For most companies, identifying what a learning organization should be and actually becoming one is tricky at best, impossible at worst. One way that manager's and companies can promote the concept of being a learning organization is to assess whether the company is in need of a short-term fix or whether it is more focused on long-term results. Organizational learning is a long-term activity that will build competitive advantage over time and requires sustained management attention, commitment, and effort. Learning organizations maximize their competitive positions during strong economic times and they prudently train their employees and prepare for change even in turbulent times. As a result, learning organizations and learning managers are usually envied by their competitors who are still struggling to stay competitive, but are not willing to do what it takes to improve overall company and employee performance.
Walk into your local Wal-Mart around 8 a.m. and you might hear something a little strange. "Give me a W, give me an A. . ." What is that you wonder? That's the Wal-Mart cheer; yes Wal-Mart has a cheer. Sam Walton, Wal-Mart's founder, was visiting a tennis ball factory in Korea and he saw the workers do a company cheer and exercises together every morning. He brought this idea back home to the Wal-Mart associates who continue to practice it today. These rites and rituals practiced by Wal-Mart employees is only one example of many elements of organizational culture that Sam Walton worked to instill in the associates that work for his company. Corporate culture is the system of shared actions, values, and beliefs that develops within an organization and guides the behavior of its members. It is also the formal and informal behaviors that a company and its employees adopt as their way of doing business. Many of Sam Walton's beliefs model these definitions of corporate culture, which is the part of the culture that appeals to me (Berg, 2001).... [continues]
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