Continuous learning in organizations

a living systems analysis of individual, group, and organization learning

Manuel London, Valerie Sessa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Students of organizations are beginning to recognize the importance of continuous learning in organizations, but to date the concept is not well understood, particularly in terms of how the learning of individuals is related to the learning that takes place in groups, which is related to the learning that occurs in organizations (and all other combinations). To further our understanding, we offer the idea of continuous learning in organizations from a living system's perspective. We view individuals, groups, and organizations as living systems nested in a hierarchy. We propose that living systems can learn in three ways: they can adapt, they can generate, and they can transform. Learning triggers from the environment spark learning, and this relationship is moderated by the system's readiness to learn. Readiness to learn is a function of the permeability of the system's boundaries, the system's stage of development, and the system's meta-systems perspective. Additional research questions are presented to explore learning flow between levels and to determine how the match between one system's pressure for change and another system's readiness to learn affects the emergence of adaptive, generative, and transformative learning. In addition, research questions are offered as a means to test these ideas and build grounded theory. Finally, using this model, the chapter presents three case studies and suggests diagnostic questions to analyze and facilitate continuous learning from a multi-level perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMulti-Level Issues in Social Systems
EditorsFrancis Yammarino, Fred Dansereau
Pages123-172
Number of pages50
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 May 2006

Publication series

NameResearch in Multi-Level Issues
Volume5
ISSN (Print)1475-9144

Fingerprint

Systems analysis
Living systems
Organization learning
Individual learning
Group learning
Readiness
Systems perspective
Learning environment
Transformative learning
Adaptive learning
Permeability
System boundary
Multi-level perspective
Diagnostics
Stages of development
Grounded theory
Trigger

Cite this

London, M., & Sessa, V. (2006). Continuous learning in organizations: a living systems analysis of individual, group, and organization learning. In F. Yammarino, & F. Dansereau (Eds.), Multi-Level Issues in Social Systems (pp. 123-172). (Research in Multi-Level Issues; Vol. 5). https://doi.org/10.1016/S1475-9144(06)05006-5
London, Manuel ; Sessa, Valerie. / Continuous learning in organizations : a living systems analysis of individual, group, and organization learning. Multi-Level Issues in Social Systems. editor / Francis Yammarino ; Fred Dansereau. 2006. pp. 123-172 (Research in Multi-Level Issues).
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London, M & Sessa, V 2006, Continuous learning in organizations: a living systems analysis of individual, group, and organization learning. in F Yammarino & F Dansereau (eds), Multi-Level Issues in Social Systems. Research in Multi-Level Issues, vol. 5, pp. 123-172. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1475-9144(06)05006-5

Continuous learning in organizations : a living systems analysis of individual, group, and organization learning. / London, Manuel; Sessa, Valerie.

Multi-Level Issues in Social Systems. ed. / Francis Yammarino; Fred Dansereau. 2006. p. 123-172 (Research in Multi-Level Issues; Vol. 5).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

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London M, Sessa V. Continuous learning in organizations: a living systems analysis of individual, group, and organization learning. In Yammarino F, Dansereau F, editors, Multi-Level Issues in Social Systems. 2006. p. 123-172. (Research in Multi-Level Issues). https://doi.org/10.1016/S1475-9144(06)05006-5