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Raheela Al Karim Leading Learning organizations

Raheela Al Karim

A learning organization is in a state of constant positive transformation because it facilities the professional growth and knowledge access for its members who, in turn, effect an organizational preparedness and flexibility in response to necessary changes in the internal and external environments. Attention paid to the roles and duties of leader in enabling the learning process reveals something priceless: the identification of opportunities for growth and barriers to advancement impacts operations almost entirely depending on the quality of leadership in the entity (Dragomir, 2017). In my roles as a leader, I have come to understand that at individual, departmental, and organizational levels, learning in a firm is hugely based on the manner in which I conceptualize erudition and transform learning practices, tools, and culture into meaningful milestones for the organization. However, I understand that learning is not always friendly to my role as a leader, and, while there are many opportunities for growth in learning, hindrances also exist; it is my duty to capitalize on these opportunities and overcome the hurdles in order to progress both my organization and myself.

Opportunities for Growth from Organizational Learning

There are innumerable benefits that accrue to organizational learning for both the leader and the organization. These advantages are realized at individual, professional, and firm levels. It is necessary to emphasize that enlightenment in an institution should be conceptualized at these three classification as well.

At the Individual Level

At the individual level, learning in an organization is largely an attempt by me as the leader to find my voices and help others to find theirs. This is to say that edification at this grouping is a process of understanding myself as part of an organization, showing my growth, and helping those under me to express theirs as well. Perhaps, this view is what makes it necessary to quote Lazar and Robu, (2015), who describes the ultimate goal of organizational learning as being the improvement of individual efficiency:

The statement above reveals that opportunities for growth that come with learning include engagement, commitment, and improved performance. I will realize these advantages as a result of a boosted individual vision for organizational work and purpose, enhanced participation, and so on. Now, the fruits of learning for individual workers are also something that I will take away as my achievement. In addition, improvements in performance of the workers will be used as an index for me to understand how much I have grown from an instance of learning. As a result, it is incumbent upon me to see to it that the above merits of organizational learning actually manifest. Failure to do so is justifiably interpreted as a my incapacity to set the learning ball rolling and collect the benefits of this process for the organization (Lazar and Robu, 2015).

At the Professional Level

There is so much at sake for a professional in an organization today, which is why benefits of learning at a professional level are so important for me as a leader. In a world where most economies are knowledge-based, and socio-economic and technological ecosystems are all too dynamic, professionalism is definitely a very volatile aspect of both individual and firm levels operations. Learning is definitely a necessity for me to ameliorate my professionalism because it is the only way to enrich my knowledge as a professional. In the past, individuals and organizations could afford to operate with the same ideologies and quality management models for decades at a time, interspersing these years with only a few minor changes. This is no longer possible because of nerly idealistic interconnectedness between industries and a rapid flow of knowledge due to today’s global information infrastructure (Luhn, 2016). By all means, constant professional evolution is inevitable for survival, leave alone competitiveness.

Singh (2016) maintains that the kicker for learning I an organizational is that the information gained facilities the constant improvement of knowledge and working environment within which a professional endeavor is set. In that regard, professionalism is boosted. Naturally, the fruition of my labor will be higher with more and fresher professional skills, in professionally enhanced environments, and the use of better knowledge and skills is bound to deliver more value for the organization in both the short and long run. The main takeaway from this view is that my professionalism benefits from the sum of the skills that I again in a learning process. This being the case, it can be concluded that for me and my subordinates alike, professional improvement is an intangible and, perhaps, imperceptible (in the short run) benefit for the firm culminating in the overall improvement of organizational performance over the mid-term going forward (Singh, 2016).

At Organizational Level

Reference to the benefits of organizational learning at the firm level has been strongly made in the preceding sections; organizational learning is ideally magnified individual growth. Generally, I have a role to learn and direct every subordinate to do so too, which is what culminates into organizational learning. Certainly, the benefits that I avail to the organization cannot be viewed in the context of individual contribution unless one is looking at a relatively small institution. This is because organizational learning is a complex and continuous operation that should be viewed as a “combined process of internal and external organizational systems alignment, culture of learning, including an emphasis is on exploration and information, open communication, staff empowerment, and support for professional development” (Sing, 2016, p.37). it is clear, therefore, that organizational learning is multifaceted, and I cannot execute it on my own, which is why it must be understood with respect to the entire leadership organ to which I belong. However, individual leadership roles have been delineated above, and it comes out lucidly that, while organizational learning is a process involving many people, my highest duty is to the team directly under me.

The Main Drawback: Possibility of Becoming an Agent of Decline

The many benefits organizational learning many blind one to its challenges and to the fact that it is an intricate procedure with so many potentially disastrous outcomes. Firstly, it has been argued that in large organization, I can be an agent for the compartmentalization of knowledge, much to the suffering of the finn. This perspective is based on the truth that individual learning, which is the foundation of organizational learning, can be very dichotomous, especially in cases where various managers use different leadership approaches for their subordinates. Knowledge may be limited to the groups who need it because of the way it was acquired or its lifespan. Disconnects in knowledge may be limited to the groups who need it because of the way it was acquired or its lifespan. Disconnects in knowledge may then arise in organizations leading to dissonance in growth and operations (Dragomir, 2017).

Depending on what I do as a leader, the organization will grow or decline; my learning decisions, perspectives, and choices must be perfect. Certainly, at both individual and organizational levels, learning is not a spontaneous process. It is the joint result of focus on the goals of the organization, awareness, and observation of changes in the operational environment and calculated responses to observations made and modifications effected by the observations and awareness (Luhn, 2016). Since, as a leader, I exist to make choices for the organizations, it has come to my realization that leadership is the main spark for organizational edification. My perception and comprehension of the entity’s realities and the making of decisions on how to respond these actualities become my company’s and my team’s way of understanding the surroundings. This is the first blessing and curse of organizational learning for me. In acknowledgement of this view, Dragomir (2017) states that:

The most important concept in the above quote is “knowledge economy”. A knowledge economy is an enterprise environment in which the competitiveness of players is heavily dependent on their knowledge ability of the domain in within which they are operating, that is, their ability to access sufficient quantities of quality information (dragomir, 2017).

Now, if I happen to  misperceive information and knowledge in my capacity as a leader, the whole organization my suffer, and, if the definition of a ‘learning organization’ in the introductory paragraph above is anything to go by, it should be clear that organizational learning is heavily dependent on my ability to steer my subordinates in the right direction insofar as this learning is concerned . Hence, the first challenge that organizational erudition presents me with is the possibility of me being a threat to the growth and even survival of the organization. Any errors on my part as a leader are compounded by the fact that people follow my lead. If I make a wrong choice for a given set of learning options, several dozen employees are likely to make the same mistakes, it is replicated many times.

Up to this point, it is important to admit that being wary of how I influence organizational learning may actually bar my own growth and that of the organization. Being cautions may inspire a fear of risk-taking and exploration in me. Since these two (among other attributes) are necessary for successful organizational learning, the decisions I make in this state of caution may cripple the institution’s growth by limiting the extent to which my juniors explore and gather useful knowledge. In this regard, learning becomes a factor for both my growth and that of the organization  and also pose as a risk for organizational and personal development. It then becomes a matter of how I perceive and execute learning aspects in my position as a leader.

But the same token, lack of comprehensive research and knowledge on my part before leading a learning process can result in unexpected and adverse effects. Luhn (2016) argues that learning can be the result of pressure to change action routes due to competition or need to exceed expectations. As a result, if I am not well informed, I may lead my organization in copying learning models and applying principles that are not suitable. This makes me a failure at my duty; the cost of my actions to the institution will be much more profound. Therefore, it is important for me to keep it in mind that to know that unless two institutions are perfectly identical in both internal and external environments which can never really be the case it is never wise for me to duplicate another company’s learning process.

It is with regard to the above views that scholars maintain that “good organization cannot arise through imitation” (luhn, 2016, p. 11). By virtue of these facts, I have the role to steer organizational learning along very specific or I become a risk to the company. Learning is a process that will always be tailored to the organization’s characteristics. To that effect, inability to accurately factor in these characteristics is the ultimate recipe for failure in organizational learning.

In closing, organizational learning is process that holds so much promise for any institution that chooses to use it. However, as leader, my biggest responsibility is ensuring that it must be applied correctly. Looking at the nature, capabilities,  and abilities of the organization before setting a learning model and activities in place is all dependent on my capacity as the leader to understand the organization and stay perspective to the nature and probable changes in the internal and, more importantly, external changes in the entrepreneurial environment.