Implementing Local Learning
Secondly, this model posits that African leaders who make learning a priority within their own communities by training and developing people are more likely to engage in sustainable practices. Learning, as suggested by Arguello,56 is as follows: a process that brings together cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences and experiences for acquiring, enhancing, or making changes in one’s knowledge, skills, and worldviews.57 Arguello’s case study suggests fostering indigenous African learning could help restore a worn spiritual, social, and economic fabric caused by the roots of dependency. Arguello presents data that indicate that when African leaders assume psychological ownership in the process of self-reliance, and consecutively teach their communities about sustainability, their followers are more likely to embrace sustainability and decrease dependence upon foreign aid and models.58 Responses included:
For the [community] to be successful in self-reliance, the first thing it must do is develop the people.
Development should be in proportion to the development of the people.
When we develop the people, we develop the [community] to become self-reliant.
There should be no gap between the development of the [community] and the development of its member.59
Arguello discovered correlation between resourcefulness, as defined as “gathering the internal and external resources requisite for a learning endeavor,”60 and the practice of sustainability. Most commonly, leaders reflected an aspect of resourcefulness by prioritizing learning about sustainability over other activities.61
Numerous organizational researchers discuss the connection between leadership and learning.62 Vaill63 argues that “leadership itself is primarily learning”.64 Considering the construct of transformational learning, Merriam and Caffarella65 explain that, “ Tranformational learning theory is about change—dramatic, fundamental change in the way we see ourselves and the world in which we live.”66 Thus, creating opportunities for facilitating the learning process could lead toward the increased ability to facilitate sustainable practices that benefit the group beyond individual goals. Senge et al.67 argue that the development of an organizational learning culture is necessary to foster a culture of sustainability suggesting that sustainability may be more of a journey than a destination.
Our research has shown that for those business corporations that make the commitment to sustainable development, the understanding and practice of the organizational learning disciplines will be the indispensable prerequisites of a successful transformation to sustainability.68