We cannot talk about Learning Culture without talking about the Learning Organization. This concept came up in the end of the 20'th century. With Peter Senge as one of the most influential authors in this field with his book "The Fifth Discipline; the art and practice of the learning organization".
Senge's definition of learning organizations: "Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together" (Senge, 1990: 3).
Senge called his book 'The fifth Discipline'. These five disciplines, practices that require hard work, are:
- Shared vision: In learning organizations, a vision must be created through interaction with the employees in the company. The effect of sharing the same vision is that employees perform tasks because they want to do them instead of being told to do so. It changes the relationship with the company and converts it into a learning mechanism
- Mental models: According to Peter Senge, employees must truly identify with the values of the company and everything their company is all about. The most successful companies are those that can learn and adapt to new models, in order to outperform their competitors.
- Team learning: Learning as a team is very important to achieve excellent functional team dynamics. It is the discipline that brings together personal competence and a shared vision. The work environment must be safe, a place where honest mistakes are forgiven. Otherwise, no learning experience can develop.
- Personal mastery: Personal mastery arises when an individual has a clear vision of a goal, combined with an accurate perception of reality. The gap between the vision and reality allows the employee to perform all necessary related activities to realize that vision. This creative tension depends on a clear understanding of the current situation.
- Systems thinking: Rather than concentrating on individual problems, systems thinking reflects the observation process of an entire system. Managers (and employees!) must understand that every action and every consequence is related to the other. It often happens that people focus strongly on individual actions and forget to see the bigger picture. When coherence is understood, it allows us to see relationships between things and patterns of change in certain situations. We can thus determine cause and effect.
Senge also describes seven learning disabilities, frustrating learning inside organizations. And eleven laws that form the bedrock of action that can lead to the establishment of a learning organization. Read Senge's book if you want to know more about this field of interest.
The learning climate of organizations is a good predictor of learning and change capacity.
People are naturally eager to learn. Learning keeps people healthy and makes them happy. 'No learning' actually does not exist. Insecurity, isolation and coercion limit our motivation to learn.