What is a Learning Organisation?

Learning organisations encourage adaptative and generative learning, where employees are motivated to pursue organisational improvements.

Peter Senge (a systems scientist) was an advocate of decentralized organisational leadership where every member of the organisation works toward a common goal, with a deep understanding and belief of the organisation’s purpose. 

He proposed five disciplines of a learning organisation:

  1. Systems thinking – recognition that an organisation is comprised of many smaller, interrelated and interconnected parts. Individuals are recognised for their contribution to the purpose.
  2. Personal mastery – learning organisations recognise the importance of continuous improvement, with a focus on acquiring new skills and experiences.
  3. Mental models – employees can challenge their beliefs or assumptions using critical thinking and self-reflection. This enables the organisation to challenge the limiting beliefs that may be hindering its progress. 
  4. Knowledge sharing – collaboration within organisations is a must. Knowledge-sharing infrastructure and tools can help employees by pooling skills and expertise. 
  5. Shared vision – managers, supervisors, and employees must be forward-thinking and committed to the learning process, promoted through purposeful leadership.

An organisation's purpose ensures that learning contributes to performance improvements

How to Build a Learning Organisation

Good Dividends is a new way of thinking about creating business value and organisations.

The core idea of Good Dividends is that all businesses can develop six areas of value or capital that will generate a regenerative learning organisation. Integrating these areas of capital will generate increased value by engaging with your people, enriching the planet and improving business performance.

With the appropriate leadership at all levels then an organisation attuned to these areas of capital can move towards becoming a learning organisation.

An organisation’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage."

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric