Organizational learning is the process by which an organization improves itself over time through gaining experience and using that experience to create knowledge. The knowledge created is then transferred within the organization.
Organizational learning is important for all companies, as the creation, retention and transfer of knowledge within the organization will strengthen the organization as a whole.
When looking at the definition of organizational learning, there are three main actions to consider:
An idea or product is conceived, the company creates the idea or product, then the company must reflect. It is through this reflection of both process and outcome that learning will occur. In addition to those actions, there are three key processes that occur in organizational learning:
It is important that the organization ensures that the knowledge gained from this process is retained within the organization and is transferable. Knowledge retained by individuals cannot be properly retained, as individuals can leave, taking their knowledge with them. Embedded knowledge can be kept within the organization and shared with all individuals.
To define organizational learning is to understand the importance of creating a learning culture within an organization. This type of learning benefits both individuals, teams, and the organization as a whole. There are also positive intra-organizational benefits to this approach.
The theory of organizational learning focuses on the creation of knowledge and the use of that knowledge within an organization.
Key aspects of organizational learning theory are that learning happens when people interact while finding and solving problems.
Organizational learning theory stresses the importance of developing a learning culture within an organization.
According to this theory, organizations should:
The importance of organizational learning is shown by the various benefits that occur in organizations that develop a learning culture:
When organizations dedicate time and resources to developing a learning culture and implementing organizational learning, they are more competitive.
This increased ability to react quickly to fast-changing market conditions is just one of the reasons why organizational learning is important.
An organization that embraces the lessons that can be learned from failure and studies its own processes will be an organization that contains more knowledge about best practices, and will be much more able to adapt.
By creating the basis for continuous learning where all employees are teachers and students, there is an equal exchange of information that allows each person to contribute in a substantial manner.