Toward a learning organization : guidelines for bureaucracies

Ford, David Franklyn (1997) Toward a learning organization : guidelines for bureaucracies. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Today, organizations find themselves faced with constant change resulting in re-organization, downsizing, rightsizing, outplacement, mergers, and an ever increasing pressure to become more competitive and better able to do more with less. This has become a challenging task for leaders in many- organizations . -- Research is showing though, that some organizations are enjoying significant success. The leaders and the employees are dealing much more effectively with the onslaught of change. Many of these are what Peter Senge (1990) calls learning organizations. In these organizations there is a shared vision, teamwork, open-ness, and a deep rooted commitment to the principle of learning at all levels. -- For many other organizations such as government, steeped in the conventions of traditional bureaucracy, it appears to be an almost impractical approach to leading an organization. These large bureaucratic machines have struggled perhaps more than others, to adapt to new demands and become more change-agile. The reasons for this are numerous. This paper examines the bureaucracies, clarifies some of the challenges it faces, and outlines a set of principles and guidelines which would move an organization toward the concept of a learning organization. -- Prior to that however, a comprehensive review of the literature reveals what Senge and others are saying about the learning organization. Senge is used as a benchmark against which other opinions are explored, compared and contrasted. The five disciplines which Senge outlines are fully explored and discussed, with a view to developing a definition of the learning organization. Throughout this review, there is continuous reference to the bureaucracy and the unique problems it faces in becoming more of a learning organization. Also, as part of the literature review, the concepts of organizational learning and the learning organization are examined. This is necessary in order to develop an appreciation for the overall process of becoming a learning organization. The inter-relationship and interdependence of these concepts are discussed. Finally, as these appreciations and understandings are fully developed, a set of principles and guidelines are compiled which recapitulate the ideas and perspectives presented throughout the paper on how to move toward the concept of the learning organization.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1576
Item ID: 1576
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 174-183
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1997
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Organizational learning; Bureaucracy; Leadership

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