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Learning Organizations Essay Example for Free
culture Organizations Essay1. 1 decision maker summary/ L. O In times of uncertainty and change, system of ruless need new and effectual managerial tools in order to cope with the rising rivalrousness of markets. In this context, the concept of organizational study is receiving gro localise ong direction among both managerial and academic surroundings in the h grizzly up two decades. Among many possible definitions of a information Organization, David A. Garvin, a leading scholar in this field, suggests the following an organization made up of employees complete at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge. These people could suspensor their firms cultivate tolerance, foster open discussion, and think holistically and systemically. Such skill organizations would be able to adapt to the unpredictable more(prenominal) quickly than their competitors could. . A learning organization is aimed at increase the flexibility and effectiveness of a come with, making it react faster to changes in a free-enterprise(a) environment. This is achieved in cultures who ceaselessly foster knowledge inside(a)(a) their organizations.Although this general idea of organizational learning may come out of the closet rather simplistic at first glance, its practical integration into day-to-day operations proves to require a more refined, systematic approach Generative learning can non be sustained in an organization where compositors case thinking predominates. It requires a conceptual framework of structural or systematical thinking, the ability to discover structural causes of behaviour. This paper bears a deeper insight into the implementation and performance assessment of learning organizations (L. O. s), mainly victimization the tether edifice forgets Model outlined by Garvin, Edmondson Gino.To better understand this concept, the work go away rely on drive out as an example to highlight how L. O. s can allow competitive advantages to corporati ons. In the last section, the paper will also breakdown the effect that learning organizations have on major s conduceholders (leaders, employees and organization itself). 1. 2. Introduction Background to bolt turn back is a US-based multinational, founded in 1906, which produces and sales printers and photocopiers and provides related services. Throughout its history, beetle off has faced several crisis periods which ended up pushing the troupe to become a Learning Organization.Around 1980, the company was hit hard by the emergence of new japanese players on the market and lost its al more or less 100% market sh ar. As a response Xerox introduced the leadership by quality initiative with the objective of training every employee in tools for generating ideas and collecting information, solving problems in a systematical way, reaching consensus etc. Xerox became a case study the first American group to win back market shargon from the Japanese. More recently, in the year of 2000 , with the announcement of Anne M. Mulcahy as chief executive officer of the company, XEROXs was able to overcome other serious crisis.Mulcahys leadership style, which mirrors many of the strategies suggested by the LO literature, managed to turn around this sinking ship, which had 19 billion in debt, a falling tenor and double-digit negative growth. In 5 years time, Xerox would be profitable again. Ursula Burns has continued Mulcahys work, since becoming the new chief operating officer in 2009, even acquiring new companies such as the 2010 $6. 4 bln. receiveover of ACS. Xerox continues to stay on the list of companies frequently cited as learning organizations. The 3 Building Blocks of a Learning OrganizationThe concept of the three twist blocks of a learning organizations is introduced by David A. Garvin, Amy C. Edmondson, and Francesca Gino as an assessment tool to determine areas where organizations need to improve their learning methodologies. Below we provide a deeper ex planation of each of the three building blocks and how Xerox fits each one of them. Building Block 1 XEROX, a supportive learning organization? There are four distinct characteristics of an organization that determine whether it is or not a Supportive Learning Organization. Firstly, how psychologically safe its employees feel.This is common in organizations where employees dont feel pressured or marginalized when presenting their own ideas even if these go against what the majority of the organization thinks. Similarly, subordinates at this organization are encouraged to disagree with their coworkers and superiors and present new and bold opinions, meaning that this organization is opened to new ideas. In a supportive learning organization, employees also become aware of the different in come ins and opinions each member of a team brings to the table and learns how to accommodate and value those differences.Lastly, a supportive learning organization needs to provide its employees wi th some time for reflexion, when they will to go over the companys procedures and analyse past performances in order to assess what can be changed and/or improved. Tolerance and multifariousness at Xerox Xeroxs desolation to new ideas can be partly linked to its high diversity of employee backgrounds, which in the long run reinforces the acceptance and inclusion of different solutions, making employees feel more comfortable in taking risks.This diversity has also enabled Ursula Burns, the current CEO, to climb up the ranks of Xerox and become the first female b wishing CEO of a Fortune vitamin D company. Besides being a proof to other employees that effort at Xerox pays back, Burns herself stresses this idea of a supportive learning organization when she mentions that she wants XEROXs 130,000 employees to get over the past, take more initiative, become more fearless and be more frank and impatient with one another to ratchet up performance.Burns refers to the all Xerox community as the XEROX family- When were in the family, you dont have to be as nice as when youre extracurricular of the family,( ) I want us to stay civil and kind, but we have to be frank and the causality we can be frank is because we are all in the same family. Building Block 2 Does Xerox implement concrete learning processes and practices? Because a learning organization is not cultivated effortlessly, organizational entities must put explicit processes in place to ensure that knowledge is constantly generated and dispassionate inside the organization.The information must then be interpreted and infused into the organization to be alship canal come-at-able in a way that will support problem-solving tasks and benefit its constant varietyal processes. Moreover, this will also help to develop new products or services, as well as closely monitor competitors, clients and technological developments, using benchmarking techniques. Lastly, the company has to invest in training measures f or its employees. MAINEducation and problem-solving at Xerox The half dozen Sigma regularity In the case of Xerox, measures to implement LO practices started as early as 1983 when executive precaution inaugurated Xeroxs leadership through quality initiative. The initiatives closing was improving business processes to create higher levels of client satis faction, quality and productivity by providing workshops to Xerox employees. These workshops were refined in the late 90s, reorienting around the half dozen Sigma method, which had previously been successfully applied in other companies.Although these efforts proved successful in improving productivity, they were yet limited to a local supply chain level and were not conducted regularly. In 2002 the management of Xerox then decided to implement the Six Sigma strategy across the whole organization, an effort which Xerox is go on today. This is shown by the fact that the method has become part of the everyday communication proc ess inside the company. The Six Sigma strategy is a tool, which empowers employees to become more efficient and proactive in daily problem-solving situations, for example by using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) approach.Six Sigma also requires the employees to closely monitor market trends and to apply benchmarking appropriately. Xerox particularly emphasizes the fact that they see the efforts to implement the Six Sigma method (see attachment 1) as a long-term project. This idea is reorient with the academic literature on LOs stating that becoming a LO is a long process and picayune setbacks should be expected. This is because employees and the management have to unlearn old modes of thinking. Information distribution at Xerox Xerox provides employees with access to a large intranet consisting of e.g. reference knowledge, material on best practices, and answers to frequently asked questions. This helps the stakeholders inside the company to share informatio n. It also supports the efforts to keep employees informed on what the priorities are for the overall company. Building Block 3 Are Xerox leaders reinforcing learning? Leaders in a L. O. promote constant learning by raising difficult questions and listening to the answers and concerns of their employees. While doing so, leaders also communicate openness to these new ideas and take them into consideration in their actions.Additionally, leaders have to encourage employees to invest their time in reflecting on both how to solve current problems and what can be learned from past performance. The ultimate goal is for leaders to motivate employees to question the underlying assumptions of current modes of thinking, and therefore initiate efficiency and innovation inside company processes. Promoting Initiative at Xerox For the past two decades, Xerox has engaged their employees to participate in the Earth Awards Program.The goal of this yearly event is to come up with solutions for saving company resources by change magnitude its efficiency, therefore making it a greener company. With this challenging program, Xerox motivates their employees to generate new ideas that, for instance, in 2010, resulted in company savings of $10. 2 Million. In that year, thirteen winners were announced, corporate wide and among different teams. This is an example of how leaders take their employees input seriously and how the generation of new initiatives at Xerox arises from both top and bottom levels of hierarchies. encouraging employees to invest their time in reflecting by example Senior management at Xerox demonstrates the behaviors, which they in turn expect from employees. A clear example of this policy was when, in 1993, the executive management put together the Presidential Review process. The objective of this process was to review the overall progress of the company conjointly through Presidential Review process in 1993. Interviews were organized with more than 30 senior man agers state questions like What has changed? Where are the largest gaps between what was intended and what is currently true?If you were to outline barriers that need to be dealt with, what comes to heading? What would you have done differently? . After the interviews, 45 seniors got together for one day meeting to get a line trouble spots and develop recommendations. Action plan was the result . 3. The Effect on Leaders, Followers and Organizations decorous a successful learning organization can provide a company with significant competitive advantages in the long-run, as it also can largely benefit its major stakeholders (employees and leaders). However, it also requires some behavioral changes from them. In order to achieve the goal of a L.O. (foster knowledge creation and sharing to gain competitive advantage), it is important that leaders infuse a common goal inside the organization. This implies, that leaders should have an effective communication in delivering the compan y ethos to their subordinates. Once employees identify with the company and its goal, people on all levels of the company would naturally start thinking and discussing promising new ways to achieve these goals. On the other hand, learning processes require time among other resources, and eventually leaders will have to find efficient ways to maximize the time of their employees.It is crucial to determine a balance between time spent issue over problem-solvings tasks and past performance analysis ( needful for learning processes) with regular work. Additionally, leaders will have to go down the line between acceptable mistakes- those that arrive from risk taking attitudes, and unacceptable mistakes those originated by irresponsibility and lack of accountability. This is not evermore clear and, therefore, leaders might face some obstacles in implementing a learning culture as their workers fear of punishment can result in the limitation of creativity.Probably the most effective to ol to boost innovation is to empower workers. But if the empowerment process provides employees the feeling that they are contributing and helping to define the company processes, then a new attitude is also required from them. Employees will have to remember that they are expected to show initiative, propose new ideas and act. And they should not always expect directions to do so. This can be particularly hard for workers who are risk-averse and who need clear instruction manual about their work role.Learning organizations can bring significant benefits to employees. Being part of the company processes transformation and being aligned with its goals are expected to make employees more motivated and dynamic. In this way, many of the aspects of the L. O. take to task the levels of enjoying the work process. The job satisfaction in turn is expected to raise productivity levels. Also, because employees are more exposed to those in higher positions in the company, new career opportuni ties might arise together with pecuniary rewards. RISKS FOR COMPANY No learning organization is built overnight.Success comes from carefully cultivated attitudes, commitments, and management processes that lessen slowly and steadily. The first step is to foster an environment conducive to learning. Analog Devices, Chaparral Steel, Xerox, GE, and other companies provide enlightened examples. (http//w3. ualg. pt/mzacaria/gic/HBR-Building-a-Leaning-Organization. pdf) 2. Organizations should be careful in applying new principles ensuring buy-in from most influential employees and checking progress not to fall into the trap of unfeasable change which could seriously hurt current business (see http//knowledge.wharton. upenn. edu/article. cfm? articleid=268) 4. Final considerations As illustrated by the above analysis, as well by its overall economic performance in the last 11 years, it has become clear that XEROX has largely succeeded in becoming a LO. Arguably, Xerox has become so succ essful in its LO efforts that this has resulted in providing learning services to other companies through subsidiary birl offs, such as Xerox Learning Services. Concerning the evaluation of the theory proposed by Garvin, Gino and Edmondson, it has to be noted that the building blocks have to be seen as interdependent.Without effective leadership and learning environment, the learning process implementation will likely fail. Therefore, each of the above building blocks needs to be tackled by taylormade strategies, not least because companies do not perform consistently in each department. Similarly, organizations have to pay especial attention to comparability the extent of the learning process with other organizations, since only then you will have a unfluctuating benchmarking (in contrast to looking only at individual company performance over time). Attachment 1 1 . OKeeffe, T. 2002.Organizational Learning a new perspective. Journal of European Industrial Training, 26 (2), pp. 130-141. 2 . Peter Senge (1990), The Fifth Discipline 3 . Is yours a learning organization? 4 . bingle good source on Xerox crisis times http//knowledge. wharton. upenn. edu/article. cfm? articleid=268 5 . Building a L. O. 6 . http//www. economist. com/ customer/387740 7 . http//www. economist. com/node/387740 8 . http//mitleadership. mit. edu/r-mulcahy. php 9 . The following work will assume that the stance of the management towards encouraging the LO inside Xerox has remained constant.Since Mulcahy had been working with Burns for more than 9 years, Burns is expected to put her own stamp on the company in a way that was deferential to the work of Ms. Mulcahy, who be chairwoman. See http//www. nytimes. com/2010/02/21/business/21xerox. html? pagewanted=all_r=1 10 . http//www. freepatentsonline. com/article/SAM-Advanced- focal point-Journal/20982068. html 11 . http//www. businesswire. com/ countersign/home/20041027005036/en/Diversity-Practices-Organization-Recognizes-Xer ox-Diversity-Leadership 12 . Farmer, Paula (August). The First African American To Head A Fortune 500 Company, Franklin D.Raines Takes Over Fannie Mae. The Black Collegian. Retrieved November 7, 2008. 13 . Bryant, A. (February 20, 2010) Xeroxs New Chief Tries to Redefine Its Culture, The New York propagation 14 . Bryant, A. (February 20, 2010) Xeroxs New Chief Tries to Redefine Its Culture, The New York Times 15 . Garvin, Edmondson Gino (2008), p. 4 16 . Page 11 http//www. xerox. com/downloads/usa/en/n/nr_SixSigmaForumMag_2004_Aug. pdf It could be argued that these efforts were a spillover-effect from Xerox ground-breaking benchmarking efforts in its production process areas in billing, warehousing, and automated manufacturing. 17 .Page 13 http//www. xerox. com/downloads/usa/en/n/nr_SixSigmaForumMag_2004_Aug. pdf 18 . Slide 68http//www. moyak. com/papers/learning-organization-presentation. pdf 19 . Easterby-Smith, M. , Crossan, M. , and Nicolini, D. 2000. Organizational le arning debates past, present and future. Journal of Management Studies. 37 (6) pp 783-796. See also Senges definition of mental models, which refer to how workers need to time to overcome old modes of thinking Senge, P. M. 1990. The Fifth Discipline. London Century Business. 20 . http//www. xerox. com/downloads/usa/en/n/nr_SixSigmaForumMag_2004_Aug. pdf 21 . Kaye, L.(November 15, 2010) Xeroxs Green Ideas Save Company $10. 2 Million, http//www. triplepundit. com/ 22 . Garvin, D. A. (2000), Learning in Action a guide to putting the learning organization to work, Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication selective information p. 105 23 . Garvin, D. A. (2000), Learning in Action a guide to putting the learning organization to work, Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data p. 105 24 . Emerald Group Publishing Limited. ImageXerox lean six sigma framework. Figure 3Xerox lean six sigma framework. emeraldinsight. com http//www. emeraldinsight. com/journals. htm? article id=1628232show=html.