SHAPING LEARNING ORGANISATIONS
How Types of Organisational Cultures
Contribute in Shaping Learning Organisations
Hasan Danaee Fard
Ali Asghar Anvary Rostamy
Tarbiat Modares University
The main purpose of this empirical study is to examine the relationship between four types of organisational cultures and the shaping learning organisation. In this study, we have selected two groups of public organisations (more successful and less successful public organisations). The sample of this study comprises senior employees of these two groups. Results of Spearman Rank Correlation and Fridman tests reveal that there is a significant correlation between organisational cultures and learning organisations in Iranian public organisations. In addition, we found that although participative culture has a higher correlation coefficient, but learning culture has the highest ranking among different types of cultures.
Key Words: Learning organisation theory, Learning public organisations, Organisational culture, Bureaucratic culture, Competitive culture, Participative culture, Learning culture
his article investigates how types of organisational cultures con tribute in shaping learning organisation in the public service system. Organisational culture has been defined from various perspectives (Carroll and Nafukho, 2006; Popper and Lipshitz, 1995; Shien, 1990; Alvesson, 2002; Cook and Yanow, 1993; Adler and Jelinek, 1996; Argris, 1999). For example, according to Marguardt (2002), culture is “an organisation’s values, beliefs, practices, rituals and customs”. The culture of a learning organisation habitually learns and works to integrate processes in all organisation functions. In effect, the learning organisation’s culture is constantly evolving and travels along an infinite continuum in a harmonious learning environment. Ultimately, the goal is an exchange of useful knowledge leading to innovation, and improved learning public organisations.
All organisations, including public organisations, must be adaptive in a rapidly changing environment, if they wish to continue their businesses 49
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The key to the survival of organisations is learning, not individual learning itself, but emerging learning in the organisation. Organisation learning is different from learning organisation (Örtenbland, 2001; Dodgson, 1993; Kim, 1993; Shrivastva, 1983; Gardiner and Whiting, 1997; Dymock and McCarty, 2006). Thus, researchers have focused on applicability of learning organisation theory in practice. Many researchers study its application in private organisations and the factors for promoting it (Dymock and McCarty, 2006; Chang and Lee, 2007; Chouek and Armstrong, 1998; Savalainen, 2000; Huber, 1991; Jacobs, 1995) but few studies have been conducted about how public organisations can become learning organisations. Accordingly, most of the researchers believe that learning increases the performance of organisations.
Some studies have looked at performance and sustained competitiveness (Lo’Pez et al, 2006). Coutu (2002) stated: “We don’t know a lot about organisational learning. Sure, we know how to improve the learning of an individual or small team, but we don’t know how to systematically intervene in culture to create transformational learning across the organisation”. This statement supports the need to continue the study of culture as a variable that facilitates and support the shaping of learning organisations. Previous researchers (for example, Carroll and Nafukho, 2006; Popper and Lipshitz, 1995; Aksu and Ozdemir, 2005; Dension and Mishra, 1995; Chang and Lee, 2007) have studied about culture, but not various cultures and effects on promoting performance.
In Iran, the performance of public service organisations is low. We think that one of the most important reasons for this is that the Iranian public service organisations suffer from lack of a...
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