Re: Why a Learning Org? LO2971

Thomas Bertels (
Thu, 28 Sep 1995 16:10:59 +0100

Replying to LO2926 --

>Why a Learning Organization?
>.. to achieve competitive advantage. This is usually the answer that
>businesses understand. We know that in order to learn, information and
>knowledge have to be available... However, competitive advantage at the
>individual level is based on "know-how", that is "knowledge is power". So
>my question is:
>How do you create an organization that is willing to share if most of the
>people in the organization are willing to learn, but not too many are
>motivated to teach or share?

Reply to Bianca:

The question to be raised is: Is there any advantage to be gained by
interacting and exchanging knowledge? If there is one, how can this be
communicated so that people see the potential which lies in sharing?

As we live within the world theoretically created by F. Taylor all our
existence in organizations is based on the fact that there are challenges
which the single individual cannot react to. If you want to build a house
you need co-workers. There are so many examples where you can display to
people that communication can help them to make their life's easier, that
it mis more stisfactory to see the whole picture. Methods I work with are
simulations and corporate games, mindmapping etc. The critical issue is to
show people the personal costs if they do not exchange information. This
task is even more critical in Germany as here there is no
Networking-culture as in the US. If people see the hidden costs of
information keeping there usually is a high willingness to exchange. This
process, once initiated, must be watched carefully and there have to be
some build-in tasks where both sides get relevant results from information
exchange otherwise people get back to the old practice of "I know but I do
not tell".

Looking forward for your comments.

Best regards,

-- (Thomas Bertels)