MA Thesis - Individual Learning in the Organizational Context
The aim of the paper is to define some fundamental insights into the concept of organizational learning. Our assumption is that most organizations, however keen on working with organizational changes and learning they may be, do not have a clear understanding of how the individuals in the organization through learning contribute to the ongoing development of the organization. Hence the goal of this paper is to provide a framework for both defining and describing individual learning and how to lift it to the organizational level.Using the theories of Peter Senge, David A. Kolb and Henry Mintzberg amongst others, we draw focus on an assumption that in order to fully exploit the human resources available in the organization, it is imperative that the individual understands its part in the overall process.
Basing our approach on socialkonstruktivisme we first discuss how Peter Senge’s learning organization according to our beliefs attempts to build a learning organization without making a thorough introduction and discussion on the very pillar of the concept; learning. In lacking this perspective the learning organization also disregards the importance of the fact that organizations cannot learn, however individuals in the organizations can.After an introduction to cognitive learning as presented by Knud Illeris we turn to the works of David A. Kolb and his learning circle. The aim of this section is to high light the basic ideas revolving the concept of learning, which we later use for reference in discussing the organizational learning.The shift between the individual and organizational levels is done with reference to the section in the paper called the foundation for organizational learning, where we discuss some of the consequences when regarding the organization as a one subject made up of multiple individuals. In doing so we present a tool for bridging the gap between individual and organizational learning using the group as leverage, hereby drawing focus to which measures must be taken into account when trying to develop a truly learning organization.
In the final part we apply the theories presented in the paper on the organization hereby laying the framework for a better understanding of the processes behind the concept of organizational learning..