Contemporary Issues in HRM - Essay Example

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Executive summary Organizational learning became imperative when competition intensified and profits eroded. Organizational learning was recognized as a method that could change shared understanding and lead to competitive advantage. However, even though benefits to both the organization and the employee have been recognized, there is no widely accepted definition of organizational learning…
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Download file to see previous pages When this happens organizations remain satisfied with single-loop learning or adaptive learning but unless this is supported by double-loop learning or generative learning, no growth can take place. Organizational culture plays a vital role in organization learning towards improvement and growth. Organizations must provide an environment of empowerment, encouragement and flexibility for the individual employee to take risks and be creative. Failures too have to be celebrated. The environment should not stifle the employees. The organizational environment at Starbucks, the specialty coffee retailer, was looked into and it has been found that while they do encourage contributions from their employees, learning is stagnant. The workers are trained for 25 hours once they join but the same procedures and training is imparted. Growth and success of an organization is not measured by low staff turnover or high sales figures. Innovation and creativity ensures a long-term strategy whereas focus on sales is a short-term strategy. While the origin of the company lies in cognitive learning but no further innovation has taken place. The company has not yet been able to find a solution to the single-use paper cups in which coffee is served to those who do not wish to consume coffee in-store. The company has not provided an environment in which employees can find ways to develop a solution. There is reliance on legislation and government support but learning has to come from within. The employees have stock options and which most exercise. Hence, they should also be responsible for finding a solution for the cups. This can come through when the organization engages in double-loop learning and when personal mastery and team work is applied as organizational discipline. Suggestions for improving the organizational learning have been provided. These include training the front-line staff in convincing the customers and making it mandatory for the corporate executives to serve one shift at the counter every now and then. It is expected that these suggestion would bring about a change in the learning environment. When managers started facing competitive pressures and declining productivity, the traditional management practices were threatened. While the situation warranted new strategies and structure, the traditional habits, norms and assumptions became hindering blocks (Senge & Sterman, 1992). Change in strategy must be preceded by change in thinking. Managers and academics then recognized organizational learning as a process that could change shared understandings, and as a key to competitive advantage. Organizational learning can enhance the competencies of both employees and entire organizations. Learning has also been recognized as a route to achieve competitive advantage (Chaston, Badger, Mangles & Sadler-Smith, 2001). This is the reason that there have been contributions on the subject from the perspectives of psychology, management science, strategic management, production management, sociology and cultural anthropology (Chaston, Badger & Sadler-Smith, 1999). However, while all agree that organizational learning is a good thing there is little consensus on what organizational learning really is (Teare & Pantin, 2003). Being a complex concept, there is yet no widely accepted definition of organizational le ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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