Learning firm and guidelines sharing processes

The development of high technologies has recognized the expansion of businesses worldwide. As the effect, in the present day business world, an organization will not only contend with the local rivals but have to handle the challenges from all around the globe. Furthermore, the turbulence of the financial market, the changes in federal government policy, the presence and effective performance of the areas and sub-societies have added to the difficult competition. To make it through and become riches, the corporations need to be adaptable to cope with the changes and chaos in the encompassing environment. To do so, becoming a learning organization is a good strategy.

In learning organization, the folks are encouraged to communicate, learn and promote knowledge with others. The free flow of knowledge within corporation helps to improve the capability of the business (i. e in term of efficiency, efficiency and efficiency). Outfitted by better knowledge, employees tend to be willing to cope with changes as well as make creation and technology.

Learning company spends time on transferring knowledge among individuals, teams, and generations. Among the important knowledge types to be shared is best methods. Acting as recommendations for more effective and reliable ways to perform a specific job, best practices profit the organization is various aspects, include quality management, keeping costs, minimizing wastes, etc.

Yet guidelines tend to be in form of tacit knowledge, the copy process should provide chances for the learners to not only know the concept, but also understanding it, absorb it, and also use it. Among the common methods, knowledge bases, storytelling, mentoring and tutoring, after action reviews and communities of tactics have demonstrated their exceptional performance.









Stage 1: Become familiar with about the best techniques 5

Knowledge bases 5

Storytelling. 6

Mentoring and tutoring. . 7

Stage 2: Practice the lessons discovered. 8

Stage 3: Enhance knowledge through talking about and sharing process 9

After Action Reviews. . 9

Communities of Practice 10





"Learning organization is one in which people whatsoever levels, independently and collectively, are continually increasing their capacity to produce results they really care about", said Richard Karash, an Organizational consultant and executive mentor (http://www. humtech. com

/opm/grtl/loo/loo. cfm). Learning group is the idea that all the members of the organization consistently improve and enhance themselves to be able to develop the business and make it continue to be competitive available environment (O' Keeffe T. , 2002).

For example, Nokia was initially started in nineteenth century in Finland as a pulp meals, and has metamorphosed into a giant multinational which established fact for its cell phones handsets. In 1912, Nokia entered into a telecommunication business and since then, they are making continuously improvements that keep up with the leading position in the telecommunication world. Another example of learning organization is Basic Electrical which started out as a light bulbs and household tool has changed into a multinational company that has affinity for funding, chemicals and nuclear solutions (http://thinkahead. net. in/

forum/learning-organization-prominent-examples-of-success. html).


One of the reasons for these organizations' success is they continue to keep in touch with the changes of the business enterprise environment, government policies, and as well as the people within the organizations. Relating to Peter Senge, a leader writer in learning business, the five disciplines must be perfected in an company are: systems pondering, personal mastery, mental models, building shared visions, and team learning (Senge P. , 1990). Pursuing are some simple understanding about the five disciplines of Peter Senge.

Systems pondering: is the capability to view the picture as a whole and identify the situation. Relating to Senge, systems considering need the other four disciplines to make a learning company. And there has to be a form move from unconnected into interconnected to the complete organization, so that the corporation can realize the way they perform in the business market.

Personal mastery: requires individuals to be more practical, self-confident to be an active learner, also to focus on enhancing themselves to be better. An organization only learns when its individuals learn; thus, an organization needs people who have personal mastery to improve their performance.

Mental models: is the perspective that influence individuals how they see the exterior environment and what affect them making decision to do this. Moreover, mental models concentrate on fostering mental overall flexibility and openness.

Building shared vision: vision began from an individual employee, so that it can't be dictated. What an organization needed is the cooperate soul between the leader and the employees to create a shared vision in both good and bad situation to bind the organization together.

Team learning: is the previous self-discipline of Senge, this is all about team work and team alignment, and it is the most crucial discipline as all of the people in the team have to learn how to work together in a powerful and productive way to complete the common goal of the organization. Regarding to Senge, this is the process of producing the ability to create desired results, to have a goal at heart and work together to attain it (Senge P. , 1990).

By promoting the learning organization cultures, the organization will designed quickly to the speedy changing environment. Challenges will be considered as opportunities because the employees discovered from fixing problems. A lot more competitive a business involved, the greater activities to be received, which is a good factor that support creativities and innovation to the business. Moreover, a learning company can save their cost of any formal work out, as they may use alternative methods that included with learning into work and these methods won't cost much and far better for the organization. Another benefit for learning organizations is that they can enhance the role of supervisors through the training process. In this situation, supervisors play the role of the teachers and each employee is empowered to acquire responsibility for his or her own learning (http://www. humtech. com/opm/

grtl/loo/loo. cfm).

With the benefit mentioned above, we can easily see how important for organizations to learn, also signifying to state that in order to survive and broaden, organizations must always learn to adjust to the swift changing business environment where there are several competition. Nowadays, the best source for the organizations to boost themselves is through learning from the best practices, which is discussed within the next section.



Best practice is defined as the proven most effective and effective way to increase the performance of the business. In the explanation of UNESCO, guidelines have four important characteristics: be impressive (i. e. as they initiate the perfect solution is for specific problem), make a difference (i. e. they have tangible and positive influences on the organizations and people), have a sustainable effect (i. e. the individuals not only apply but also consistently improve the best practices), and also have potential for replication (i. e. as the guidelines prove their efficiency, they become the models for organizations and individuals to imitate) (http://www. unesco. org/most/bphome. htm).

Best practices can be found in many fields such as technology development, quality improvement, consultancy, education, medical, and so forth. The features of sharing guidelines and lessons discovered include: the improve in quality of the service / product, the upgrade in efficiency (of the organization, departments, groups, etc), the minimization of wastes and redo work, and the decrease in costs because of the increase in efficiency, efficiency and efficiency (http://www. library. nhs. uk/Knowledge

Management/ViewResource. aspx?resID=87817).

The following stand shows some critical types of how guidelines and lessons learned benefit the corporations:



Bottom lines results


Access to technicians' lessons learned

5 - ten percent10 % cutting down in labor and parts costs


Access to best practices

$ 1. 25 billion in savings

Texas Instruments

Access to best practices

$ 500 million gained in "free" fabrication capacity in 1 year


Create, capture, talk about, and use organizational knowledge

46% increase in proposal win rate; costs chop by 35%

(Source: Figallo C. & Rhine N. , 2002)


Although the results of guidelines are tangible (e. g. the accomplishment of a target, the decrease in operational costs, etc); the guidelines themselves are a kind of tacit knowledge. Therefore, the process of sharing guidelines involves more initiatives. The absorption and execution of an best practice is strongly influenced by the individual's capability to access the knowledge, synthesize it, review it, understand it, and conduct an action. Therefore, the effective showing process ought to be the blend of knowing (what to do and how to do), experiencing (try - out performance) and following up (to improve and strengthen the knowledge).

Stage 1: Get to know about the best practices

There are extensive ways for organizations and individuals to access the best practices; yet the most typical strategies include knowledge bases, storytelling, and mentoring and tutoring.

Knowledge bases:

Knowledge bases are the collections of taking knowledge which is stored in the business memory and available for organization's members to access, learn, and add. The articles of knowledge bases include reports, milestones, best practices, lessons learned, externalized experiences, and various other knowledge.

The main function of knowledge bases is to provide construction for exchanging knowledge, discovering problems id, and creating alternatives. For instance, Xerox works the Eureka System which includes more than 50, 000 solutions entries published by the Xerox's engineers throughout the world. Whenever there are innovative solutions for unstable problems related to a Xerox's product, the engineers voluntarily type them into the databases, and the others engineers can reap the benefits of these studies (Powers V. J. , 1999, Lulla S. , 2009).

It is important to notice a good knowledge directories does not ensure the improvement of the organization's performance unless the organization's people can gain access to and utilize them. Today, many corporations utilize the advanced systems such as intranet and wiki system to support the data dissemination. Back again to the truth of Xerox Corp, each engineer will get a laptop that is packed with a Eureka program, digital diagnostic tools, electric paperwork, and proper training, so that the engineers can utilize the Eureka System to improve their jobs.


According to Dalkir K. (2005), organizational tale is a "detailed narrative" of the connections among people in the organization which are inspired by specific culture, understanding and situation. In Knowledge Management, storytelling is a one of effective methods to communicate complicated ideas, talk about tacit knowledge, reinforce guidelines and prompt a big change (in tendencies). The main good thing about storytelling is the fact that it makes the knowledge become alive and can be easily absorbed and remembered by the listeners. Denning S. (2007) told how he used storytelling to effect the globe Bank's Change Management Committee to use the new knowledge management system. Within only a quarter-hour, instead of making complex presentation about the features of the new KM system, Denning told stories about how precisely African Region, especially Zambia - an unhealthy village, experienced benefited from putting into action a best practice system. He talked about the challenges taking place through the implementation; yet he concluded the testimonies with the reinforcement of the living of happy endings. The stories had strong effects on the committee, and in couple of years, World Bank acquired developed effective email system, intranet and exterior internet site. By 2000, World Standard bank was the "world head in knowledge management".

With the improvement of wiki systems and internet, the testimonies have gone to online and improved its electric power in supporting the data sharing. Once a story is put online, it becomes alive as the author and audiences continue steadily to interacting and extending the story's theme. Additionally, through these relationships, new ideas can be developed, analyzed and shared by those who find themselves thinking about the reviews.

Mentoring and tutoring:

Although knowledge databases and storytelling are good methods in showing knowledge, they are simply afflicted by the trust and ability to understand of people. Therefore, to disseminate the best practice and lessons discovered, observing is essential to complement the sharing process. By watching the methods, the learners not only know very well what but also know how to perform better and productively. A couple of passive and dynamic observations. In passive observation, the learners can scrutinize the guidelines through using audio, video clips and so on. This sort of observing is often used by the sport teams when learning about the challengers' strategies and techniques. Enigma shopper is also a good example of passive observation.

In productive observation, the learners not only watch the process, but also interact with the knowers, requesting and exchanging the understanding. Examples of effective observation are mentoring and tutoring. For years, both of these methods have been the most efficient and effective ways to spread the tacit knowledge from knowers to learners. In mentoring and tutoring, the learners are given just-in-time information as well as a systematic construction for developing the knowledge (Bartholomew D. , 2008, p. 120). Additionally, the frequent connections between the mentor and mentees reduce the obstacles occurring during the sharing process (e. g. the mentees' low capability in analyzing, synthesizing, and absorbing the data), as well as help the mentees quickly gain information into the knowledge shared.

Take Aedas's mentoring program as an example. Among Aedas design director's functions is to mentor for the architectures in the studio. The mentoring program requires dealing with the mentees every day, and expanding their design skill through daily responsibilities. The spectacular point of the program is that the architectures have "free access and suffered contact" with the director, so that they can gain instant help if possible and improve their skill with faster velocity (Bartholomew D. , 2008, p. 127).

Stage 2: Practice the lessons learned.

Reading and watching the procedure or best practices just create the entire understanding or a "know" but not the "capacity" yet. To be able to close the distance between knowing and doing, it is essential to provide the learners chances to practice what they gain through the sharing process.

The try - away is the representation of what learners have discovered. If the learners practice what they have learned, they gain realistic experiences about the knowledge, get acquainted to it and inlayed it in their imagination. Furthermore, it also provides the instant feedback about how the knowledge has been shared to and consumed by the learners. In case there are misunderstanding about or faults conducting, the sharers, instructors, or mentors can make instant corrections and modifications so the guidelines or lessons learned can be correctly pass on to the knowledge - receivers.

Toyota and its Global Production Centers is good illustration for the fundamental of try - out performance in writing knowledge. Toyota functions three regional training centers called Global Creation Centers to promote their best methods among its global plant life. In these centers, the trainees are discovered from the data bases, videotapes, and personal training. The recognizable point is that after every skill learned, the trainees are asked to execute the duty within the given tolerances and time allowances. After the test, they have the feedback from the trainer. If they fail, they have to get back to practice. If they go, they can go on to learn the next skill (Liker J. K. & Meier D. P. , 2007, p. 22-23).

Stage 3: Enhance knowledge through speaking about and posting process.

In the e book Know Can Do - Put Your Know How into Action, Ken Blanchard and the co-authors (2007) explained that a person of the three basic explanations why people neglect to apply what they know into practice was having less follow up. When a best practice is released, it ends with a particular change (i. e. in performance, habit or patterns). 60 changing requires plenty of concentrated work. It really is normal that lots of corporations spend huge money in benchmarking and training guidelines to their employees, yet they still not gain benefits as the employees are reluctant to make necessary changes. The unwillingness in making a change is because of having less knowledge and the doubt about the consequence of the change. To eliminate these negative phenomenons, those learning organizations keep reinforce the best practices and their worth in several ways. Two of the normal methods want Action Reviews and Communities of Practice.

After Action Reviews:

The idea of After Action Review originated by the US Army in the 1980s and has been broadly applied by many organizations in the process of showing the post-project learning. The rule of this theory is simple: each job faces difficulties and obstacles; and efficiently complete the job, the team's people have to create deep thinking and innovation. These value encounters will be stored and distributed through the business in those Reviews for future personal references. Through the reviews, best practices and lessons learned are mirrored, socialized and developed. To be more effective, the reviews can be facilitated by special documents, circumstances study, and visible aids. Through connections and exchanges, knowledge can be firmly embedded into the mind of participants. In the event the lessons discovered pertains to serious problems, the reviews not only help the organization to recognize its weaknesses, limitation and gaps between knowing-doing, but also support the planning for alternative solutions to cope with future similar problems. With regards to the buildings of the organizations, the size and scope of "after action review" vary from workshops (organizational or project level), peer-to-peer reviews (departmental or team level), to briefs (between professionals and subordinates).

Communities of Practice:

Communities of Practice (CoP) are "organic and self-organized" groups of individuals - who have common interest, voluntarily join the city, and actively donate to the creation and dissemination of valuable knowledge to the other people. CoPs dramatically range in term of scopes and sizes. Groups of financial professionals, renewable environmental project teams, technologies, education, or healthcare message boards, with the customers from hundreds to thousands are all types of CoPs. In addition, CoPs are not limited within a specific location or physical community only, but common to those who are interested in this content and performance of the areas. With all the support of advanced systems (i. e. such as internet), these neighborhoods can reach the worldwide level. Take APQC - the North american Productivity and Quality Centre - for example. APQC functions as a huge community of practice which provides its customers the usage of directories of benchmarking, guidelines studies, frameworks and maturity models, as well as provides practical advices to increase the performance of its customers (http://www. apqc. org/what-we-do). The interested point is, though this centre is established in US, its associates come from different industries in different elements of the worlds.

Three significant features that determine the success of such CoPs entail the voluntary aspect of the community, the enthusiasm of its participants, and the common trust and profit among the customers. In CoPs, the formal hierarchy is blurred, and members have equal rights to donate to and take advantage of the knowledge shared. Hence, the individuals should make suggestions, share their understanding, and fortify the knowledge of themselves and the other members. Furthermore, the connections and communication on the list of participants is the root for alternatives making, innovation, and changes cause. Furthermore, such communities contain different participants who have different positions, backgrounds, understanding and tips of view (i. e. yet they still promote the common interest and matter about the CoP's content and performance). Thus, when knowledge is distributed, it is analyzed and enriched by the faithful criticism and efforts of various members. Therefore, many organizations count on such communities to share and develop guidelines and lessons learned. For example, Accenture has relied on communities of practice to improve the performance and reduce yearly operational costs by $2 million. Up to now, Accenture has already established 150 neighborhoods at different levels of maturity with more than 100, 000 added items comprising more than 300, 000 attachments and topics (http://kmedge. org/wp/howdo. html).

Furthermore, as CoPs have demonstrated their excellent contribution to the introduction of the businesses, it is worth to get serious investment. An effective community is backed up by good infrastructure that helps the communication and information dissemination. For example, to support the neighborhoods and project teams, Xerox utilizes the developments systems such as intranet, collaborative virtual technologies and distributed directories (Alke V. , 2000).


Nowadays, with the facilitation of advanced systems, the global competition has become tougher. To endure and success, it needs the companies to be "smart" and adaptable enough to handle the modern unstable business environment. For being so, knowledge is the key factor. Through changing to become learning organizations, the companies have chances to access with huge way to obtain creation and technology. In learning organizations, employees are stimulated to keep learning and showing the data with the others; and this helps to improve the capability of the organization as the complete. Moreover, as learning firm functions based on the close connections between professionals / supervisors and the subordinates (i. e. educator - student romance), it allows the data to be pass on through decades.

For years, one of the most effective options for the organization's knowledge is the best practices. By constantly monitoring, inspecting, synthesizing and writing the guidelines, the learning organizations can enhance their performance in more efficient and effective ways. However, it's important to notice that, guidelines tend to be tacit knowledge. Hence, during the sharing process, it is essential that the learners can understand the idea (i. e. know very well what and how), as well as have the ability to apply the concept into practice (i. e. do what they know). There are numerous methods to show best practices in a business; yet, there is still the combination of three levels: get to know, give it a try, and improve the gained knowledge.



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Blanchard K. , Meyer P. J. , & Ruhe D. , 2007. Know can do! Put your know - how into action. California: Berrett - Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Dalkir, K. , 2005. Knowledge management theoretically and practice. Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

Denning S. , 2007. The secret language of authority - How leaders encourage action through narrative. U. S: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Figallo C. , & Rhine N. , 2002. Building the knowledge management network. Best practices, tools, and techniques for putting conversation to work. New York: Wiley Technology Publishing

Liker J. K. & Meier D. P. , 2007. Toyota skill: growing your people the Toyota way. NY: McGraw-Hill

Senge P. , 1990. The fifth willpower: the art work and practice of the learning business. U. S: Currency


O'Keeffe, T. , 2002. Organizational learning: a new point of view. Journal of European Industrial Training, 26 (2).


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