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Organizational learning of higher education institutions: the case of Estonia

Karen Voolaid (School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia)
Üllas Ehrlich (School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




This paper aims to measure the organizational learning in two of Estonia’s Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and identify connections between the organizational learning and various characteristics of HEI, such as ownership form and market participation rate.


Watkins and Marsick’s learning organization questionnaire, the Dimensions of the Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ), as one of the most popular organizational learning measurement instruments, was taken to measure the organizational learning of HEIs. Employees from a total of two Estonian HEIs, which differ in several characteristics, completed the Watkins and Marsick’s questionnaire. To identify the dependence of organizational learning on two observed HEIs’ characteristics, the ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analysis method was used. The analysis was performed at the DLOQ dimensions level.


The average organizational learning rate of the two universities under study was over average (3.72 on six-point Likert scale) which allows arguing that both observed institutions are learning organizations. The organizational learning rate based on samples of employees from two HEI-s depends on the institution`s market participation on the 90 per cent level in the first dimension, 95 per cent in the second dimension and 90 per cent in the sixth dimension. Correlation between the HEI ownership form and any of the DLOQ dimensions is weak.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on two universities. The sample size is insufficient; therefore, the results cannot be generalized to HEIs as a whole.


The relationship between higher education institutions’ organizational learning and higher education institutions’ characteristics has not been investigated before. The results of this paper allow a better focus on different aspects of organizational learning in HEIs’ development and relate to their specific development needs.



Voolaid, K. and Ehrlich, Ü. (2017), "Organizational learning of higher education institutions: the case of Estonia", The Learning Organization, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 340-354.



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