taken by managers in creating learning organizations, Garvin gives steps to be followed when executing the process of learning in organizations. He gives the steps which are to be followed in building the organization. Senge notes that the success realized in a learning organization is a fruit of normal organizational development. He feels that organizations grow towards stability.

He depicts that learning takes place automatically as the organization pursues profitability. On the other hand, Garvin explains learning organizations as the final products of intentional and strategic actions. These include realizing the need for organizational learning. He views organizational change as one of the elements of organizational development. Senge argues that organizational design is attained as the system moves towards productivity. In addition, organizations are designed by the various resolutions adopted. Garvin illustrates the process of building and designing a learning organization.

Learning processes or practices in my work place – considering how they relate to Senge or on Garvin’s criteria for a Learning organization

In line with Senges’s criteria, learning how to operate in my organization was a strenuous task both to me and other leaders in my organization. I had to take an initiative to operate professionally in the organization. The managers in my department also noted that I needed to adapt to the new environment and hence, they were very helpful. Garvin points out the process of acquiring skills to be inevitable. As a result, I managed to attain new skills as time went by. Indeed, I kept on learning. This improved my performance on a daily basis.

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After being accepted as one of the workers in the organization, I developed a great sense of belonging. This came with a feeling of acceptance. I understood that my presence was appreciated and was ready to exploit my potential for the benefit of the organization. There are times when work becomes extremely challenging. In most cases, this happens when I have tough decisions to make. I equally understand that it is my duty to seek assistance. Despite my efforts to remain focused on the delegated duties, I have never hesitated in coming up with new ways of making my job more interesting.

According to Garvin’s proposal, it is the duty of managers to anticipate such challenging moments so that they can come in and help subordinates to learn. The managerial team has a role of ensuring that knowledge is disseminated to everyone in the organization. This is meant to equip workers with the ability to be flexible at all times.

Informal and formal learning do take place in different aspects of my work. The social values in my organization have been integral in my working life. I have also developed a sense of enthusiasm which is highly advocated for in my organization. In line with Senge’s criteria, formal training sessions have been resourceful in relation to my technical skills.

Reading article by Argyris (1976)

What is this article about?

It explores the function played by learning in the process of decision making. This has been done through the exposition of two types of learning. The article also elaborates two models of learning. These include double loop learning model and single loop learning model.

What are the Author’s argument / position?

The author seeks to demonstrate why feedback oriented learning is a crucial component in decision making for organizations. He demonstrates that effectiveness in decision making is achieved through learning processes since there are no absolute experts in that field. Although he leaves his data open for further research, the author of this article presents clear explanations. He takes the perspective of offering delivering inductive information. This has been achieved by adding extra information on models of learning.

What three or four key points are made?

Importance of learning, feedback and organized decision making as parts of achieving progress. In addition, learning should not be ignored in organizations.

What 4- 5 questions does this article raise for our group?

Major questions for the group include the role of character in decision making, importance of incorporating acquired knowledge in decision making, and contributions of knowledge and the expected outcomes of balanced decision making. Decision making is portrayed as a crucial activity which cannot be done carelessly. On this note, my group benefits by evaluating the role played by knowledge. In this case, it is important to understand what is meant by knowledge. The type of knowledge that needs to be gathered and in what way it is to be applied. Decision making is inseparable with analysis of data. This calls for persons who have techniques of balancing different types of knowledge.

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Do these Questions relate to our work or personal lives?

The questions relate to both work and personal lives of the members of any given organization. This is because decisions made both at workplace and other social settings have long term impacts. It is true that the ability to learn is closely linked with the attitude of the learner. In relation to this, learning occurs both intentionally and intentionally. The article illustrates the need for persons in any given managerial positions to be equipped with the right knowledge. If such leaders do not have appropriate skills to use in managing others, then it is perpetually impossible to achieve desired results. This aspect is evident in all areas of a worker’s life since decisions are made in every step an employee makes in his or her duties.

How might this article be useful for HR practitioners or Managers in thinking about organizational change?

It may assist them in getting understanding that learning occurs in any given set of conditions. They should be able to understand that extreme crises are not causes of faulty decisions. Compromised decision making is a result of manager’s inability to learn. Human resource practitioners and managers ought to understand the details of any problematic occurrence in organizations.

They should be able to analyze the factors behind instabilities. Besides, managers should make sure that they investigate all external and internal factors which have perpetrated activities in the organization. Due to the application of guidelines shown in the paper, managers are put in a position to evaluate the challenges facing an organization. These challenges may entail motives, intentions and even diverse desires of different workers.

From Argyris (1976) reading- What are single-loop and double loop learning?

Double loop learning involves seeking solutions to problems and all the underlying factors which propagate occurrence of the problematic issue. It also entails the functions of willingness, management of self and self awareness. This kind of learning also monitors occurrence of daily challenges.

Single loop learning is defined as the activity of adopting corrective measures which solve past errors while avoiding repetition of the same mistakes. It has a foundation of examining the technical aspect of mistakes. This makes it easy to investigate external factors which may culminate into the occurrence of a problem.

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