Identifying the Organizational Learning Issues
Assess the organization’s culture as it relates to shared knowledge, then specify the significant issue(s) that you discovered with the culture. Determine the disconnect you observed between the culture and organizational learning using three (3) of the five (5) mystifications. Support your response with at least one (1) example of each selected mystification within the organization.
Dearborn Electronics, Inc. is a manufacturing facility that specializes in producing electrical capacitors and special electronic filters which are used in various industries including the military. The company has approximately five hundred employees or operators along with management staff and engineers who consist of twenty five individuals. The company contains a diverse selection of workers that come from different cultures and backgrounds including Hispanics, Asians, and Eastern Europeans. The culture of the company lacks several issues which can help the company’s growth and stability. Management is not directly involved with many of these cultural issues and hence it is making it difficult for workers to perform their duties more efficiently. One of these major issues is the new workers’ training program which is basically very limited in the length of time and information. When new workers are hired, there is no specific training program or detailed instructions to follow. New workers would be assigned to stations and have one or more existing workers to show them what to do on daily basis. This process has been used by the company which lack management presence and allow multiple errors to occur during manufacturing processes. On the other hand, new workers with knowledge and long experience become very irritated and upset which drive many of them to leave the company as soon as they have a chance of employment elsewhere. Another issue is existing workers have no continuous training for improvement. Basically, existing workers must learn new methods or processes on their own which cost several manufacturing errors and cost the company a great loss of material. Also, management experience and knowledge in the field is not shared with workers directly throughout training programs or special meetings in order to update them on how things should be accomplished the right way. In addition, workers have no direct connection between them and management so they can share their opinion and display their suggestions to management. Therefore, all decisions are made by management and are not influenced or suggested by workers. This makes shared knowledge impossible and completely place workers in a position that they have no sense of ownership or that they can have an influence on any decision making in the company. Thus, workers make no efforts to provide any suggestions for improvement to the company.
There is an obvious disconnect between the culture and organizational learning at the company when using mystifications. One mystification consists of treating organizations like people. Basically, it was assumed that organizations learn like people learn. This assumption can be noticed at the company’s method of training for its new employees. There is a huge disconnect between management who represent the organization and the workers who are there to perform their duties but lack the training needed to be efficient. The company’s idea for hiring employees and place them at their positions, is to have them pick up their job performance by learning from other employees or read some manuals and instruction booklets thinking this should be enough for them to learn and complete their tasks. “Because training teaches new employees how to meet company expectations and gives existing employees a platform for improving current knowledge, it can provide the company a sense of stability. In the absence of training, employees become unsure of what’s expected of them and may end up doing their work tasks inefficiently.” (Grace, Para. 3, 2014). Another mystification is the visionaries and skeptic which are doubts about the ability of organizations to learn and that this learning is limited unless organizations overcome it through a change in thinking and behavior that is generated by new methods of teaching, consulting, and research. An example of this can be noticed at the company’s ways of conducting its operations throughout the facility were employees lack the training and management involvement while management need to conduct more research on how to treat employees in terms of training, discipline, and policy. The company lack strategy for its operations and doesn’t realize the importance of investing in these major issues in order to succeed in business and secure company growth.
The chic and mystique is a mystification based on that the field of organizational learning has a new term that contains several concepts which include double-loop learning. This concept consists of the rejection or modification of a goal in the presence of experience. “Double loop learning is essentially a form of forced self-examination where you look critically at what you’ve done and your plan for achieving goals.” (Klosowski, Para. 2, 2014). An example of such a mystification at the company can be witnessed whenever Dearborn Electronics pursue a goal. Management doesn’t analyze assumptions regarding a goal in order to determine if the goal is worth pursuing, but rather management continues to peruse a goal despite any analysis of assumptions which leads the company to waste time and raw material. This in return doesn’t help the growth of the company or secure its future in the industry.
Give your opinion on the current Organizational Learning Mechanism(s) (OLMs) that hinder organizational learning. Support your response with one (1) example of training or learning initiative (e.g., sharing knowledge, training programs, working as a team, experiences, procedures, processes, etc.) and the outcome when it was applied to the organization.
The company’s current Organizational Learning Mechanisms are jeopardizing the company from achieving organizational learning. The company has serious problems when it comes to sharing knowledge among workers and also between management and workers. “Knowledge sharing gives staff members the knowledge they need to do their jobs better. This makes them more productive.” (Heskett, Para. 6, 2012). For instance, the company doesn’t emphasize the idea of directly involve itself on leading training or provide direct support to workers on issues regarding improvements and new techniques of solving problems related to manufacturing processes. As a result, it makes workers clueless on the subject unless they take the initiative of asking management about how to improve particular processes or solve a consistent problem related to their duties. Another issue is that most workers are having difficult time working as a team on several projects due to the variation of their experiences and the limited training that the company offers. “Participation in the decision-making process gives each employee the opportunity to voice their opinions, and to share their knowledge with others. While this improves the relationship between manager and employee, it also encourages a strong sense of teamwork among workers.” (Nation, Para. 7, 2014). When workers start working at the company, the company briefly provides them with an overview of their responsibilities and expectations, but they never really receive a proper training. Since the company lack any effective training program for them and doesn’t share knowledge with them, they have no team work skills. Therefore, the Organizational Learning at the company is obstructed and can never be reached due to these issues.
Determine which one (1) of the following OLMs is suitable for replacing the identified OLM(s) that hinder organizational learning as a corrective action to facilitate the transition from individual to organizational learning: Off-line/Internal, On-line/Internal, Off-line/External or On-line/External. Justify your selection.
In order for the company to facilitate the transition from individual to organizational learning, it must replace its current OLMs which consist of its limited training program and knowledge sharing with its workers. This can be achieved by adopting an online/internal OLM which consists on detailed training program that the company would provide workers with to help them accomplish efficient results when performing their duties. Also, another training program would be created for current workers that consists on improving their work and update them with any new methods or techniques which they can use in order to prevent any errors and receive feedback on their performance. This new OLMs would create a positive involvement from management toward workers and create a positive learning experience in the company were management can improve its current methods of manufacturing including processes by listening to workers insight and feedback on issues and problems. At the same time, workers would learn new methods that would help them achieve efficient results by gaining the knowledge and the proper improvement training provided by management.
Evaluate the norms of the organization’s learning culture to determine the source(s) that currently prevent productive learning by applying two (2) of the following norms: inquiry, issue orientation, transparency, integrity or accountability. Provide at least one (1) example of each of the selected norms’ manifestation within the organization in your evaluation.
The norms of the company’s learning culture currently consist of quantity over quality and paternalism. Management cares about how much work employees can produce regardless of the quality of work that has been done. Management cares about pushing out units in order to satisfy customers’ orders and generate sales. This norm must be changed because if the company continues on this path, it will be losing several customers due to the poor quality of its units produced and the high number of returns on these units. Paternalism is also another norm that the company‘s learning culture currently includes. This practice allows those in power such as management to make all decisions for the company including powerless workers and employees. Those in power think that it is neither important nor necessary to consider opinions of those whom they are make decisions. This is why the company is not progressing forward and still provides slow and poor quality work even when workers on the field try to provide feedback on problems associated with production. Management think it is the only entity that can make decisions and that it knows better than workers and employees even if they would provide it with valuable information and feedback. “Paternalistic cultures are characterized by opaque management, closed decision making, and a notable lack of employee development, because loyalty and obedience tend to be more important than performance.” (Spraggins, Para. 8, 2013).
In order to allow productive learning the company should apply integrity and accountability as new norms for the company’s learning culture. The integrity norm would allow management to admit to errors and judgment and become more involved with employees and workers on solving any production errors and improve current methods and operations. This would result in an increase in the company’s productivity and enhance its output. On the other hand, the company should adapt accountability norm for its learning culture where everyone including management is responsible for learning and implementing what is learned in order to achieve efficient results and avoid any further losses. Management and employees at the company would be accountable for their performance and duties and must satisfy their work expectations. Once these norms are applied, the company would increase its quality and its output and achieve productive learning.
Grace, N. (2014, June 5). The Effects of Lack of Employee Training. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/effects-lack-employee-training-42687.html
Klosowski, T. (2014, January 31). Use “Double Loop Learning” to Increase Your Chances of Goal Success. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from http://lifehacker.com/use-double-loop-learning-to-increase-your-chances-of-1513348526
Heskett, J. (2012, July 5). Harvard Business School. Retrieved January 27, 2015, from http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/7034.html
Spraggins, C. (2013, December 13). PayScale and Cloud Compensation Software. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://www.payscale.com/compensation-today/2013/12/is-your-paternalistic-culture-killing-your-business
Nation, C. (2014, August 11). The Advantages of Employee Involvement in Decision Making. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-employee-involvement-decision-making-18264.html