Towards zero management learning organisations

Ted O'Keeffe (Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Publication date: 1 December 2005



This research paper is a distinctive element of an empirical study on learning organisations carried out between 1999 and 2002. It seeks to examine a whole range of issues that seem to permeate higher‐performing organisations.


The study design utilised both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.


The core tenet of learning organisations is an ability to learn continuously while the subject of learning is learning itself. Within effective organisations the learning process is directed not towards procedures, principles or objectives in themselves, but towards understanding per se. This study found that within learning organisations the entire business ecosystem is one huge classroom and the leader who is capable of effectively harnessing the collective ingenuity of his employees will simply blow the competition away.

Research limitations/implications

The research was undertaken in large to very large multinational organisations and may not apply equally to those small to medium enterprises struggling for survival.

Practical implications

One of the outcomes from this research is the development of a new web site that allows individuals, groups or organisations to cost‐effectively identify training and development deficiencies from the comfort of their own office or work stations.


This paper addresses the everyday concerns of companies striving for superior performance and effective utilisation of resources. By comparing a very complex concept like learning organisations with the cross‐functional activity within a beehive, the author hopes to stimulate further debate on the true nature of leadership within high‐performing organisations.



O'Keeffe, T. (2005), "Towards zero management learning organisations", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 29 No. 9, pp. 764-778.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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