Delton Theory | How to create a Learning Organization?

Creating Learning Organization: Delton has developed a model for creating a learning organization as shown in fig:

According to Delton, there are six antecedents that necessitate creation of a learning organization. These are as follows:

  1. There is a shift in the relative importance of factors of production, from physical and financial resources to human resources.
  2. There is acceptance of the fact knowledge is prime source of competitive advantage.
  3. There is increasingly rapid pace of change in business environment.
  4. There is dissatisfaction with the existing management practices as these are not able to meet the needs of changing environment.
  5. There is increasingly competitive business environment which is putting pressure on business.
  6. There are increasingly demanding customers who place high demands on business

These six antecedents create opportunity for creating a learning organization. This opportunity has led to the development of consultants and mangers as well as academics who provide support for creating a learning organization. Because of availability of such a support, desire for creating a learning organization emerges, and the process of creating a learning organization begins which through the following steps:

  1. Commitment of Top Management: Creating of learning organization may require major changes in the existing techniques, structures, processes, beliefs, values, and even goals. Any major organizational change can be successful only if it has received the commitment of top management, since creating learning organization is a major organizational change, it must have commitment of top management. Top management commitment ensures that everyone in the organization participates in the change process and resources required for implementing the change are made available by the organization.
  1.  Sharing of Commitment and Creation of Vision: From top management commitment for creating learning organization flows sharing of commitment and, then, vision of learning organization is created. Top management commitment provides way for commitment of those managers who will act as change agents during the process of creating learning organization. With such a kind of commitment, vision of learning organization is created. Vision of learning organization is created. Vision represents a challenging portrait of what the organization and its members can be in future. Therefore, the organization should create projections about where it should go what major challenges lie ahead.
  1.  Wider Acceptability of Desirability of Learning Organization: Once vision of learning organization is created, it is communicated organization-wider for acceptability of desirability of learning organization. In this communication, emphasis is put on the circumstances necessitating creation of leaning organization, utility of learning organization, type of changed likely to be made, role of different groups of personnel in creating learning organization, and time frame for creating learning organization. Wider acceptance of desirability of creating learning organization, and time frame for creating learning organization. Wider acceptance of desirability of creating learning organization is necessary because in its absence, there is a possibility of resistance from employees to create learning organization.
  1. New techniques/ structures/Processes: This is the most crucial step in creating learning organization. Creation of learning organization requires total transformation of the existing organization, that is, aligning existing techniques, structures, and process to the requirements of the learning organization. What kind of changes will be required in these depends on their nature and functionality? It is quite possible that some of the existing techniques, structures, and processes are suitable for the new situation.
  1. Commitment of Entire Workforce: Changing of existing techniques, structures, and processes facilitates the creation of learning organization but it does not work effectively unless there is a commitment of the entire workforce for the learning for the learning organization. This commitment is required because the entire workforce will have to work with different mindset in the new situation. People have to change their old assumptions, beliefs, norms, and values that are not suitable to the new situation. They are required to share the knowledge created by them with others. They have to be more receptive about the ideas generated by others.
  1. Creation Learning Organization: After the completion of the above steps, the learning organization is created which is quite conducive for learning and development of personnel. A kind of culture is created in which everyone takes care of his own learning and development as well as helping others and receiving help from others in learning and development. This can be done by undertaking the following activities.
  • Practicing knowledge management for creating, sharing, and utilizing knowledge organization-wide.
  • Creating centers of excellence organization-wide to achieve excellence in every field including learning.
  • Instituting team rewards for ensuring greater cooperation among individuals.