You want to know a personal secret? Yes? Okay – I am a huge fan of learning things! I really like to develop and try new things. From time to time I may be a little bit childish but I think that one of the best ways to learn things is to try them out – just as we did when we were kids… Cue: experience-based learning!
Learning is an essential process for every human being and one of the saddest things that can happen to people is when they stop learning. This is mostly related to people that reached a certain position – e.g. becoming a Business Director or something comparable. It is not uncommon that people will tend to freeze their past success strategies and define them as the only valid standard for their own actions and those of their other subordinates. This is known as the transfer of fluid into crystalline intelligence.
I hope this will never happen to you and furthermore I hope that you will never have to work with those kind of people. But if you have to there is only one strategy to survive: copy them!
Anyhow within this post I want to present different definitions of individual and organizational learning and open up a new section within this BLOG.
The Chinese characters below represent the word “learning.” For the oriental mind, learning is ongoing. “Study” and “practice constantly,” together, suggest that learning should mean: “mastery of the way of self-improvement.” (Peter Senge 1990)
- The first character means to study. It is composed of two parts: a symbol that means “to accumulate knowledge,” above a symbol for a child in a doorway.
- The second character means to practice constantly, and it shows a bird developing the ability to leave the nest.
- The upper symbol represents flying; the lower symbol, youth.
The roots of the English word for learning suggest that it once held a similar meaning. It originated with the Indo-European leis, a noun meaning “track” or “furrow.” To “learn” came to mean gaining experience by following a track– presumably for a lifetime. (Art Kleiner)
- Chris Argyris and Donald Schön (1978) define organizational learning as “the detection and correction of error”
- Fiol and Lyles (1985) define learning as “the process of improving actions through better knowledge and understanding”
- Dodgson (1993) describes organizational learning as: “The way firms build, supplement, and organize knowledge and routines around their activities and within their cultures and adapt and develop organizational efficiency by improving the use of the broad skills of their workforce.”
- Huber (1991) states that learning occurs in an organization “if through its processing of information, the range of its [organization’s] potential behaviors is changed”.