Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Development and Learning in Organizations, Volume 22, Issue 3.
Sometimes in organizations we can be tempted to skip over the surface of what is really needed from a learning perspective going for the latest fads, ignoring the uncomfortable or rushing to a solution before we’ve really understood the issue. In this edition, we look a little deeper at some aspects of personal and organizational learning.
We start with Ian Cunningham’s “Viewpoint” which challenges the notion that our main priority for learning should be to improve people’s skills, knowledge and competences. He asks us to consider more holistic and less individualistic approaches to learning drawing on some sobering cases from the UK to make his point.
The issue of mental health is explored in Harry Gray’s article about the personal and organizational costs of depression. He proposes some practical steps that organizations can take to learn how to deal more effectively with this partially hidden and often ignored issue.
Our next two articles look at learning in the world of the entrepreneur. Firstly, Joseph Santora and James Sarros analyse the rise and fall of a non-profit organization using an organizational life-cycle framework. Complacency, lost drive and a lack of ongoing learning on the part of the founder led to its demise. Graham Pitt on the other hand highlights how an entrepreneur’s initial drive, determination and approach to learning can become a trap and impede the organization’s ongoing success. He offers some practical advice on how to build learning in to a young, fast moving business.
Richard Boateng and Robert Hinson highlight the learning issues we need to address at each of four stages of any information systems development project problem definition, analysis, development and implementation. So often, reflective learning is left solely until the project is over and, as the authors point out, peoples’ recollection of what happened months ago can be very different to how they would have reflected on events at the time.
Building on an article in DLO last year (Volume 21 Number 3), Matthew Pepper and Michael Clements provide a comprehensive overview of the role playing scenarios they have developed to engage their undergraduate students studying supply chain management. For those of us with memories of long and sometimes tedious lectures, this provides a refreshing and energising alternative. And the ideas are just as pertinent for learning initiatives in the organizational world as to the academic sector.
Our review articles begin with a fascinating glimpse into three leadership development approaches entitled “Alternative paths to leadership new models of development”. I’m particularly intrigued by Sony’s use of “talking to water” in their leadership program a controversial activity/experiment popularized by Masaru Emoto. I had a go a few years ago with very interesting results why not try it for yourself?
Corporate social responsibility is running as an increasingly hot topic for many organizations, particularly those operating at a global level. The next article “Becoming an ecologically sustainable organization the importance of learning” gives insights into why some organizations fail to take the need for ecological sustainability seriously and provides a useful checklist of learning tactics that organizational leaders can employ to really get people behind the idea.
“Team based production in the Swedish manufacturing industry creating favourable learning conditions” gives us three case studies from different industrial sectors. From these we can glean best practice ideas on how to ensure developmental learning is a priority when introducing team based production methods.
Our last review article “Training; return on investment, UK Is training worth it?” returns to the thorny issue of how to evaluate the outcomes and results from any learning initiative. This article throws down the gauntlet to the learning profession to evaluate the benefits of any program using the same types of measures as applied to other investment decisions in the business.
Finally, how about getting in touch with ideas and articles of your own? We know there is a wealth of talent in our world-wide readership and we’d love to hear from you.
Anne GimsonStrategic Developments International, UK. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org