Evaluation of Learning Organization Pillars within the IVIK Holding Group, Ltd.
IVIK Holding Group is a rapidly developing company taking the leading positions at the market of air-conditioning systems. The main field of activity of IVIK is distribution of climate equipment of different kinds. It offers a wide range of production from small residential air conditioners to central air-conditioning systems. The chief place is taken by high-quality production of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electrics. Apart from direct sales, the company offers such services as mounting and maintaining of ventilating and air-conditioning systems of the world leading HVAC brands. What is more, the company includes a training center where specialists in operation of HVAC systems are trained or retrained. In this way, there is a wide range of activities IVIK is involved in. Consequently, there are different departments employing more than a hundred specialists of different fields, and there is a strong need of good management for their effective interaction and mutual support.
The company has always been client-oriented providing comprehensive approach of full control over the offered and installed equipment. Through the years of work, the company has earned a strong reputation of highly professional and reliable partner. However, today, with the growth of staff, managers gradually understand that not only orientation outside is a guarantee of success, and thus they are paying more and more attention to the affairs within the departments. In other words, it is turning into a learning organization.
First of all, it is pleasant to note that from very start the IVIK managers made a stress on the shared vision of the employees. Each new recruit is firstly introduced the ethic statute of the company where the rules of behavior are prescribed. If you want to be accepted to the “family”¯, you should follow the rules and appreciate the same values as the others do: politeness, diligence, mutual assistance and support, and of course the goals of each action, to learn, to know, to win. When you then get inside the community, you understand that the people around you really share those views and values, and together with them you begin to be proud of the company you work for and you try your best to maintain or even improve that positive image in the eyes of partners and clients. What is more, at rather early stages the company got rid of the goal of fighting with the competitors. Now there is a notion that IVIK plays an exclusive role and other similar players of the market just help us to keep fit and provide a full picture for customers who are able to make a fair choice. And they really do.
It would be fair to underline that although the management is rather democratic, the company vision is normally imposed from above. According to the theory of learning organization, this impose is not the best way out, while the decentralized structure is needed to escape such intrusion. On the other hand, it is rather doubtful that the company is now ready to refuse vertical movement of power. Though, of course, time will help to value more up-to-date approach to governance.
Another beneficial fact is that almost every employee has displayed enough flexibility and openness to a notion of learning culture. While many specialists are usually rigid and faithful to traditional methods of cooperation, at the IVIK even the oldest and the most distinguished employees have shown no resistance to regular upgrading and training. Together with the younger colleagues they are now successfully mastering the newest hardware and software innovations, they learn how to work with people of different cultures and thoroughly follow the news of the field. Such effective personal mastery is obviously the result of careful strategy of the human resources managers who have comprehensively explained the benefits of the learning culture and thus have motivated all the employees to continuous training and development.
At the same time there are still problems with team learning, although essential steps are taken. For example, the after-sale support is provided by the Service Center, where the work of technical workers is crossed with the work of office employees, and sometimes that is a zone for misunderstanding and conflicts that follow. These two groups, differentiated by education and, to a certain extent, way of life, need different approaches and are sometimes hard to unite in work. Finally, there is still a poor understanding of such pillars as systems thinking and mental models.