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Organizational learning in representative Singapore public organizations: A study of its contribution to the understanding of management in Singapore

Roland K. Yeo (College of Industrial Management, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 17 July 2007




The purpose of this paper is to explore several key issues on organizational learning and their contributions to theory, practice and policy in public‐sector management in Singapore. It also aims to determine the crucial factors and strategies in the development of organizational learning initiatives as a means of keeping competitive with the rapid changing business environment.


Four representative Singapore public organizations were chosen for this study. A total of 24 organizational learning practitioners, including senior management and human resources personnel, participated in the in‐depth interviewing.


It was found that Singapore's public sector is more concerned with the cognitive and behavioral development of individuals, rather than financial results.

Research limitations/implications

Although this study is limited by the single geographical context, it offers direction for further research.

Practical implications

Data revealed that: The complexity between different levels of learning can be reduced by understanding specific goals unique to each level; The relationship between learning and performance goes beyond tangible expectations; Reward and recognition is a catalyst for the development of organizational learning; and Dialogue and feedback is crucial to the implementation of organizational learning initiatives.


Organizational learning in the public sector has not been comprehensively explored. This study contributes to a deeper understanding of organizational and management issues that have arisen from the recent public sector reform in Singapore. It offers a spectrum of recommendations in feasible terms for both organizational practitioners and researchers.



Yeo, R.K. (2007), "Organizational learning in representative Singapore public organizations: A study of its contribution to the understanding of management in Singapore", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 345-365.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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