Running head: OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION 1

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14 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 11 μήνες)

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Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION





1








Oakcliff Sailing Center Learning Organization Synthesis

Diana S. Klybert

EDAE 624

Colorado State University














Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION





2

Abstract

I am excited to write this paper. Our purpose here is synthesis


to
bring together
our
adult

learning
readings, reflections and exercises to forward our own

development (and
,
for

me,


usefulness) in
meaningful
ways that
are
relevant to the ideas

and
people we

value.

In a word,

Bingo! I am here, living the synthesis with my work here at Oakcliff Sailing Center in

Oyster Bay, New York. Every day is as stimulating as six cups of coffee and it is the potential

here


that whic
h lies ahead


that provides the greatest systematic caff
e
ine
-
free jolt.
Oakcliff

Sailing Center is unique in the world, as they have nearly 50 boat
s

from 24
-
100 feet in
l
ength
,

an

armada
which
include
s

four matched internationally
competitive racing
fleets and the

pros to make them sail fast and often. The center’s
facilities include

a

cavernous
boat shop,

f
abrication and painting facilities, clean room, office, conference area and even overnight

accommodations for v
isiting sailors and staff. Oakcl
iff’s

mission

is to raise the level of sailing

and
sailors in the U.S. The

agenda includes reaching out to

talented competitive young racers,

ages18
-
30, who have decided that a career

in the international maritime industry is the direction

they

seek. An
d the

innovative, new

Oakcliff Acorn program is the way they are hoping to arrive

with the best
-
possible preparation
,

to surpass their own visions of what is possible. (As a firm

believer in lifelong learning, I envision myself as the “Ancient Acorn”

at Oakcliff
.

No one would

argue that I have always been a nut. Perhaps I

have

truly found my niche.
)

Currently what makes

the center tick is a benefactor who provides the funding behind th
e non
-
profit foundation. Yet
,

an


ultimate goal

so
ught by the

boa
rd of directo
rs, staff and devoted
and ever
-
increasing
supporter

base

is to become self
-
sustaining and
symbiotic with their environment,

on

local, national and

international
levels
. T
o better understand Oakcliff,

this paper has to include the website,

www.oakcliffsailing.org
.

Please visit the site as part of this informative experience.


Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION





3

Watkins and Marsick
’s learning organization

Okay, enough of me gushing over
my great my work environment
. Let’
s talk learning.

When asked to choose a researcher that
best resonates with my locus of learning,
it was the work

of Watkins and Marsick (1993)

and the

development of the
ir

six action
imperatives

of a learning

organization

that appealed most to me
.

I found a

st
rong

parallel

here to
the objectives
of the

Oakcliff Sailing Center

and

believe

that
the Oakcliff Acorn program

endeavor
could be a living

example of
what

happens
when organizations and
effective
experiential learning intersect.

Watkins and Marsick posit that the learning that happens in a true learning organization

“is a continuous and strategic
ally used

process that is integrated with and running parallel to
the

work of
the organization

as cited in
Learning in Adulthood (
Merriam, Caffarella and

Baumgartner, 2007).
Further, this learning
extends

beyond the individual to
encompass teams,

the organization, and out into the communities that interact with the organi
zation. In Oakcliff’s

case,
those communities

include the town and 18 ham
lets of the Oyster Bay area,
local and

national
foundation
supporters,
r
egional and national sailing and marine communities

and


international constituents

as well
,

as the center is
already placing
Acorns
in

racing programs

and

industry

that
literally
circle the planet. The

goal this year is
a 20
-
learner program for the
second

annual
10
-
week summer semester
. The 2012 vision includes 150 program participants.

Watkin
s

and Marsick call
for symbiotic connections at

all
levels
, as the working relationships between the

organization’s administrators and mentoring staff, learners, suppl
iers, supporters
and community

partners affect

all
entities
,

with

every

metaphorical
tack of the sail

in the breeze.

Six action steps (imperatives)


The nuts and bolts of the six action steps (imperatives) that Watkins and Marsick put

forth
seem to me to be the building blocks of the Acorn program we are intent on creating. The

Acorn pr
ogram is, in
turn
,

an all
-
inclusive
effort to use every resource at
every
available
level
,


Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION




4

both on site and in our ever
-
enlarging (by the hour) network of constituents. Taking
these

six

imperatives

one
-
by
-
one
, I

hope to show a strong
synthesis

between this learning organization

concept and the adult learning program

development
that I am here to assist in
c
onstructing.

Imperative 1.)
Create continuous learning opportunities at all levels of the organization.

Learning is an
integral

part of everyday work life.

This first step is carried out at Oakcliff with

the development of the informal hands
-
on action
-
oriented on
-
the
-
job learning

and doing

that

happens each day. It is
indeed
the needs and interest of the participants

at every level

that are

pa
ramount in all encounters. Dixon (1977
, as cited in Merriam et al., 2007
) offers a hallway

metaphor as a place where collective meaning
is made

not just exchanged
,

but created.

Dixon

points out the organization benefits by the development of a participant
-
generated dat
abase
(
as

cited in Merriam et al., 2007
, pg. 46) that brings that increased

social and intellectual capital to

the comp
any.


When I first arrived at Oakcliff at the end of February, I informally presented some of the

ideas I had for the program to the company’s executive director, Dawn Riley.
I have worked

under Dawn’s management
in
one of her four past America’s Cup ca
mpaigns and have followed

her progress during the
two round
-
the
-
world races
she has
under her belt. She is one of the most

respected marine industry program managers in the business today and truly, when she talks,

those around her listen. I know I do.
So when I eagerly broached

my ideas about Acorn

chalk

talks that might include some of the learning theories I have been embracing this past year,

Dawn w
as quick to say (in a nutshell), think again
. She was adamant that every single thing the

Acorns wou
ld be doing
would be hands
-
on, work
-
based and they would learn while they were

completing the necessary tasks at hand.
Any
academia/classroom format would be minimal

at

best,

and better be highly applicable and fully transferable. In other words, if it’s

a workshop

about sailmaking, electronics, business law, program management, marine engines,

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OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION




5

rigging or campaigning/sponsorship, green light. If it’s
sitting in chairs, talking
abou
t reflection

on action, in action and as action…not on her watch.
Motion is the notion
, with Oakcliff Acorns.

Hardly dissuaded, I decided to let the Oakcliff experience flow through me for s
everal

weeks,

while I assisted with pressing administrative ramp
-
up projects. No
w
I see that
some

concepts can be brought to light by skillful facilitation and
in
concert w
ith the work being

done. It will take finesse,
yet

I believe it can be of value to this group. The delivery must be, as

Watkins and Marsick

(and Dawn)
point out, an integral part of everyday work li
f
e. That is

the

challenge
, for any and all learning org
anization
.
Time is money
to

all

companies

and to mo
st

working adults
. In this organization, time is… time,

equally valuable to money as,

oddly

enough
,

it may be harder to find for such a seasonally based effort.
The
entire fleet has

to be

de
-
winterized, tuned for proper operation and safety, optimized a
nd ready for competition from

May to November. There is no time to spare.
There is no better experiential learning platform for

our Acorns than the next six months.
And the six months after that, the work continues
,

as boats

are winterized,
equipment inspected and
repaired, company programs reviewed and tweaked, so

much to do even with boats out of the water.
Oakcliff Acorns
might learn that they love it, and

they might learn that they don’t.
I
t will be
a direct path either way, with nothin
g
w
asted.


Imperative 2.)
Establishment of an environment that promotes inquiry and dialogue.

Imperative 3.)
Collaboration and team learning.

The next two steps help to
ensure


continuous lear
ning in the company
.

Watkins and Marsick point to these featur
es as the heart of

an organization’s learning efforts. Here again, the two processes share the both interdependent

and collective culture of knowledge construction that reminds me of
Baxter
Magolda and

King’s learning partnership model

(as cited in Merriam et al., 2007)
. Here, with regard to
their

three principals of educational practice, educators and employers work in tandem, recognizing

that authority and expertise
are

shared in the mutual construction of knowledge. Also, employers


Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION




6

and educators solicit the learner’
s

opinion, and demonstrate

this
construction of knowledge.

Employees’ existing
knowledge is

used as a
basis for continued learning and decision ma
king.

And finally, “mutually con
s
tructed meaning is

shown when
experts and learners constructed

knowledge together to arrive at more complex understandings
(
Merriam et al., 2007
)
.


I refer to this additional learning partnership model
in an effort
to
further support

Watkins

and Marsick’s tenets of dialogue and collaboration

between co
-
workers and authority. This

concept
is key
in creating
more complex meanings and deeper understanding through the

experiential learning that happens in parallel with everyday work.
This

is exactly the overarching

goal

each day with the Acorn program at Oakcliff.
Specifically, Acorns work side by side

company experts, some of
whom themselves are Saplings, some Might
y Oaks. These somewhat

ton
gue
-
in
-
cheek titles identify some

paid Oakcliff staff as

other 18
-
30
-
somethings
who

have

come to the program bringing
a higher level of
knowledge and expertise
,

yet

continue to seek

the

same
from Oakcliff
’s recognized
experts/a
uthorities.
Some started as tuition
-
based

or scholarship


Acorns

who became valuable enough to employ
, and other
s

came in on a paid
-
yet
-
learning
-
based

basis.

All involved interact each day
with
industry experts, both on site and
with
vendors wh
o

share opinions/knowledge in their
v
arious fields. It is then up to the Oakcliff

team’ as a whole to

determine and construct their own “participant
-
based data base” which becomes the actual living

textbook for the company itself.

Peter Senge also places

an emphasis on
d
ialogue

in organizations,

especially with regard

to the discipline of team learning. Senge has argued

that

team learning entails the capacity of

members of a team to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine “thinking together.”

Dial
ogue is also necessary to other disciplines, including building a shared vision (M.K. Smith,

2001). Dawn encouraged her team in this exact matter just days ago and I again felt the strong

connection of Oakcliff to my studies, as this paper was well under

way. I see
an
intent

behind

Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION




7

shared

learning

that challenges the

dominant narratives that might exist in the current

industry. All involved are encouraged to test and discover

learning that applies and is relevant

specifically to everyday work at Oakcliff. Each level of co
-
worker and authority work in an

environment that promotes dialogue, inquiry, discover and team learning, adding to the

soc
ial

and intellectual capital at

large
.

Imperative 4
.)
Establishing system
s to capture and share learning.

Imperative 5
.)

Empowering

people toward a collective vision.

Watkins and Marsick’s

fourth and fifth imperatives

are two

prime reasons I am working at Oakcliff this spring.
They

serve as
my mantras each day as I
hope to help

design templates that will fit together to build a

living
resource book for the foundation. Here we will call on
local, national and global
expertise

to contribute to the knowledge pool
,

as well as assess w
hat collective skills, competencies and

intelligence we have in
-
house. We can draw on our natural resources as teaching tool
s
,
and


nurture

weaker areas we identify

as needing growth

and development
.

Our collective vision

mirrors the mission: to raise th
e level of the country’s sailors and competitive sailing. This means

every day and every hour.

If it isn’t already clear, the Acorns will grow into strong Saplings,

continue to build and spread their professional expertise as they find employment around
the

planet and become the Mighty Oaks of the industry, responsible for other Acorns, ad infinitum.

I’ve lived the life
,

I embrace
the concept

and I believe in the vision
. To me it’s the essence of

what a true learning organization should strive to achieve. I see, hear, feel, taste, smell and

instinctively know that
this should

all

be possible if others believe and act. Here

at Oakcliff
, it’s

a top
-
level sailing organization dedicating to training
athletes who want to reach the next level of

professionalism. Other organizations have other goals.
In all cases, t
he plan can work
only
if the

company team
believes
.
*


Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION




8

I
mperative 6
.)

Connecting the organization to its environment
.

F
inally as
previously


mentioned, Watkins and Marsick finish
strong with what I see as
a

direct

connection
to
the

company’s multi
-
layered environment
and all that affect
s, and is affected by,

the work of the

organization. Each connection
is potentially an unobstructed conduit of good intentions

and symbiotic outcomes. It has to start with a dream. I believe in dreaming

big, and working up

from there. At the end of the day, it’s all about the work


the work of learning. And so the cycle

b
egins again, as in Imperative 1.)

L
earning is an integral part of everyday work life.

I hope to use

these six building blocks
to better

focus my program observation and

subsequent design assistance in my efforts to contribute to the shared vision and mission of

Oakcliff.

I researched and discovered a diagnostic tool developed by Watkins and Marsick

called the Dimensions of the Learnin
g Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ). This tool was

developed to help assess perceptions of organizational learning and culture based on
the

researchers’ own model. Research using the DLOQ indicates that measures of individual
-

and


group
-
level learning
o
pportunities,

promoting inquiry and dialogue, encouraging collaboration

and team
learning

and empowering people toward a collective vision have indirect but

significant effects on organizational outcomes, including changes in knowledge and financial

per
formance

(Yang, Watkins and Marsick, 2004
,
as cited in Handbook of Adult and Continuing

Education, Kasworm, Rose, Ross
-
Gordon, 2010, pg. 64).

Study results show direct effects in the

relationship between team and individual learning activities and organi
zational (knowledge and

financial) outcomes
.

This works toward the goal of Oakcliff achieving a self
-
sustaining status.


I self
-
administered the

electronic

questionnaire and received immediate results with

regard to my perceptions of Oakcliff’s organizat
ional learning

and culture and share these in

Appendix I,
following Fig. 1.1

below

(
Yang,

B., Watkins,

K.E., Marsick, V.J.
,
2004)
.


Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION




9




jkljlkjljgfkgjkfldjsglkjfg










Figure 1.1


In conclusion,
the Acorn

project is young, and time is ticking. I feel fortunate to be able

to work by day and reflect through this paper by night… no really.

W
hile some might
offer

my

use of the Watkins and Marsick model
as overly

optimistic, I will close with
a final

caveat.

*There are numerous inhibitors to the creation of a successful learning organization.

Watkins and Marsick (1993
, as cited in Merriam, et al., 2007
)
offer

that among the most critical

of these barriers are
:



the inability of organizational members to reco
gnize and change
their existing mental
models;



the lingering power of individualism in the organizations versus the spirit of collaboration
and team learning;



the lack of skills and developmental readiness by people to undertake system
-
wide
learning (the shift from seeing parts to seeing wholes);



and the ghosts of learning efforts that took root because they were interrupted or only
partially implemented
.



People Level






Creating c
ontinuous
learning opportunities

Promote inquiry and
dialogue


Encourage
collaboration
and team learning

Empower people toward a
collective vision

Structural Level


Connect the organization
to its environment

Establish
systems

to
capture and share
learning

Provide strategic
leadership for learning

Increase of
organization
financial
perform
ance

Gain of
organizational
knowledge


Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING ORGANIZATION




10

Finally, and p
erhaps most critically, learning organizations fail when power is in the hands of a

few who may not buy into these ways of working and thinking

(Merriam

et al.,

2007).

So, as
one

of the highly
motivated and
optimistic

people who do
es

buy into
the reality

of a successful Acorn

program through
a

unique organization t
hat is Oakcliff Sailing Center,
it is
about the

dream,

the
team,
a good learning strategy

and the
continuous and everyday
work ahead

of us all
.

Appendix I

Below are the results from my self
-
administered Dimensions of the Learning

Organization Questionnaire
(DLOQ)
using Oakcliff Sailing Center as the learning

organization (Watkins and Marsick, 1993, 1996, 2003). This diagnostic tool assesses perceptions

of organizational learning and culture based on the six imperatives
model
discussed in this paper.

Elements include
an
organization’s climate, culture, systems and structures that influence an

organization’
s overall adaptiveness.


While it was interestin
g taking the assessment, and resulting scores are well above the

mean in all elements except balancing work and family (one question), I have not been at the

company long enough for the DLOQ scores to have much meaning
here
. I think the value is in

the
questions themselves, and the explanatory language. It would be interesting to take this test

after one year, or to administer the test to the existing team at Oakcliff

and review the results
.

The Individual Level of the Learning Organization

Create
Continuous Learning Opportunities

1.)


In my organization, people openly discuss mistakes in order to learn from them.


Your score for this item was: 5



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.19)

Organizations that score low on this item
are unable to experiment and take risks. Report/discussion of work
focuses primarily on success or may address noncritical problems. Discussion of mistakes will often result in
punishment or sanctions against those identified after a search for someone to
blame. Strategies to improve
this area are to have leaders model the capacity to discuss mistakes as opportunities for learning, hold
public meetings to discuss errors and learn from them, or hold learning reviews such as the After Action
Review.

2.)


In
my organization, people identify skills they need for future work tasks.


Your score for this item was: 6.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.25)

Organizations that score low on this item have not systematically identified the skills
required to do business
in the future or do not know what the current skill base is in their organization. Strategies to improve this
area are for organizations to do competency assessments to identify skills needed for future capacity. The
organization an
alyzes future work tasks and projects for skill implications followed by an assessment of
current skills of the workforce. This can be coupled with training or a focused hiring program to address
future needs.


3.)



In my organization, people help each o
ther learn.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.54)

Organizations that score low on this item may encourage individual success at the expense of sharing
knowledge and may not build systems for learning

from one another on the job. Strategies to improve this
include providing recognition and rewards for helping one another learn, rewarding managers for developing
this ability in their staff, asking employees to coach or mentor one another, and rewarding
team and
organizational achievement.

4.)


In my organization, people can get money and other resources to support their learning.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.28)

In organizations that score lo
w on this item, people do not have easy access to resources for learning.
Strategies to improve this area are the creation of personal development funds controlled by individuals,
easy access to resource systems for learning (desktop or electronic mail dir
ectories, learning centers, and
resource libraries), and clear procedures that managers can easily use to authorize learning activities.

5.)


In my organization, people are given time to support learning.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.29)

Organizations that score low on this item may ask employees to participate in training on their own time or
have not integrated learning into work processes and task accomplishment. Time spent in
learning may be
punished or discouraged. Strategies to improve this area are the integration of work and learning through
methods such as electronic performance support systems, desktop learning, electronic learning prompts
within software, study groups or

teams, and the design of work processes to include reflection and learning.
Organizations may establish a minimum level of development/training for employees (i.e., 40 hours per
year).

6.)


In my organization, people view problems in their work as an opp
ortunity to learn.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.08)

Organizations that score low on this item do not collect appropriate data and/or acknowledge problems and
challenges in their environment. Str
ategies to improve this area emphasize collection of accurate information
on anticipated and unanticipated outcomes and reinforcing the use of that data to learn from challenges and
problems. Examples include structuring trial and error into the actual pro
cess of the work or action learning
teams.

7.)


In my organization, people are rewarded for learning.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.96)

Organizations that score low on this item do not adequately encourage learning or tie it to tangible
organizational incentives. Time spent in learning is viewed as taking away from real work. Strategies to
improve this provide appropriate rewards for learn
ing, such as tying pay to knowledge or educational level;
build learning incentives into work and individual development plans; tie promotions to knowledge or
incentive systems to tuition reimbursement; and celebrate achievement.

Promote Inquiry and Dialog
ue

8.)


In my organization, people give open and honest feedback to each other.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.06)

Organizations that score low on this item often suppress the open exchange of
ideas and do not discuss
norms and expectations. Lack of feedback makes it difficult to understand standards and expectations or to
change behavior to meet expectations. Strategies to improve this area focus on skills and a culture that
supports giving fee
dback. Organizations plan times for reflection and feedback at the end of meetings and
other interactions.

9.)


In my organization, people listen to others’ views before speaking.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.13)

Organizations that score low on this item promote advocacy of ideas and discourage conflicting
perspectives. Low
-
listening cultures do not benefit from diverse viewpoints that aid innovation. Stra
tegies to
improve this area are training in dialogue, skillful discussion, active listening, and team and meeting
management. Brainstorming and other similar free
-
flowing activities are helpful.

10.)


In my organization, people are encouraged to ask "why"

regardless of rank.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.08)

Organizations that score low on this item emphasize hierarchy and status over communication and the
quality of ideas. They may discourage ch
allenge and reinforce the value of being a yes
-
man. Strategies to
improve this area include inclusive decision
-
making processes, anonymous suggestion systems, and
encouraging leaders to model a willingness to be challenged.

11.)


In my organization, whene
ver people state their view, they also ask what others think.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.14)

In organizations that score low on this item, conversations do not invite challenge or inquiry for
understanding. The organization may value action over reflection and may fear "analysis
-
paralysis."
Strategies to improve this area are training in dialogue, skillful discussion, and active listening.

12.)


In my organization, people treat each other with

respect.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.49)

Organizations that score low on this item may have norms of false politeness that emphasize saving face
and conformity or may be highly competitive. St
rategies to improve this area include rewarding respectful
behavior, leaders modeling a more collegial relationship, and frequent discussion of respectful norms and
climate.

13.)


In my organization, people spend time building trust with each other.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.17)

Organizations that score low on this item may not know how to build trust and may have a culture of fear.
Strategies to improve this area include open sharing of th
e rationale behind difficult decisions, team building,
and setting norms of trustworthy behavior where what is said or promised is done.


The Team or Group Level of the Learning Organization

Encourage Collaboration and Team Learning

14.)


In my
organization, teams/groups have the freedom to adapt their goals as needed.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.11)

Organizations that score low on this item restrict the freedom of teams to rethink
their mandates or
otherwise cause groups to fear exploring ideas that may take them off task. Strategies to improve this area
emphasize inviting teams to consider their mandate in light of new information.

15.)


In my organization, teams/groups treat memb
ers as equals, regardless of rank, culture, or other
differences.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.20)

In organizations that score low on this item, people are unwilling to express their views.
Status and hierarchy
restrict the free flow of ideas and information. Strategies to improve this area involve people fully and equally
in discussions and decisions. Groups might set up procedures that prevent domination by those with
seniority or influence
. Roles within the group can be rotated so that everyone has a chance to develop
leadership skills.

16.)


In my organization, teams/groups focus both on the group’s task and on how well the group is
working.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The m
ean score in the normative database was: 3.20)

Organizations that score low on this item do not spend time developing relationships that have been proven
to impact productivity. Conflicts that might arise in such groups often interfere with completing tas
ks.
Strategies to improve this area are training in group dynamics and team building and using tools and
practices that make meetings run smoother.

17.)


In my organization, teams/groups revise their thinking as a result of group discussions or
informatio
n collected.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.22)

Organizations that score low on this item are not able to break out of mental frameworks that may tie them
to past strategies and goals. Members do
not reevaluate their stance based on others’ views. Strategies to
improve this area focus on asking questions that probe for assumptions and divergent views. Members
invite outsiders in to raise new questions, develop audits that uncover other viewpoints,
and use a devil’s
advocate technique to challenge themselves.

18.)


In my organization, teams/groups are rewarded for their achievements as a team/group.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.00)

Organizations that score low on this item may reward individual accomplishment but do not recognize and
support contributions toward team/ group achievements. Strategies to improve this area are changes in the
reward structure so that groups are compensate
d for jointly performed outcomes and members
acknowledged and rewarded for their contribution to the group.

19.)


In my organization, teams/groups are confident that the organization will act on their
recommendations.


Your score for this item was: 5.




(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.93)

In organizations that score low on this item, groups do not think that their work will be valued or used. The
organization runs the risk of disenfranchising groups. Strategies to improve this area f
ocus on ensuring
appropriate consideration of a group’s recommendations. Organizations do not have to automatically accept
recommendations; in fact, leaders and managers should inquire into a group’s reasoning and conclusions to
improve outcomes.


The
Organization Level of the Learning Organization

Create Systems to Capture and Share Learning

20.)


My organization uses two
-
way communication on a regular basis, such as suggestion systems,
electronic bulletin boards, or town hall/open meetings.


Your
score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.12) In
organizations that score low on this item, there are few opportunities or resources available for widespread
public sharing of information. Strategies to improve this
area are those that foster public access to
information (e.g., suggestion systems, intranets, bulletin boards, e
-
mail, telephone or video conferencing,
and town hall meetings).

21.)


My organization enables people to get needed information at any time qui
ckly and easily.


Your score for this item was: 6.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.12) Organizations
that score low on this item tend to have few tools for knowledge management or have technology without
the skills or appropriate so
ftware to use it. Little, if any, effort has been given to establishing knowledge
networks or communities of practice. Strategies to improve this area are the establishment of
organizationally appropriate knowledge management systems, for example, Lotus No
tes or a similar
program; links to customers, suppliers, and/or vendors; regularly updated resource libraries (either virtual or
physical); and knowledge networks or communities of practice.

22.)


My organization maintains an up
-
to
-
date database of employ
ee skills.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.85) Organizations
that score low on this item cannot easily access and use employee skills and knowledge. Strategies to
improve this area include systems, often technology supported, for recording, upd
ating, reviewing, and using
employee capabilities.

23.)


My organization creates systems to measure gaps between current and expected
performance.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.87) Organizations
that score low on this item have inadequate systems of measurement and do not use the balanced
scorecard. Strategies to improve this area are to develop system
-
level measures of desired performance
metrics that link to performance and track changes.

24.)


My organization makes its lessons learned available to all employees.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.85) Organizations
that score low on this item do not have processes in place to identify and share what works and what does
not. Individuals and groups are unable to uniformly document or spread succes
ses or avoid duplicating
failures. Strategies to improve this area include the establishment of best practices, processes, After Action
Reviews, Share Fairs, expert locators, communities of practice, and knowledge networks.

25.)


My organization measures
the results of the time and resources spent on training.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.93) Organizations
that score low on this item do not use systematic methods for evaluating the effect of trai
ning. They depend
largely on perceptions and nonsubstantiated data for training decisions. Strategies to improve this area are
the use of systematic methods for evaluating the effect of training at the individual and organizational levels.
The methods used

should examine the performance and balanced scorecard effect on the organization.

Empower People Toward a Collective Vision

26.)


My organization recognizes people for taking initiative.


Y
our score for this item was: 6.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.17) In
organizations that score low on this item, people are not encouraged to take responsibility for decisions that
directly affect their work, and neither are they held accountable for them. As a re
sult, there is little reason or
incentive to take initiative. Strategies to improve this area are to provide people with parameters for their
work and then expect people to establish goals, determine strategies, and make decisions for their work.

27.)


My

organization gives people choices in their work assignments.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.84) Organizations
that score low on this item can be seen as inflexible and do not encourage employees t
o design their work in
ways that are satisfying and more intrinsically rewarding. People are discouraged from stepping outside the
box in the way that they think about and perform their work. Strategies to improve this area are planning
systems that set go
als but allow employees scope in deciding alternative strategies to meet goals. Flexible
work arrangements and assignments can also be offered (e.g., work at home or splitting of job
assignments).

28.)


My organization invites people to contribute to the
organization’s vision.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.05) Organizations
that score low on this item often centralize the development of vision and strategy and then expect
employees to implement those visions. Employees who are not involved in setting the

vision often are not
highly motivated to implement it without extrinsic monitoring and rewards. Strategies to improve this area
emphasize collaborative visioning. Examples include Future Search conferences, strategy
-
focused task
forces, and setting strate
gic direction but encouraging employees to interpret direction and report back on
choices.

29.)


My organization gives people control over the resources they need to accomplish their work.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the no
rmative database was: 3.02) Organizations
that score low on this item make it difficult for people to work without going through layers of management
for consultation and permission. Strategies to improve this area include open
-
book financial policies and
decentralized decision making that is level appropriate and linked to access to adequate resources.

30.)


My organization supports employees who take calculated risks.


Your score for this item was: 6.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.91) Organizations
that score low on this item are risk aversive to an extreme. An overcautious culture leads to conservative
behavior and an unwillingness to experiment with new ideas. Strategies to im
prove this area emphasize a
culture of experimentation. Vision statements emphasize the value placed on well
-
considered risks and
innovation; time and resources are provided to explore new ideas and to work on projects that are promising
though not clearly

proven.

31.)


My organization builds alignment of visions across different levels and work groups.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.97) Organizations
that score low on this item may be strong in so
me functions and work processes but encounter problems in
the coordination of that work with other parts of the organization or value chain. Strategies to improve this
area are joint planning of goals and practices, time spent in other linked parts of the
business, access to
other groups’ work plans, rewards for joint work across functional lines, and orientation to the entire
enterprise.

Connect the Organization to Its Environment

32.)


My organization helps employees balance work and family.


Your
score for this item was: 3.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.09) Organizations
that score low on this item do not have programs in place to address worklife balance. Strategies to improve
this area include programs for work and family
balance such as family leave benefits, hotlines for latchkey
children, lunch support groups for families in trouble, employee assistance programs or referrals, and
training for managers in supporting employee work and family life balance.

33.)


My organiz
ation encourages people to think from a global perspective.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.13) Organizations
that score low on this item do not pay attention to potential global effect on their bus
iness, global
opportunities, or the value of synergies across country offices. Strategies to improve this area include
creating virtual global teams, aligning work across global boundaries, creating global information resources
for all employees, and workf
orce diversity training.

34.)


My organization encourages everyone to bring the customers’ views into the decision
-
making
process.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.34)

Organizations that score low
on this item are not adequately focused on customers’ needs. Strategies to
improve this area are customer surveys or focus groups, increasing direct customer contact, competitor
analyses, war games, virtual reality, and scenario planning to imagine and mee
t multiple customer needs.

35.)


My organization considers the impact of decisions on employee morale.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 2.96)

Organizations that score low on this item may not regard
employee morale as important. It is expected that
everyone, whether happy or not about a decision, will simply do as ordered. Strategies to improve this area
are employee climate or opinion surveys, focus groups with or polling of employees prior to reachi
ng a major
decision, and discussions to follow up on decisions taken.

36.)


My organization works together with the outside community to meet mutual needs.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.15)

Organizations that score low on this item are not involved with their local communities. Strategies to improve
this area are meetings with key community leaders, joint efforts such as fund raising, and creating joint
teams to address organization
-
related c
ommunity effects.

37.)


My organization encourages people to get answers from across the organization when solving
problems.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in th
e normative database was: 3.23)
Organizations
that score low on this

item work in functional silos and experience barriers to working across organizational
boundaries such as "turfism" or a "not invented here" mentality. Strategies to improve this area are cross
-
functional teams, access to information outside one’s functio
nal work area, electronic bulletin boards for
organization
-
wide problem solving, and organization
-
wide opportunities for sharing such as through town
hall meetings or teleconferences.

Provide Strategic Leadership for Learning

38.)


In my organization, lea
ders generally support requests for learning opportunities and training.


Your score for this item was: 6.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.36)

Organizations that score low on this item may not have many opportunities for learning
or relevant, well
-
designed training or mandate training for everyone regardless of desire or need. Strategies to improve this
area include leaders who discuss development plans and opportunities and make information and resources
available for development.

Job skills are constantly reviewed and updated, and employees are encouraged
to pursue stretch goals.

39.)


In my organization, leaders share up
-
to
-
date information with employees about competitors,
industry trends, and organizational directions.


Your

score for this item was: 6.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.18) Organizations
that score low on this item may not make information widely or easily available regarding competitors,
industry trends, and organizational directions. Stra
tegies to improve this area are employee information
meetings and bulletin board updates, posted environmental scanning information, and use of marketing
programs to gather data.

40.)


In my organization, leaders empower others to help carry out the organ
ization’s vision.


Your score for this item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.16) Organizations
that score low on this item centralize decision making or have a climate of distrust or low learning in which
employees are unable or unwilling to go beyond the stated scope of their
jobs. Strategies to improve this
area are to empower individuals or teams to take actions related to their work and to seek permission if
financial implications exceed a predetermined limit or if multiple segments of the organization are affected by
their
decisions. Systems need to be in place through which all employees can access needed information to
make decisions that support the organization’s vision.

41.)


In my organization, leaders mentor and coach those they lead.


Your score for this item was:

6.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.14)

Organizations that score low on this item emphasize direction and discipline over development. Any
mentoring that is done is limited to a chosen few. Strategies to improve this area are to teac
h leaders
coaching and mentoring strategies and to recognize and reward those who use them. Leadership
competency measures should include these skills.

42.)


In my organization, leaders continually look for opportunities to learn.


Your score for this
item was: 5.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.22)

Organizations that score low on this item may not provide resources and opportunities for leaders to learn or
expect leaders to engage in continual learning. Leaders are expected to ha
ve all the answers, and not
knowing is considered a failure. Strategies to improve this area are to reinforce the need for continuous
learning, set a minimum amount of time per year to be set aside for learning, hold leadership retreats,
encourage leaders
to read and discuss books and ideas relevant to the organization’s current situation,
make leadership resources available on line in digested form, support leaders’ pursuit of further education,
and ensure that leadership reward and recognition systems rei
nforce learning.

43.)


In my organization, leaders ensure that the organization’s actions are consistent with its
values.


Your score for this item was: 4.



(The mean score in the normative database was: 3.31)

Organizations that score low on this i
tem do not examine whether their actions and values are consistent.
They may not have explicit, stated values or make sure that values drive actions. Strategies to improve this
area are to hold leaders accountable for modeling the values of the organizatio
n and to regularly examine
the implications of decisions to ensure consistency.






Running head:
OAKCLIFF LEARNING

ORGANIZATION




11


References

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Gordon J.M.,
(
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education
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Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S., Baumgartner, L.M. (2007).
Learning in adulthood:

A

comprehensive guide


3
rd

edition
.
San Francisco: Jossey
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M. K. (2001) 'The learning organization',
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-
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B., Watkins,

K.E.,
Marsick, V.J.

(2004).
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http://nreilly.asp.radford.edu/psy655/learningorganization.pdf


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Dimensions of the Learning Organization

Questionnaire (DLOQ) and
interpreted answers
, retrieved from

http://www.partnersforlearning.com/instructions.html