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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > K, L, M > Learning Organization

Learning Organization  

An organization that is characterized by continual improvement through new ideas, knowledge and insights, which it uses to anticipate, innovate and find better ways to fulfill its mission.

(Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)


It is built around people, their knowledge-how and ability to innovate. It is characterized by continual improvement through new ideas, knowledge and insights, which it uses to constantly anticipate, innovate and find new and better ways to fulfill its mission.

Three core dimensions of the learning organization:

1. Individual Dimension: 

Learning organizations have both an environment and leadership that facilitate continuous learning among employees. The workplace is in this respect almost a kind of school: employees pursue learning; managers support their learning; and the organization supports managers in supporting employee learning. The learning organization is a place of continuous learning. Learning becomes a conditioned reflex, a habit.

2. Group Dimension:

Learning organizations look to create a fluid movement of knowledge and experience across the organization. Ideas are viewed as an opportunity to explore, and mistakes as an opportunity to learn. Team discussion is based on a form of open dialogue characterized by a firm respect for diversity of opinion. Team are encouraged to reflect on how they work, not only so that accomplishments can be celebrated but so that needed improvements can be introduced.

3. Organizational Dimension:

Learning organizations connect learning to organizational transformation; that is to say, learning is about developing the organization itself. The learning organization is thus also an instrument of change, possibly profound change. Learning organizations see learning as a driver of productivity and invest in it accordingly.        


Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance