A Learning-Based Approach to Organizational Change: Five Case Studies of Guided Change Initiatives Essay

Words: 9420
Pages: 38


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Five successful examples of a learning-based approach to organizational change were studied in order to identify some key success factors. All five change initiatives, in major manufacturing corporations, were guided and supported through the MIT Center for Organizational Learning . Following the change there were dramatic improvements in business results . This article examines several factors that made these change initiatives successful.
One central finding is that the goals for a successful learning-based change initiative are typically formulated in a way that combines two crucial elements: 1) meeting a
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In the last two paragraphs we summarized some key features of a learning organization, what such a workplace looks and feels like. In most of this article we shall focus on the change process: how to become more like a learning organization. It involves difficult changes for the leaders and for all members of the organization. We will present five successful examples of transformation that all used a learning-based approach to guiding their change process towards the ideal of the learning organization.
One of the first steps in the transformation is for members of the organization to begin to change how they think about organizations, for those mental images affect how people act at work and that is what needs to change. For well over a century mechanistic metaphors, images, and models have dominated most people's thinking about organizations of all kinds. Metaphorically, the learning based approach sees the process of managing organizational change as more like that of raising healthy plants or children, as opposed to the mechanistic metaphor which sees it as more like adding a turbocharger to the automobile that does not move fast enough or making some other change to a helpless machine on a workbench. Learning-based approaches to organizational change, however, see organizations as living systems with people in essential roles. People can think for themselves and often resist those who try to change them. We will never reach the goal of