Organisational Learning Critique of organisational learning theories
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Organisational Learning Critique of organisational learning theories


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This assessment is designed to help you engage with organisational learning theory and examine how it applies to your own professional practice. You will be using content from our block classes, subject readings, your own literature search, and your own professional experiences to complete the assessment.

You need to write an essay which critically examines the main theories/approaches to organisational learning discussed in class supported by the literature. We have covered a number of broad theoretical developments in class but, in the interests of narrowing down your choices, I would recommend focusing on one 'original' theory of organisational learning (e.g. Argyris and Schon), the learning organisation (using readings such as Senge, Ortenblad, Santa), and one 'contemporary' approach to organisational learning such as complexity or practice approaches which we will be discussing in Block 2. This should give you enough content to make some interesting comparisons within the word limit. I do not expect detailed explanations of each approach. You should instead focus your energy on critically evaluating the approaches, their usefulness and limitations in understanding organisational learning.

In addition, you need to discuss the role of contextual factors such as gender, power, and culture and how they influence approaches to organisational learning. Your essay should conclude with an example from your own professional practice to illustrate your arguments. Your essay should demonstrate your understanding of OL theory and your capacity to adopt a critical perspective.

Your essay should address the following areas:

  1. Critically analyse your selected approaches to organisational learning with reference to the literature from class and from your own research. You should discuss the underlying assumptions of each approach in terms of the assumptions made about knowledge and learning.
  2. Discuss the impact of contextual factors in organisational learning such as power, gender, and culture with reference to the literature
  3. Using the organisational learning approaches discussed earlier, provide an example from your workplace highlighting the contextual factors impacting on organisational learning in your organisation. If you are not currently working you may select an example from elsewhere.


1. Introduction 

In an organisational setting, learning is a process that allows the organisation to improve over time based on knowledge gained and retained. This process of learning through experience and experiment in an organisational environment is called organisational learning. Organisational learning can be gathered by individuals, groups, at organisational level, and inter-organisational cooperation (Ahmad, Sulan, & Rani, 2017). This report discusses an original organisational learning theory side-by-side with a contemporary theory of organisational learning and then evaluates them on the basis of contextual factors like gender, culture, and power. Finally, an example-based assessment is conducted for comparison of the organisational learning theories using a real-world organisation workplace. 


2. A theory-based discussion of organisational learning theories 

In the competitive industries of today, organisations rely a lot on their ability to improve and gain a competitive edge over their rivals in the industry. Achieving this improvement requires businesses to learn from their experience of operating in the industry and documenting the lessons in order to consistent enhance efficiency and effectiveness of business operations. Researchers have been engaged in the task of evaluating organisational learning for many decades now and systemic review of organisational learning first started in 1970s (Örtenblad, Putnam, & Trehan, 2016). It was the period when scholars first started to pay attention to the psychological perspectives of organisational learning and started to establish theories that describe organisational learning. 

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