Why Learning Organisations do not Transform

Deborah Blackman, Steven Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – In this paper it is held that a transformational learning organisation could be clearly distinguished from non-learning organisations. This paper seeks to establish whether or not this is actually the case. Design/methodology/approach – Case studies were developed for two organisations considering themselves to be learning organisations (Company 2 and Company 4) and two that did not (Company 1 and Company 3). To establish the balance of the learning behaviours within the firms according to Shivistrava’s typology, a questionnaire was used to elicit information about learning behaviours and activities, and general understanding about what such terms as knowledge, information and learning meant to individuals within the firms. Findings – The results of applying the Shrivastava model showed that most knowledge is action-oriented and incrementally developed, in that it is developed in order to achieve a certain goal. Certain events will lead to a perceived need for certain behaviours and the organisational procedures and policies will encourage actions. Originality/value – Shrivastava’s typology outlines four perspectives of organisational learning: adaptation, developing knowledge of action-outcome relationships, assumption sharing, and institutionalised experience. These definitions imply that they will reflect different knowledge bases
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-56
Number of pages15
JournalLearning Organization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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