Exactly how far does the importance of organizational learning go in the modern business world? It’s a given fact that the digital revolution and the information explosion of the past two decades has changed the face of business, and that the speed with which technology evolves and changes has only sped up in recent years.
This means that companies must be kept on their toes, and in order to maintain adaptability and flexibility in an ever changing world, the importance of organizational learning as a strategy for adaptation is impossible to overstate. But, why organizational learning, versus older strategies like frequent training or classrooms? Why can individuals just not keep a steady stream of new material coming in as they go about their professional lives? That is what we’re going to talk about for a moment here, because there are definite reasons why organizational learning is crucial with the speed and scope of change that is perpetually being undertaken in any industry in the 21st century.
Organizational learning is not a complicated concept, but it does absolutely stand out when compared to older, brute force learning techniques that were previously employed. Alongside knowledge management, another strategy proposed around the same time, it seeks to ensure a level of parallelism across the tiers of an organization, from individuals to teams and on up across the wider scope of a business.
Organizational learning allows for teams to learn exactly what is relevant to their specific tasks and specialties while other information they do not need is given to the individuals and teams that need it, with some Venn overlap between for cooperation. With organizational learning, teams work together to help each other learn, and to ensure that nobody is left behind in the overall progress and achievement of the target goals.
Traditional learning systems allowed for a lot of slippage and a lot of redundancy that organizational learning serves to omit, while ensuring that by a specific metric of time and progress, specific smaller goals are met, allowing for the big picture to ultimately be achieved.
The nice thing about this, and the key to its importance, is its inherent flexibility by way of strategy and framework of delivery, allowing for sophisticated needs analysis before going in, and unique philosophies to incentivize individuals.
It needs to be said that organizational training does require a team mindset from individuals, where those participating value the accomplishment of their division, team or organization above personal glory and vanity, making this process a bit dicey with older, set-in-their-way teams and individuals. However, if this is not an issue, or is one that can be overcome (a mark of skill as a leader), then organizational learning is the most effective and flexible way to conduct training and adaptation in a company, team or division hands down.
There is no way to overstate the importance of organizational learning in the flexibility of a business, as it allows even-paced, widely diverse adaptation of individuals and teams as units to new ideas without slow down or learning models that cost expensive manpower and time.
Readers interested in organizational learning also read this interesting article on the common barriers faced.