LO Textbook LO11550

Robert Ingram (ingram_b@ix.netcom.com)
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 20:20:54 -0800

Replying to LO11538 --

Rick asked me to elaborate on "The Global Learning Organization" by
Marquardt and Reynolds. Let me quote from the book jacket and add my own
comments along the way. (This posting is rather long.)

"As companies prepare to compete globally, the critical importance of
organizationwide learning has never been more clear. In a global market,
being able to learn faster than the competition may be the only
sustainable advantage. "The Global Learning Organization" describes how
organizations, and individuals within these organizations, can redirect
energies to become a learning organization in the global context. First,
you'll discover the critical importance of learning organizations, key
elements of companywide learning, and a model for global learning. Next,
16 case studies of the best learning organizations from around the world
including GE, Honda, Motorola, Samsung, and Xerox, are highlighted. The
final chapters identify key learnings and future directions in areas of
globalization and learning organizations.

"'The Global Learning Organization' includes:
A dynamic model that presents the elements of a global learning
Actual programs and systems of the top corporations around the world
to provide you with the best practices and applications for global
The steps needed to become a successful global learning organization
and to use learning as a competitive advantage.
A comprehensive collection of readings and resources that cover the
latest research, trends, and terminology in the fields of globalization
and learning.

"This global learning guide also contains a useful strength chart that
lists the strengths of the companies mentioned in the book and enables you
to benchmark your company against the best. A great summary of the basics
and much more, 'The Global Learning Organization' offers you everything
you need to start a global learning program."

INGRAM: The model presented in the book consists of three concentric
circles. The inner circle represents individual learning and group
learning. The middle circle represents organizational learning and
includes appropriate structures, corporate learning culture,
empowerment, environmental scanning, knowledge creation and transfer,
learning technology, quality, strategy, supportive atmosphere, teamwork
and networking, and vision. The outer circle represents global learning
and includes acculturation, borders, globalization, language,
leadership, and workforce diversity.

When I worked in Korea, I constantly heard politicians and corporate
executives talk about globalization, but, in my opinion, most of these
people had no idea what "globalization" means. To them, it simply meant
that Korean businesses would begin to expand their markets overseas. To
me, globalization involves a totally different mindset. For Koreans, in
particular, it means a significant change in management, including
reducing organizational hierarchy and protocol and pushing decision
making down to the front line.

I found Marquardt and Reynolds' discussion of "new global roles
(teacher, facilitator and co-learner; architect and designer;
coordinator; coach and motivator)" and "new global skills (building
shared vision, surfacing and testing mental models, and systems
thinking)" very useful in this context. I also liked their "Steps to
Creating a Global Learning Organization:"
1. Transform the individual and organizational images of learning
2. Create knowledge-based partnerships
3. Develop and expand team learning activities
4. Change the role of managers ("Managers in a learning organization
should have but one aim: pursuing improved performance by fostering
long-term learning and continuous improvement.")
5. Encourage experiments and risk-taking
6. Create structures, systems, and time to extract learning
7. Build opportunities and mechanisms to disseminate learning
8. Empower people
9. Push information throughout the organization and to external
associates (customers, vendors, suppliers, etc.)
10. Develop the discipline of systems thinking
11. Create a culture of continuous improvement
12. Develop a powerful vision for organization excellence and individual
13. Root out bureaucracy.

Readers will find strong influences from Peter Senge in this book.

Robert Ingram
Ingram Communications


Robert Ingram <ingram_b@ix.netcom.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>