Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on leading organizations and competing in a global flat world. Adaptation to changing requirements while maintaining standards is a challenge of the present. Organizations cannot stay stagnant, they have to perform in a dynamic environment and are forced to continually learn in order to survive.
A central concept taken into consideration in the present analysis is the ‘learning organization’. The concept stresses that organizations have the ability to improve their bottom-line results and embrace new requirements by developing a culture of learning and adaptation. This can be done with best results, as will be argued further on, at a cultural level, the level of mental models (or views on organizational realities). But it can also be implemented at the individual level, with strategic implication for the career. The concept of learning organization is strictly connected to the concept of quality, referring both to the end products of an organization as well as to its overall activity and performance. Different organizations have different perspectives on quality (different models), each allowing a degree of learning capacity. The ideal, is the total quality mental model diffused in the culture of learning organizations, which states that quality represents a transformation that acts on a deep level within the organization, changing the way people think and work together, what management values and rewards, the way success is measured: “all of us collaborate to design and operate a seamless value-adding system which incorporates quality control, customer service, process involvement, supplier relationship, and good relations with the communities in which we operate” (these being inferior or partial levels of understanding of the concept of quality) (Albert 49).
In today’s ever changing business and social environments, organizational design is a serious challenge for all managers, irrespective or organization size. Managers recognize that organizational design is critical to performance and must accommodate change and new market or social requirements. This is why career planning has become so difficult. The overall learning behavior of an organization depends on its entire structure, not merely on the sum of its parts. It is important to focus on the whole rather than on specific events that can be misleading. The broader scheme of things is always determined by a complex set of factors. What lacks from the picture is the relationship between parts, that can determine complete different outcomes. Organizations are open systems that relate to their environments and learn from them. There is a circular relationship between the overall system and its parts. There are some patterns that repeat over and over again in a given system. Learning from the past receives whole new meanings from this perspective. A careful analysis is capable of determining trends of development and predicting specific directions of evolution. This can be achieved only by taking a look at the whole, at the entire system.
But in order to transform the vision shared by an organization, all the mental models of its members have to be slowly directed to a coherent common view on key functional areas of the organization. And a change of this size can only be done at a cultural level.