Organization of a LO LO7637
Tue, 28 May 1996 14:00:35 +1200

Replying to LO7624 --

I come to this question in a different way to those I have seen so far.

I take it that the notion of organisational learning is to do with how a
complex adaptive system might best function in an environment which is
characterised by rapid and chronic change.

The overall conclusion is that functional adaptation occurs best when:

(a) information flows rapidly through the system to those for whom it is

(b) recipients and users of information are optimally equipped to process
it, intepret it, and derive knowledge from it;

(c) people are able to act on information they have received and knowledge
they have developed with the minimum of impediment.

An organisation is therefore a learning organisation to the extent that
these conditions are met.

The evidence is that in most settings (not all) these conditions are most
likely to be met when work is organised in WELL FUNCTIONING teams and
networks. The evidence is also that where teams and network function
POORLY, the outcomes are likely to be inferior to those obtained in
'traditional' forms of work organisation.

Therefore the 'organisation' of an LO is that form which optimally
produces the conditions required for effective adaptation to occur. The
job of management is:

(a) to provide the information to the system which defines its purpose and
maintains the focus of the system's elements upon that purpose (known as

(b) ascertain the best forms of work organisation required to maximise the
conditions, given the nature of the purpose and the environment in which
the activity is taking place (including evaluating the best technologies
for maximising the appropriate flow of information;

(c) to scan for blocks and impediments to the information flow and to act
to remove them (including the treatment of team based pathogens);

(d) to implement programmes which help personnel to best meet condition
(b) individually and collectively (which also includes the treatment of
team based pathogens which attack healthy learning behaviour);

(e) to scan for external threats to the system which are likely to demand
further adaptation;

(f) otherwise to keep out of the way.


Phillip Capper
Centre for Research on Work, Education and Business
PO Box 2855
New Zealand


Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>