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A Research of the Classification and Application on Learning Organization

Author: LaiDongYan
Tutor: ZhouDianKun;LiPeiQi
School: Southwestern University of Finance and Economics
Course: Business management
Keywords: organizational learning knowledge management system contingency theory single loop learning double loop learning
CLC: F272
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2009
Downloads: 1697
Quote: 2
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Abstract


Peter Drucker (1993), a master of management, expressed that“in the world of fervid challenges and rapid changes, only the learning organization can survive and develop”. Continuous learning is the key point of industrial management; only the industry transforming into the learning organization can maintain sustainable management. While the industry confronts the circumstances of the rapid changes in the exterior world and the shortening of the products’life span, the industry has gradually involved in the organizational learning, revolution and innovation. Thus, to impel the learning organization becomes the managerial value in rejuvenating and reforming the organization.Even though people pay quite a high regard on the learning organization which has fashioned an irresistibly managerial trend, this way of management so far has situated in the primordial phase. To explore its reason is because the learning organization interconnects with abstract and inscrutable learning phenomenon, and with the complex behavior and interactive relationships among the multi-systems inside the organization. Therefore, scholars seldom propose the study of establishing the model of learning organization. Even if they did propose one, their established model of learning organization is unable to be applied unanimously on the organization with various backgrounds. Their model only possesses a theoretical function without practical values.So far as the practitioners are concerned, the learning organization merely is an image of ideal type without unifying definition. According to the literature reviews, this method only remains on the conception level with little reach on a concrete and technical level. For the practitioners, it is hard to be applied on the practical situations. Insomuch, the scholars who are able to propose its categorical model for structuring the learning organization in strategy are only a few. Inducing from the literature reviews of this research area, apparently there are still having deficiencies as follows:A. No integrated categorical structure: viewing over the literature reviews, the categorical standards and types applied by scholars are quite different from one another. The majority of them overall describe the spirit, behaviors and nuclear factors which the learning organization should possess. However, their discussions are inclined to being widespread and abstract; this situation renders the managers of different organizational types lose their orientation.B. Lack of contingency theory for making category choice in the learning organization: the learning organization type can not apply to the organizations with different situational backgrounds. It cannot adjust itself and provide various strategies based on the differences among different types of organizations with diverse interior environments. Contemporary the scholars have not yet offered advices or contributed to the decision makers how to respond to the contingency theory of the learning organization.C. No standardized strategic model in the practical application: all the models proposed by the scholars only submit the theoretical function without the practical value. It is difficult to implement this theory for the practitioners.Aiming at the deficiencies mentioned above and based on the harbingers’researches, I intend to analyze the contingent factors in the categorization and choice making according to the learning organization theory and its contingency theory. Moreover, I will describe in detail the characteristics of each category and intensify its practical application based on the model of systematic learning organization proposed by Marquardt (1996).As to the distinct goals and traits each industry has, it is essential to draw up its structural design and evaluating principles in order to estimate its effect of implementation. Thus, the main contribution and innovation of my thesis lie at:A. From the viewpoint of high-level strategy, it is important to categorize the learning organization and build up an integrated categorizing standard of learning organization. Via the definition and characteristic induction and the model of systematic learning organization proposed by Marquardt, we can generalize two important factors; that is,“the organizational learning”and“knowledge management system.”By means of the application of information technology in order to strengthening its learning ability, the organization is able to intensify the mind-set model of the employees’learning.B. With regard to the learning categorization, I will divide the models into“single loop learning”and“double loop learning.”Furthermore, I will define their distinctions which might determine if the decision making is based on the systematic single loop learning, or instinctive and complicated double loop learning. If it is the outcome of investigating the organizational actions, this kind of learning activity is called the single loop learning which is made to adjust the cognition toward the organizational strategy and assumption. It helps the organizational performance correspond with originally established regulations. If it has to detect and correct the mistakes buried in the deeper level of organizational regulations because of the environmental changes, the learning activity is called the double loop learning. It helps the organization successfully increase the ability in learning and innovation; moreover, it conspicuously improves the organizational efficiency.Regarding the systematic strategy of knowledge management, I will rely on its categorizing orientation and divide it into two dimensions; that is, systematic type and individual type. The designing focus of the former relies on its informational function which emphasizes the efficiency on information / knowledge searching, transmittance and allotment. What it deals with in large is the explicit knowledge of categorizing system through its full-scale application of information technology in order to sponsor men’s communication toward documents. The latter put the emphasis on its social function and the interpersonal interaction and dialogue for the sake of sharing and dispreading individual knowledge. What it deals with in large belongs to the tacit knowledge which requires the procedure of interpretation. By this person-to-person communicating mechanism, the members can interchange their viewpoints, opinions and information knowledge for achieving the objective of the organizational learning.We can divide and rename the learning organization into four types: database, analyzer, professional and entrepreneur according to the two categorizing factors mentioned above. In so doing, each industry can mold its learning organization based on its distinctive type. C. On the basis of contingency theory, I plan to explore how different factors affect our decisions on deciding different types of learning organization as to elevate its efficiency. To generalize out of the related literature reviews the main factors which affect our choice making among learning organization models, I sift out of the following elements: organizational structure, working procedure, knowledge type and knowledge level. My research finds out that organizational structure and working procedure mainly affect the choice making of organizational learning types. Moreover, knowledge type and knowledge level are the important factors in affecting the constitution of knowledge management system strategy. I conclude as follows:i. If the organizational structure is inclined to bureaucracy organization, its organizational learning strategy has the tendency toward the single loop learning. If it is inclined to flat organization, it emphasizes more on the double loop learning.ii. If the organizational individual focuses more on the working procedure, the organizational learning strategy stresses on the single loop learning. While the working procedure matters less, the organizational learning strategy stresses more on the double loop learning.iii. If the organizational knowledge is inclined to the explicit knowledge, its knowledge management strategy emphasizes more on systematic model. If it is inclined to the tacit knowledge, its knowledge management strategy stresses more on the individual model.iv. If the organization knowledge disperses into each organizational level, its knowledge management system strategy stresses more on systematic model. If it is inclined to the individual level, its knowledge management system strategy emphasizes more on the individual model. D. Based on Marquardt’s systematic learning organization model, we can categorize into five sub-systems: worker, organization, learning, knowledge and technology (please refer to my dissertation chapter 6 section 1). I intensify the practical application of the model and help the industries with different organizational types constitute its constructing design and the principles of evaluating its performance according to each industry’s goals and organizational traits.In my methodology, I will adapt practical methods to examine each research hypothesis. In the categorization of learning organization types, we have“organizational learning”and“knowledge management system”as our categorizing bases. First, we can proceed on the“factor analysis”toward these two dimensions in order to extract the factors which are needed for the later analysis. Further, we can conduct“cluster analysis”based on the extracted factors to categorize the learning organizations in detail. In order to examine hypothesis of contingent factors, we can use“one-way anova”to test the differences of each contingent factor in different learning organization types.Exploring from the viewpoints of high-layer strategic level, I intend to categorize the learning organization based on the methodology of practical evidence. Constructing an integrated categorizing standard of learning organization, on the basis of contingency theory in order to explore how different contingent factors affect the choice making of learning organization types, my intention is to elevate the efficiency of learning organization. Last but not the least, I offer the detail description on the type differences, intensify the practical application of models, and provide the principles in making construction design of learning organization and evaluating performance according to the goals and organizational traits of the industry with different types. By means of my methodology and research conclusions, I look forward to making contribution toward practitioner and academic fields.

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