The concept of organizational learning is commonly described as a process of developing, retaining, and transferring knowledge within an organization. A workplace that values organizational learning should provide access to the skills, information, and technology needed for staff to engage in a learning culture. This access requires investing resources to develop an organizational learning infrastructure, including staff capacity. The learning infrastructure encompasses the day-to-day systems, processes, and assets that contribute to an organization’s capacity to generate, collect, interpret, and disseminate data. Although many resources are important to building the infrastructure, investing in the requisite equipment and technology and building staff knowledge and skills are crucial to creating and sustaining organizational cultures that regularly use data to learn and make informed decisions (Derrick-Mills et al. 2014; Hatry et al. 2005; Poister 2010).
Organizational Learning Theory
The theory of organizational learning focuses on the creation of knowledge and the use of that knowledge within an organization. Key aspects of organizational learning theory are that learning happens when people interact while finding and solving problems. Organizational learning theory stresses the importance of developing a learning culture within an organization. According to this theory, organizations should:
- Develop a culture that prizes knowledge sharing
- Take time to learn the lessons that failure can teach
- Encourage employees of all levels to continue their education on a regular basis
- Allow individuals and teams to challenge the status quo of the organization