Reinterpreting the Learning Organization Essay Example
Reinterpreting the Learning Organization Essay Example

Reinterpreting the Learning Organization Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (456 words)
  • Published: November 13, 2016
  • Type: Article
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The concept of the learning organisation (LO) has evolved over the past decade, both in theory and practice. The increasing interest in the LO is driven by the era of globalisation, as discussed by Senge (1990; Senge et al., 1994), where an organisation's ability to learn and adapt faster than its competitors gives it a competitive edge. Although some writers use LO and organisational learning (OL) interchangeably, others make a distinction between the two.

The definition and understanding of a learning organization (LO) and organizational learning (OL) are not agreed upon, and there is little consensus on the connection between individual and collective learning within organizations and how they interact with each other. This paper briefly examines the current literature on LO and OL, specifically focusing on the theoretical tensions and dilemmas between these concepts.

According to Burrell (1994), management theorists


have not fully incorporated the knowledge and approaches from fields such as sociology, philosophy, and anthropology. Burrell suggests that organization studies should explore the intersection between philosophy and social science, while also engaging with established French and German traditions of social theory. Deb Stewart, the author, is a Lecturer at Victoria University's School of Management in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Keywords: Learning organization, Organizational learning, Organizational change, Metaphor, Narratives

Abstract: This article examines the theoretical and practical evolution of the learning organization (LO) concept. Some scholars have used LO and organizational learning interchangeably, while others have recognized differences between them. The paper presents a concise overview of the existing literature on LO within the framework of learning and organizational learning, along with the theoretical tensions that arise from thes

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The text proposes using the LO as a metaphor to analyze its reinterpretation and explores the significance of narratives in all aspects of human activities and their connection to organizational aspects. It suggests a holistic approach to reinterpreting the LO using narrative theory. Additionally, it argues that considering power relations and Bourdieu's social theory is necessary when reinterpreting the LO. Lastly, it asserts that incorporating metaphor, narrative, and social theory will enrich our conceptual understanding of the LO and provide practical opportunities for practitioners and consultants.

Morgan (1993; 1997) has utilized sociology and philosophy to metaphorically examine organizational phenomena, emphasizing the significance of metaphors in our comprehension of organizations. In this paper, the LO is regarded as a metaphor to further investigate the potential for a more comprehensive interpretation of the concept, acknowledging that metaphors can both reveal and obscure.

Since Morgan's initial research on metaphors, a limited group of scholars have examined organizations metaphorically. Bolman and Deal (1997) and Palmer and Dunford (1996) are notable examples. However, it is unexpected that this theoretical advancement has not extended to the notion that we utilize narratives to depict the world.

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