Organisational Learning/Learning Organisation
Organisational learning/learning organisation is a theory built on the premise that organisations learn just as individuals do, and it describes the continuous activities organisations undertake in response to the environment to gain knowledge, habits and values. At its root/foundation is a perspective that promotes learning for all individuals, at all levels in an organisation, and considers the skills and knowledge that such individuals possess to be an organisation’s intangible assets.
Figure 3.11 Impacts of the organisational learning/learning organisation.
Argyris and Schon (1978) proposed this theory of organisational learning/learning organisation. Senge (1990), who was greatly influenced by Argyris and Schon, wrote the book, The Fifth Discipline, which included the following disciplines: ‘shared vision’, ‘personal mastery’, ‘mental models’, ‘team learning’ and ‘systems thinking’. These concepts continue to have a major impact on businesses today.
Fig. 3.11 shows that research on organisational learning/learning organisation began around the 1990s after Senge published The Fifth Discipline. The amount of literature concerning The Fifth Discipline followed an upward trend, then began to fall by 2014. The data suggests that this may be because interest in The Fifth Discipline tends to fluctuate over time, and after 2006, once the second edition of The Fifth Discipline was published, librarians again began to refer to the theory. Due to the author’s popularity, librarians were influenced by the learning organisation model throughout the 1990s and 2000s, before it gradually decreased in popularity in the mid 2010s.
Moreover, the concept of the organisational learning theory significantly resembles librarians’ traditional approach to learning. This similarity makes it easier for librarians to understand organisational learning and to utilise and apply it to library organisations. In addition, from the following section of highlighted case studies, it is possible to see that it has had a good effect and influence on library organisations.