Organisational Learning and Learning Organisations: A Literature Review

Hillary O. Odor, Peter A. Samuel


The survival of any organisation, particularly one that is profit oriented, depends to a large extent, on how well it can accept and adapt to environmental changes, and do better in terms of its operations. This conceptual paper reviewed some extant literatures on organisational learning and learning organisations with a view to answering the following question: First, how do you identify a learning organisation when you see one? Secondly, what is the conceptual difference between organisational learning and learning organisation? Thirdly, what are those impediments that deprive organisation from becoming a learning organisation? Fourthly, what benefits do organisations derive from being a learning organisation?  Furthermore, it attempted to pinpoint some examples of learning organisations in Nigeria and USA. The contributions of the different approaches to the study of organisation learning and learning organisation are analyzed, and some areas are suggested where the transfer of analytical concepts may improve understanding. Accordingly, this paper supports the proposition that organisation learning culture has direct influence on organisational innovativeness, which is directly tied to long-term organisational success. It is recommended, therefore, that any organisation that wants to remain competitive should focus on becoming a learning organisation. The authors further recommends that more empirical research is required in the construct to investigate whether there are indeed organisations that can truly be called learning organisations or the construct is just a misnomer.

Keywords: learning organisation, organisational leaning, knowledge transfer, competitive advantage

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