Learning organizations generally refer to those organizations that have adopted processes, systems and mechanisms, the main purpose of which is to enhance their own capabilities. These organizations are known to work for it or with it in order to achieve certain set of sustainable objectives not only for themselves but also for the neighboring community at large (Dixon & Nancy, 2004). The agility of a learning organization in adapting to how it relates to the external environment and the manner it handles its internal operations enables it to be recognized from the outside. For a learning organization to be identified from the inside, the key issue that is checked is the ethos, which mainly focuses on learning from errors and challenges. Learning organizations recognize that success is realized after some past mistakes and once it is achieved, it sets very high standards that require to be emulated. According to the learning organizations, mistakes give a form of learning that is as significant as formal training and thus individuals, who build up this type of knowledge, should be given utmost care (Smith, 2001).
One of the major learning organizations is Hewlett Packard (HP), which started as an electronic device manufacturing company and whose core business currently is supporting electronic devices and computers. This company adopted its learning organization culture as early as when it was initiated by its founders, and since then all its employees worldwide live by the same culture up to date. HP as an organization similar to the others has evolved and has used its learning organization capacity repeatedly to solve its challenges.
HP as an organization faces the challenge of young talents leaving for other companies on short periods. Talent management program is very essential to any company as it ensures long-term leadership competence necessary for success. HP has recognized this aspect and has implemented a criterion for the development of a strong management pool to counter the overall leadership shortage experienced by most companies. In this case, therefore, HP engages in a top to down culture of talent management, since management program should be as defined by top management (Pedler et al, 1991).
Another challenge that faced the HP organization and solved through its learning organization aspect is the problem of delivery of its products to the customers. The users and the vendors used to meet in the business conferences and thus restraining servings many of its customers effectively (Pedler et al, 1991). HP thus engaged the Content and Product Data Management (CDPM) in the reconstruction of its supply chain.
The IBM Company is also a good example of a learning organization. It strives to ensure that it has created an enterprise, which is able to deliver higher performance through empowering its workforce, improving innovation and meeting the customer needs appropriately. It initiates programs that can develop well-able leaders to take it to greater heights in the future. One major challenge that faced IBM was that career opportunity had become unclear and rather complicated. Using the learning organization aspect, IBM identified the skills and capabilities needed to counter the challenge (Senge et al, 1994). Another instance of a known challenge from the IBM can be obtained from a case, where a manager had implemented a big innovation project that failed. He thought that his boss would fire him, but on the contrary, the boss said he will not fire him after he has just invested a lot of money into the manager’s education. This illustrates clearly that for a learning organization, mistakes give the best lesson for learning.