Describe the differences between a learning organization and a traditional organization.
The traditional organization is rigid, hierarchical that emphasis the chain of command. This type of organization does not empower or support employees to facilitate interpersonal growth and development. Employees are not encouraged to innovate and has no incentives to do so nor are they empowered to make decisions. This organization type is sluggish and inflexible and has very slow response times. This organizational structure has also has a low tolerance for failure even though through failure much is learned in terms of formulating “best practices”. In summation, a traditional organization, in its most basic form, assumes that what was best in the past will continue to be so in the present and the future.
The learning organization on the other hand is quite the opposite. This organization type is very flat with not many layers of management (less hierarchical). Because of this information travels faster, decisions are made much quicker and more efficiently. The employees are delegated to and are empowered to make decisions for process and product improvement. The employees are highly encouraged to participate and to take advantage of training opportunities continuously because it is recognized that learning must be part of the company’s strategic objective if the company is going to be poised for the global economy. Employees are further motivated by the fact that individual performance is linked with the organizational performance. Many companies today will demonstrate this important link with the implementation of “profit sharing” programs that awards the employees with excellent strategic performance of their duties and responsibilities. In summation, learning organizations put in place the infrastructure for learning that is responsive to change in a way that helps members be proactive (Acrobatiq, 2017).
1. Identify which stage of Woolner’s 5-stage model the company is currently in.
XYZ Manufacturing Corporation is currently in stage 2 of Woolner’s 5-stage model.
a. Explain why the company is currently in the identified stage of Woolner’s 5-stage model.
In the second stage of Woolner’s 5-stage model, XYZ Manufacturing is in its developmental stage and is beginning to solidify its business models and products and eventually start to set up formal proactive learning situations through outside vendors. This not the part of the company’s regular procedures, general speaking, even though the chain of command recognizes the importance of it (Acrobatiq, 2017).
2. Explain how the company from the scenario would use Senge’s 5 disciplines to become a learning organization.
Systems thinking is the ability to comprehend the whole and examine the inter-relationships between the parts to identify and solve problems quickly. XYZ Manufacturing would find much benefit in having more of a “we” mentality with the encouragement of teamwork and collaboration. The company should realize that all “parts” of the organization need to work together to accomplish its strategic goals. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. In doing these things the company will move one step closer to being a true learning organization.
Personal mastery is the ideal that as the individuals in the company grow in knowledge and improve the more the corporation grows. Personal mastery empowers the employees of the company. XYZ’s training program is non-existent and in order for your employees to grow they must be trained and to this end significant changes must be made. It has been said “Systems thinking requires the disciplines of building, shared vision, mental models, team learning, and personal mastery to mobilize the vision.” (Acrobatiq, 2017) The company must implement a comprehensive training program that will be sustained if it wishes to become a learning organization.
Mental Models are deeply ingrained assumptions that shape and influence organizations as to how they view themselves and situation which drives what actions they take. The employees of the company, XZY Manufacturing, must identify with the values and goals of the company and what business is all about. The company will have to be flexible and adaptable to new models. The strongest companies are the ones that adapt to change to be faster than its competitors. In this context XYZ needs to “chart” its way to achieve the goal of becoming a learning organization, it must visualize this. It must become more opened minded to the possibilities and remove all barriers to change otherwise no advancement will be realized and the company suffers.