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Learning and Insight

When an organisation is occupied with the guiding process handling the past, then it is concerned with the question whether the assessment of current conditions is appropriate. It examines its existing insight (“Customers are like this!”), by reflecting the value of this insight in the present (“Is it possible that customers have changed in their shopping behaviour?”). This examination costs time and can, therefore, only take place at point of need and for a reason, otherwise no system would be capable of acting anymore. The decision to carry out such an examination is never that easy, therefore every organisation must develop a procedure for this.

One of the most popular of these are hierarchical structures which, from the learning point of view, usually functions in such a way that the management provides his employees with learning material. This has great advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that the employee cannot easily ignore what the boss says to him, that he must become better, more competent or that he must change. Refusing, in the worst case, can lead to dismissal. The disadvantage is that usually the boss or the bosses, themselves, have a need to learn, which is something the employees can see, but the boss (and the boss’s boss) often cannot. This, as a rule, massively affects the motivation on the part of the employees: “Why should we improve, whilst they carry on as before?”.

Another favourite way of examining existing knowledge is dialogue with experts (executive departments, organisational consultants, scientists, management gurus etc.). This, too, has advantages and disadvantages. Where external greater knowledge (expensive) is purchased, the tendency often exists to adopt it without critical assessment and to automatically consider it to be ‘better’. Therefore, neither the suitability, nor the acceptance of this knowledge within the organisation, is checked. The advantage, though, is that it is quick and innovation can rapidly become possible.