This is why a Learning Organization will always be very competitive on the market. It will be able to adapt to the changes in the said market and thus profit. Also, a very important element in a Learning Organization is the fact that it and its members share a vision. This is why they are learning and evolving, because they have a goal. Unlike other companies where the employers come to work only motivated by their salary and they feel they work for their boss who is in fact the one gaining. Learning Organizations have managed to change this point-of-view.
Learning Organizations have been developed so that companies are able to keep up with the fast pace of changes and become more and more competitive on the market. Learning is leading to innovation and innovation is leading to improvement: "work has been thought of as being conservative and difficult to change. Learning was something divorced from work and innovation was seen as the necessary, but disruptive way to change. The corporations which are able to quickly learn and then innovate with their activities will be able to change their work practices to perform better in the constantly changing environment. Change is now measured in terms of months, nor in years as it was in the past. Business re-engineering used to concentrate on eliminating waste and not on working smarter and learning."
Peter Senge is one of the scholars who have done extensive research in the field of Learning Organizations. He has identified five elements that are essential to building a Learning Organization: personal mastery, shared vision, mental modeling, team learning and system thinking. As easily observed, these can not be mastered over night. A Learning Organization will be able to apply them only by continuously striving to achieve them. This may seem a paradox, but in fact it is in accordance with the very principle of Learning Organization: continuous learning and improvement.
Having all these in mind we must also analyze the risks undertaken by a company that wants to become a Learning Organization. Firstly, as all change comes with a price implementing the principles of learning organizations have their setbacks. There could be a slight disruption in the activity of the company as the change in strategy must be quick and complete in order for it to be effective. There could also be a problem with the employees. They might not all be as receptive to change as the company is. Also, they might not be able to change as they might be so caught up in the old system of working that they will reject all change. The change might be so sudden when it comes to openness, that relations between co-workers might be affected. In a rush to implement the system quicker and get results the organization and its members risk skipping some steps in the process of learning and thus the result will be spoiled. Moreover, the risk of putting learning first is incurred and forgetting work, that is getting the job done. Companies must not forget that learning is a means to work better, thus it must be used to serve its purpose and not as a full time activity. Nevertheless, the quantity of information may prove too big in some cases and even create misunderstandings as people will not only get one answer, but several and they must filter them. And last but not least, implementing Learning Organizations depends from country to country and from culture to culture as some are more receptive and some are more conservative.
Traditional Training has been and has remained the most common and in easy-reach theory regarding Human Resources Management. It involves the organization of traditional training sessions in which different groups of employees are taught something new or get to refresh their knowledge regarding things they already know.
The training is provided either by an outside trainer, somebody who does this for a living or maybe a person who is very well qualified in that field. Also, the training may be provided by somebody from within the organization who is very good in a particular area or who prepares something special to teach his coworkers.
The way in which Traditional Training is implemented is similar to that of classroom teaching. The employees in the group gather in a classroom and the trainer gives his presentation. Communication takes place only over one channel: from the trainer to the "students" through the lecture he is holding. Therefore the attention falls mostly upon the trainer and not on the trainees who provide no feedback of their knowledge and understanding.
This system is in easy reach because it requires very little effort from the organization. It just has to put up the money for the trainer and the facilities, if it does not already have appropriate facilities and if the training is not done by an inside person. Then it has to call upon the employees to be present at a certain time in a certain place.
This is not wrong. It has worked for many years as the only way in which new technologies and innovation have been implemented within organizations. Believe it or not, organizations changed and evolved back then as well, not as quickly as they do now, but they did not need to.
There are, of course, several disadvantages brought upon by this system of training and of human resources development. Studies have shown that people respond better and learn quicker when the format of the course appeals to more than one of their senses. Therefore, they respond better to a course that is interactive and combines the multimedia presentations with the traditional lectures. Moreover, Traditional Training does not get the employees involved in the course, they have a passive role. A more challenging course would provide them with the motivation to actually change for the better.
A better system of training contains besides the lectures: multimedia presentations, practical examples that are done by the employees, applications to the theories, mock interviews and self-study. The latter is important because a course will always be limited in time and no trainer is able to grasp the whole of the material in that time and teach it well. This is where self-study comes in. The training needs to be motivating and challenging enough in order to encourage the employees to study on their own and do this with enjoyment and not out of obligation.
Furthermore, we encounter yet another problem that regards training, traditional or not, as a theory and method in Human Resource Management. It addresses only very limited problems regarding the organization. Training comes to fulfill the need for learning, but it does not fulfill the need of improvement of the organization. It does not integrate the individual into the organization and it does not make the two share common goals and values. It does not even integrate the individual into the collectivity at work, thus it does not help in developing team work and team spirit. The employees are accustomed to always expect change from the organization and, thus, do not try to better themselves and keep up, by themselves with the latest developments in their field of expertise. This happens because they are not challenged and motivated enough to take initiative and act in a proactive manner. "Human Performance Technology or performance consulting is changing the face of the traditional training department forever. Few training organizations offer trainer-led, generic classes as the only, or even major, solution to organizational challenges and opportunities any more."
When it comes to Human Resources Management, emphasis is placed now on providing complete solutions for the implementation of a durable, log term system that provides the best results possible for that particular organization. An in depth assessment of the organization is conducted by specialists in order to determine which methods should be applied to the different organizations. "Alternatives to training offered by progressive human resource departments include coaching, organizational development or planned change consultation and interventions, facilitated planning sessions and large group processes. The training that is provided is often custom-designed with stated outcomes congruent with the direction of the business."
Performance Management is a theory regarding Human Resources Management that combines training, and providing knowledge through training with the general development of the organization. Its proper implementation leads to the creation of a self sustaining, growth system for the organization. "In a performance management system, people receive more frequent feedback from many points-of-view including peers, direct reporting staff members and the boss. The feedback, known as 360-degree feedback, provides a more balanced set of observations for the employee." The flow of information does not only have one direction. It is transmitted from the management down, from the employees to the management and between the employees at a horizontal level.
Performance Management does not only address the organization as a whole, but also the individual. He is assisted in learning and…