Chapter 1: Introduction
The aim of the study is to discover if the integrated service I work for demonstrates the principles, if any, of a learning organisation. I will begin this with a literature review and identify those key elements, which many key thinkers and contributors have written about, that distinguish a learning organisation. The literature review will also help me understand and develop my knowledge on what a learning organisation is, as at this point I have very little understanding of the concept of what a learning organisation is or consists of. I will seek to find out what the characteristics and principles are of a learning organisation and assess through my own thought process and reflection whether I feel the concept of a learning organisation is viable and can be implemented in my place of work.
Furthermore, during this study I will collate my evidence in terms to inform my research by asking colleagues I work with to complete a questionnaire relevant to the principles and characteristics of a learning organisation. I will assess and critically analyse this feedback and provide valid evidence to identify whether individuals feel the work in learning culture based on the principles and characteristics discovered in the literature review. Finally, I will reflect and conclude my findings based on both the literature review and method of research and assess how this project may benefit both the team I lead and the organisation as a whole.
I work for a relatively small Integrated Service which is part of a Local Authority. Over the last three years many individual services under Local Authority control have been brought together under one umbrella. Each of the services still maintains their individual function and purpose but work closely together. The process over the last three years has been identifying shared targets and how best to share resources and meet the needs of our service users. This has been a process of exploration and experimentation, finding our common ground and ensuring that we do not duplicate our work with the service user. The integrated service is made up of three teams al based at the same premises with three line managers for each, this excludes the admin team. Extended onto our Service are other satellite teams closely related but with very different and specific roles, these are not based in the same premises. These satellite teams sometimes have an overlap into some of the work our teams are involved with, but this is only within a very narrow margin of our work. Three of the four managers who meet regularly to discuss casework, service planning and staffing issues and working to continue to integrate an effective service.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
This paper intends to explore whether the integrated service I work in demonstrates the principles and characteristics of a learning organisation. Therefore, based on comprehensive review of literature, it is necessary to illustrate the following components of a learning organisation (L O):
• Definitions form key contributors
• Kerka’s six characteristics
• Senge’s five disciplines
• Systems theory/Systemic thinking
• Double and single loop learning
There is much debate on what constitutes a learning organisation with several key thinkers such as Schon, Senge, Kerka among others producing literature and contributions to the subject. There appears to be no single consensus on the definition of a learning organisation, however, there appears with each definition many shared ideals and values and also some areas of contrast.
The following are three definitions of a learning organisation from key contributors to the subject:
Senge defines a learning organisation as follows:
Learning organisations are organisations where people continually expand their capacity to create the result they truly desire,