The scale and bureaucracy of big organisations may make building a learning culture more difficult, but the ability of an organisation to learn – be it an army, a university or a smallgoods manufacturer – is central to its ability to respond to change, according to a leading American academic.
Speaking to a 100-plus audience at a public lecture at Flinders University Victoria Square on April 16, Professor Karen Watkins of the University of Georgia said that creating an “agile organisation” can be best achieved by increasing learning capacity at individual, team and organisational levels.
And while the opportunities afforded learning culture would ultimately affect and empower all employees, Professor Watkins said that organisational leaders play a vital role in successfully implementing such a culture through modeling and mentoring: “They have to walk the talk,” Professor Watkins said.
Introducing Professor Watkins, Dr Paddy O’Toole of the School of Education at Flinders said that the American academic was a world leader in the field of human resource and organisational development.
“Professor Watkins has helped to shift the understanding of organisations that learn from a theoretical, Utopian idea to become human and practice-oriented,” Dr O’Toole said.
Professor Watkins’ visit to Australia is sponsored by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
Further information: Professor Watkins’ presentation powerpoint.