Facilitating a learning organization : the case of a small consulting firm

Nthurubele, Abraham Tshosane (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2011-03)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The thesis offers an integration of theories of Organizational Learning and a specific framework regarding the dimensions of Learning Organizations. In a case study the extent to which a small consultancy firm display the characteristics of a learning organization is investigated and used as a basis to reflect up the challenges faced by similar organizations trying to increasingly become Learning Organizations. At first various theories of Organizational Learning are reviewed and thereafter the notion of a Learning Organization is unpacked along seven dimensions. The description of management practices for facilitating a Learning Organization and theories about Organizational Learning are then brought together in the form of steps an organization could follow. In the case study a questionnaire based on Watkins and Marsick’s “Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire” is administered in the organization and the findings discussed against the background of the preceding literature review. The relationship between organizational learning and organizational culture, as well as the relationship between leadership and learning processes, and the impact of systemic exploitation of knowledge assets on organizational efficiency and effectiveness are examined. From the results it is clear that the organization cannot yet lay claim to being a learning organization, yet it displayed some characteristics of a learning organization. Leadership and connecting the organization to its environment were the areas where the company showed most development. However, empowering people toward a collective vision was the least developed area in the organization due to the perception of lack of freedom to choose one’s work assignment and the invitation to contribute to the organization’s vision.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die tesis bied ‘n integrasie van die teorieë oor Organisatoriese Leer en `n spesifieke raamwerk oor die dimensies van Lerende Organisasies. In `n gevallestudie word die mate waartoe ‘n klein konsultasie firma die eienskappe van ‘n Lerende Organisasie vertoon ondersoek en gereflekteer op die uitdagings wat soortgelyke organisasies moet oorkom om hulself toenemend in Lerende Organisasies te omwentel. Dit word gedoen deur ‘n oorsig van verskillende teorieë van Organisatoriese Leer en daarna word die idee van ‘n Lerende Organisasie uitgepak in sewe dimensies. Die beskrywing van bestuurspraktyke rondom Lerende Organisasies en die toerie van Organisatoriese Leer word dan geintegreer in die vorm van `n stappe wat ‘n organisasie sou kon volg. Hierop volg die gevallestudie waarin ‘n vraelys (Watkins en Marsick se “Dimensies van ‘n Lerende Organisasie Vraelys”) gebaseer op die sewe dimensies van die Lerende Organisasie onder bestuurders in die organisasie versprei is. Die resultate van die vraelys word bespreek teen die agtergrond van die voorafgaande literatuur-oorsig. Die verhoudinge tussen organisatoriese leer en organisasie kultuur, sowel as tussen leierskap en leerprosesse, en die impak van die sistemiese ontginning van kennis-bates op organisatoriese effektiwiteit word ondersoek. Uit die resultate is did duidelik dat die organisasie nog nie werklik ‘n Lerende Organisasie is nie, maar dit vertoon wel eienskappe wat eie is aan Lerende Organisasies. Leierskap en die koppeling van die organisasie aan sy omgewing is die areas waar die organisasie die meeste ontwikkeling getoon het, terwyl die bemagtiging van mense om ‘n bydrae te lewer tot die kollektiewe visie van die organisasie die minste ontwikkelde area was as gevolg van die indruk onder lede dat hulle min vryheid het om hulle take te kies en die gebrek aan ‘n uitnodiging om deel te neem.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6555
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