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Learning Organization - Research Paper Example

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the ability to lead, change management and knowledge acquisition. Defined as an organization which promotes a process whereby employees are encouraged to seek knowledge and…
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Learning Organization AFFILIATION: Learning Organization Learning organizations de a representational mix of three essentials of business management i.e. the ability to lead, change management and knowledge acquisition. Defined as an organization which promotes a process whereby employees are encouraged to seek knowledge and contribute to the common objectives of the organization, it allows the company to adjust to the changing external milieu while altering practices that are impeding its progress.
An example of such a learning organization is the Zebra Black and White Film Division by the Kodak Team. In the 1990s the company was suffering from poor coordination amongst other issues (Brickley, Smith & Zimmerman, 2002). Thereby it decided to bring about a change in its working structure so as to make the production processes more efficient and to improve the weak points that were reducing its optimal functionality.
The initial step the company took was to make an analysis of the black and white film department. It made them aware of the practices that were infringing upon the efficiency of the process along with working processes that could be improved to boast productivity. Moreover the evaluation report highlighted the processes which had become outdated over the period of time and required replacement.
After finding out these issues, Kodak formulated a team by the name of Team Zebra, whose function was to make these issues their objectives and devise solutions for them. The prime purpose of the team was to cut down the inefficiencies of work practices and eliminate obsolete processes.
As mentioned previously, learning organizations give companies an insight into the external environment and this is what the Zebra Team intended to do. It studied the environment the company was operating in, making an assessment of the technologies available. From the results, the Team was able to chalk out a plan for introducing best practices which would shorten the production lifecycle, prevent delays in delivering orders and improve the service provided to the customers (Barker & Camarata, 1998).
The plan was essentially focused on a process known as the flow. Each employee of the organization was no longer employed in a conventional department; rather they worked as part of the flow and were called Zebras. They had meetings, in which they were apprised of the finances of the company. Such a measure allowed for the development of a sense of belonging in them (Dennis, Detering, Santos, Leonard & Norman, n.d.).
Moreover, they were divided into different groups which were supervised by a group of managers. It was the job of the team to keep track of the production processes, the aspects of the lifecycle which were not efficient and to measure them against certain benchmarks set for a range of criteria like productivity (McGill & Slocum, 1994).
Another salient feature of the change process was to ensure that the employees provided feedback, oral and written both, regarding the practices being changed or replaced (Dennis, Detering, Santos, Leonard & Norman, n.d.). Over the time, the company was able to improve the quality of the product delivered and significantly increased the percentage of on-time deliveries.
The teams had the authority to direct themselves; although some aspects of the management process such as human resources remained in central command; this decentralization strengthened value (Brickley, Smith & Zimmerman, 2002). Team Zebra was able to introduce a shapeless flexible quality at Kodak which allowed the company to become more profitable (McGill & Slocum, 1994). It was able to bring down its production costs by a staggering $40 million (Brickley, Smith & Zimmerman, 2002).
Reference List
Barker, R., & Camarata, M. (1998). The role of communication in creating and maintaining a learning organization: Preconditions, indicators, and Disciplines. The Journal of Business Communication, 34 (4), 443-467.
Brickley, J. A., Smith, C. W. & Zimmerman, J. L. (2002). Designing Organizations to Create Value: From Structure to Strategy. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Dennis, R. D., Detering, M., Santos, M. D., Leonard, K. & Norman, L. A. (n.d.). Internet Search Road Rally Business Challenge. Retrieved from
McGill, M. E., & Slocum, J. W. (1994). The Smarter Organization: How to Build a Business That Learns and Adapts to Marketplace Needs. John Wiley and Sons. Read More
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