Microsoft as a Learning Org LO9872

Keith Cowan (72212.51@CompuServe.COM)
10 Sep 96 13:07:26 EDT

Replying to LO9799 --

Elizabeth Reed-Torrence <>
> I do not mean to take us off topic but to use Microsoft as an example of
>an LO when what I see and read about MS is arrogance, pure arrogance...
>gives me pause.

The external perspective of an organization that wants 100% market share
and aggressively pursues that goal does not necessarily mean they are not
an LO. Although arrogance is bad because it gets in the way of listening
and learning, Microsoft learns from the actions of its competitors whereas
lots of companies DO NOT.

I use OS/2 personally and I love it. But I see IBM (the underdog) losing
in the marketplace, and I am pretty sure that I will be forced to move to
NT release 4 or later if MS continues its success. I do not like this
prospect personally. I also see signs of arrogance that will eventually
erode the learning taking place at the lower levels in the MS
organization. T would not categorize Gates as arrogant yet.

We have seen from Ben's examples that Novell has its warts. Yet Novell is
considered a very successful company and will continue (as long as it can
fend off the attackes by MS) to flourish. They have learned from their
failed attempts to diversify with USL and Wordperfect that they need to
"stick to their knitting" in networking.

I recall a number of other organizations that displayed arrogant
behaviour: IBM in the Seventies, DEC in the Eighties, Computer Associates
in the Nineties. Maybe visible external arrogance precedes tough times by
about a decade? I would still consider all three of these organizations as
still displaying LO behaviour.

So LO is not a guarantee of market success just as quality is not! So why
would an organization adopt LO if that is the case? Is LO an internal
efficiency program, an employee satisfaction program? An HR source of



Keith Cowan <72212.51@CompuServe.COM>

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