i387c managing information services and organizations






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Module 5. Unit 1: Managing Change: Learning, Motivation, Risktaking, and Innovation

Two things seemed pretty apparent to me. One was, that in order to be a [Mississippi River] pilot a man had got to learn more than any one man ought to be allowed to know; and the other was, that he must learn it all over again in a different way every 24 hours. (Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi)

There is much debate in the academic community concerning whether the School of Information is an academic or a professional program. In this course you have explored aspects of management that lay a foundation for each of you to develop as a manager and as a professional. What is a profession or a professional? A professional is an expert, often credentialed with specialized academic training. Professionals are committed to the use of their skills and expertise. A professional is also characterized by collegiality, involved in the building of a group identity, a collegial consciousness. This unity or ethos is marked by cooperation, support, equality and the sharing of knowledge with other practitioners in the field. The creation of professional associations, standards of practice and a code of ethics all reflect and reinforce collegiality.

Professionals aim to build, maintain and expand standards: standards of practice, ethical standards and intellectual standards. The prestige and status of the profession and its knowledge base are enhanced through educational standards and study. Through involvement in management, professional associations, and commitment to program that prepare new professionals the professional shares knowledge, a professional identity and a set of values with aspiring professionals.

This module includes Unit 1: Managing Change; Unit 2: Professional Ethics; Unit 3 Planning for Life Long Learning and Course Summary.

Warren Bennis observes that, "American organizational life is a left-brain culture, meaning logical analytical, technical, controlled, conservative, and administrative...In any corporation, managers serve as the left brain and the research and development staff serves as the right brain, but the CEO must combine both... (1989, 102). The culture of an organization is the key to patterns of learning, motivation, risk taking, and innovation: all necessary ingredients of change.

Organizational Learning

The concept of the learning organization and organizational learning was introduced in 1963 by Cyert and March. Theorists explained on the idea of "adaptive learning" to explore "proactive learning." (Argyis and Schoen 1978.) They and others argued that organizations learn through their organizational members who detect and correct errors in the work of the organization. Karl Weick observed that "a more radical approach would take the position that individual learning occurs when people give a different response to the same stimulus, but Organizational Learning occurs when groups of people give the same response to different stimuli." It was, however, Peter Senge's book, The Fifth Discipline, that introduced organizational learning and systems thinking to the popular management literature. Senge considers "systems thinking" the key component to organizational learning because:

This is why system thinking is the fifth discipline. It is the discipline that integrates the disciplines, fusing them into a coherent body of theory and practice....Without a systematic orientation, there is no motivation to look at how the disciplines interrelate. By enhancing each of the other disciplines, it continually reminds us that the whole can excess the sum of its parts. (Senge, 1992).

How might a manager diagnose organization's that culture of learning and whether its systems of communication and information access are open or closed? See learning culture and open/closed organizations.

==> Continue to Module 5 Unit 2



Read: Quicke and Ortenblad articles on organizational learning, available in Course Documents.

Consider the questions provided in at the document on how to judge if an organization has a learning culture.

Discussion Board

Post a substantive and reflective contribution to the discussion forum entitled Organizational Learning considering organizations in which you've been a member or an employee analyzing if this organization supports and encourages a culture of learning.

Due July 2 11:30pm



thanks to patrick williams for template design
Last update 2 july 2006