Is Yours a Learning Organization?

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Author(s):
David A. Garvin, Amy C. Edmondson, Francesca Gino
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Date Published:
March 31, 2008
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Leaders may think that getting their organizations to learn is only a matter of articulating a clear vision, giving employees the right incentives, and providing lots of training. This assumption is not merely flawed—it’s risky in the face of intensifying competition, advances in technology, and shifts in customer preferences.

Organizations need to learn more than ever as they confront these mounting forces. Each company must become a learning organization. The concept is not a new one. It flourished in the 1990s, stimulated by Peter M. Senge’s The Fifth Discipline and countless other publications, workshops, and websites. The result was a compelling vision of an organization made up of employees skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge. These people could help their firms cultivate tolerance, foster open discussion, and think holistically and systemically. Such learning organizations would be able to adapt to the unpredictable more quickly than their competitors could.

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