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The Role of Learning Organization in Knowledge

The goal of a learning organization is to improve competency diffusion, to enrich them and to capitalize experiences. Chaos arises when the level of learning of the enterprise reaches a point in which it can no longer deal with the changes in the environment it functions in. In this work we shall try to discuss the potential for transformation of organizations, constantly challenged, even in the world of knowledge. Key words: learning organization, active learning, knowledge management, organizational learning

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Conceptual Clarifications The world and enterprises are dealing with management problems against a growth of the amount of knowledge and information, which become out of date in various periods of time, both from a human and technological point of view. These problems have been foreseen since 1978 when C. Argyris and D. Schon came up with the “birth certificate” for the organization of the future (Organizational learning, a theory of action perspective). The second key work is the Peter Senge’s The fifth discipline, which sets the basis for the functional norms of intelligent organizations.

Knowledge management is the process in which the competencies from the competency base of the organization are coordinated and organized. This process involves: grouping knowledge into different types according to certain criteria; storing competencies which has as a purpose efficiently preserving knowledge in the information infrastructure of the organization; classifying the competencies; selecting the most adequate competences; the dissemination of the competencies that is, making them available for the members and the stockholders of the organization.

The process of knowledge management has developed mostly by virtue of the information and communication technology systems. The present forms of the knowledge management focus on processes of explicit knowledge management. A competency represents the ensemble of characteristics that enable a person to achieve a higher performance in a certain domain, a role or a given situation. An approach based on competencies allows the establishment of a competency reference system based on the highest performances.

This scheme guides recruitments, the establishing of a wages policy, applying systems which will allow “performers” to progress, establishing adapted training courses, career management etc. 95 Revista Tinerilor Economiuti Learning refers to the ensemble of efforts that a person makes in order to understand, assimilate and react to elements of the environment. As learning is a social process, people learn everyday at their work. Developing personal and organizational capacities primarily depends on learning.

Learning is not limited to simple knowledge, but also comprises competencies, ideas, beliefs, values, attitudes, habits, feelings, experiences, common conceptions and self-conscience. A learning organization is an organization which facilitates learning for all its members and its own continual transformation, by developing and improving its own practices while conceiving and consciously and constantly applying methods of learning based on its own experience and the experience of other organizations. Its primary goal is to develop a collective intelligence, a key element of durable development.

Knowledge management represents the way to reaching this desideratum (Jean-Yves Prax). The concept of learning organization is in close connection to the concept of organizational change as a means of achieving a dynamic competitive advantage. The fundamental difference is that learning is part of the strategy “oriented to specific resources” and not “oriented to flexible resources”, in which the available resources are turned into unique strategic competencies which cannot be copied by other organizations.

If we refer to organizations and learning we must also mention what Reg Revans called Active Learning, a method used for personal training, training specialists and organizational learning. Grouped in small teams (named active learning groups) people approach important and learn from achievements in order to change things. Active learning includes four elements: the person itself, the active learning group, the respective problems and the measures taken in order to solve the problems which allow learning.

The set of values that organizations work with and which constitutes the subject of learning is a complex one and has determined theoreticians to establish conceptual hierarchies of knowledge. The model of the five levels 15 that we present below reflects the progressive accumulation of the value of the data as they turn into competencies (see figure 1). Therefore, it is obvious that the data are a priori than isolated elements. When elements are placed into context and combined within a structure, the information acquires higher values.

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