The Learning Organization

Recommended Final Solutions to Identified Problems
As it has been outlined, the IVIK Holding Group, Ltd. lacks a proper understanding of systems thinking. Although there is certain cooperation between different departments, it is not promoted that their work is absolutely dependent on each other. As Argyris (1999) supposes, systems thinking is required when the company is assessed, and thus “information systems that measure the performance of the organization as a whole and of its various components” is needed (Argyris, 1999, 101). It goes without saying that specialists determine the work and outcomes of each other, but the processes and structures are mutually dependent as well. “Systems thinking is not one thing but a set of habits or practices within a framework that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation,” Pedler et al. (1997, 89) explains. Perhaps, it would be beneficial to provide a couple of special trainings for employees to disclose the meaning of systems thinking. Without deep understanding, one cannot apply this methodology and thus learning can fail for the whole organization.

It is critical to explain that each action as well as failure to act, each decision and even each idea has a consequence which causes another chain of actions and events which will influence the initial actor. In other words, the relation is not linear, but rather circular. The same refers equally to objects and events separated in time and space. To realize this process, it is necessary to develop the ability to abstract away from the visible reality (Andriessen, 2004). Apart from that, such ability will be obviously useful for every working mind. As Argyris (1999, 103) suggests, systems thinking incorporates the principles of interdependence and holism, goal seeking and transformation of inputs and outputs; entropy and regulation, hierarchy and differentiation, equifinality (convergence) and multifinality (divergence). If we applied multifinality tenet to the IVIK activities, we should list that for managers and owners it is a profit making system; for suppliers (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Japan; Systemair AB, Sweden; CIAT, France; Uniflair Italia S.P.A., Italy etc.) it is a distribution system; for state it is a tax bearer; for employees it is an employment system; for customers it is a materials supply systems and for existing clients it is also a service system; for students it is an educational establishment and for other AC companies it is a competitor. Understanding of this system may provoke new insights.

Further on, there is a strong need to challenge the existing mental models. Each employee has certain knowledge and ideas of what is done and what should be done. Those who have been working for the same company for a long time get accustomed to the time-proved methods and tend to be blind to see the behaviors going out of date (Gilley & Maycunich, 2000). That is how experience and practice can become an obstacle on the way to success of the organization. Therefore, it is crucial to organize regular exchange of confrontational views, norms and values. Actually it is conventional to hold planning meetings and conferences where minds and ideas are normally shared, but these are usually sessions for managers of different departments, while other, non-administrative executives usually stay unheard. Yet they are equally able to generate ideas or at least interfere with their own mental models which should be observed and shifted.
Another solution suggested is to restructure and rename the human resources department. There is much evidence in scholar sources that this name has become obsolete. Whereas a modern progressive company is oriented to organizational development and organizational learning, and it is HR department that tends to take these functions, it seems to be rational to turn this department into organizational department. It would be even sound, because the IVIK’s former personnel managers are really undertaking a lot of new responsibilities requiring new knowledge and skills, and they need training as well. Moreover, the information technologies department also needs to be renewed. For example, there is a need for a position of Chief Information Officer, as today information is becoming the most significant issue for internal and external affairs of a company. The IT department and the Organizational Department are recommended to unite their forces in working out special mechanisms for locating and assessing organizational theories in action. After all, their task is to increase network connectivity between internal and external participants.

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