Measuring Learning Externally LO6637

Peter H. Jones (
Fri, 12 Apr 1996 21:17:19 +1200

Replying to LO6369 --

Replying to Brian's
>For my research (PhD), I am keen to understand what qualities a
>Learning Organisation exhibits to the outside world and whether these
>can be measured and compared with other non-learning companies. My
>only idea to date, is to take an industry and a well-publicised
>discontinuity and to analyse how quickly and how well companies have
>either anticipated or responded to the event.
>Second, it would seem to be accepted that individuals and indeed the
>organisation can make mistakes in the *short-term* in order to achieve
>real and sustainable competitive advantage in the *longer-term*. My
>question is, over what period of time should a Learning Organisation
>be judged? If it is too long then shareholders will perhaps switch to
>another company's stock/shares.

My initial reaction to this was it can't be done. Simply meaning that
such measurements must be relative and that tells you nothing useful
really. But then I started to think about how some organisations I've
worked with have adapted more quickly than others to Health & Safety
Legislation changes. In one case in particular after a serious accident
and consequental court case. And a metaphor came to mind that I'd like to
share - sorry about that!

But let's suppose there are two dogs. And doggy one, while growing up,
bites a child. This leads (excuse the pun) to swift kick in the rear from
doggy one's owner. And doggy one never bites another child in its life.
Doggy one is a fast learner folks!

Meanwhile, doggy two next door occassionally growls at children all
through its life, but never actually bites any. And probably, later in
life, gets a reputation for being a grumpy old dog (relatively).

I'll leave you to decide which dog you would rather own. I'm going for a


Peter H. Jones - Peopletronics, PO Box 30 451, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.
Tel/Fax 64 4 569 8875. Home Page

-- (Peter H. Jones)

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