Organisation and community LO7181

John Farago (
Sun, 5 May 96 00:00 BST-1

Replying to LO7152 --

I am reluctant to take issue with such eminent authorities as John
Warfield and Sir Geoffrey Vickers, but the perspectives offered in
John's quotations are, to me, too inward looking.

Yes, organisations, institutions, etc. are human communities; but
(except for those that only serve the needs and wants of their members)
I would prefer a definition that focuses on their external purposes.

In the commercial/industrial world the primary purpose is to gain
revenue and profit by satisfying customers. May I suggest:

"Companies are groups of individuals who harness (their own and
others') resources - people, finance, materials, equipment, skills,
knowledge, etc. - in order to produce and deliver goods and services to
customers willing and able to purchase them."

Consequently the organisation's learning needs to focus at least as
much on customers, suppliers and the social, economic and natural
environment in which the organisation operates, as on its own people
and processes. [I have never seen a finer example of this than Boeing's
'Working Together' programme in developing and making the Boeing 777 -
subject of a brilliant TV documentary series produced recently for the
British Channel 4 Broadcasting Company.]

In non-commercial organisations purpose (and learning) should also
focus on the external beneficiaries more than (but not excluding) the
people within the organisation.


John Farago <>

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