The “learning organization” is not an end in itself, but a route to improved performance, productivity and profit. Successful learning organizations can learn progressively and institutionally, and are able to avoid sudden and massive restructuring. Despite the confident rhetoric, it is extremely difficult in practice to measure how effective learning organizations actually are at achieving these claimed advantages. One major company identified as a learning organization is the global oil firm Royal Dutch Shell (RDS). Dutch author Arie de Geus was employed by the company for 38 years and argues that the prosperity of RDS over time could be largely attributed to its “institutional learning” abilities.
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