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Organizational Learning

Organizational Learning
Improving Learning, Teaching, and Leading in School Systems

October 2006 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Leadership Solutions

Reshapes the way teachers and administrators think about people, practices, and policies…

This innovative book about organizational learning in K–12 settings reshapes the way teachers and administrators think about people, practices, and policies while providing a compelling roadmap for transformation from within today's school systems.

Key Features:

  • Six interrelated conditions support organizational learning: prioritizing learning, fostering inquiry, facilitating the dissemination of knowledge, practicing democratic principles, attending to human relationships, and providing for members' self-fulfillment.
  • An on-going case study connects everyday practices in school systems to a holistic framework that helps practitioners understand how their thinking and behaviors influence learning, work environments, collegial interactions, decision making, and innovation.
  • Numerous practical examples bring complex theoretical concepts to life, while a series of essential questions, activities for getting started, and reflective journal prompts allow practitioners to apply content and ideas to their own settings

Meet the author!


List of Tables, Figures and Illustrations
Part I: What Is Organizational Learning?
Chapter 1: New Ways of Thinking: New Ways of Learning
Moving from an Industrial to a Knowledge Society  
Theory and Practice  
A Working Definition of Organizational Learning  
Case Study  
Looking Ahead  
Reflective Journal  
Chapter 2: Organizational Learning: Original Sources and Perspectives
Why Start With Theory?  
How Will Understanding Theory Help an Organization Learn?  
Origins of Perspectives on Organizational Learning  
Example of Single-Loop Learning  
Example of Double-Loop Learning  
Example of a Discovering Organization  
Comparison of Organizational Adaptation and Organizational Learning  
Example of Superstitious Learning  
An Application of Organizational Learning Concepts  
Example of Organizational Learning by Math Teachers  
Reflective Journal  
Chapter 3: Core Assumptions of Organizational Learning Perspectives
Core Assumptions  
Example of Multilevel Learning  
Example of Building Shared Understandings  
Example of Embedding Knowledge  
A Framework for Understanding and Practicing Organizational Learning  
An Example of the Unbelievable  
Example of How Language Frames Issues  
Reflective Journal  
Part II: Why Is Organizational Learning Important For Schools and School Systems?
Chapter 4: Ensuring a Cycle of Continuous Learning
From Individual to Organizational Learning  
From Insights to Institutionalized Learning  
The Apple Story: Illustrating Four Learning Processes  
Example of Learning Processes in a Middle School  
Feed Forward and Feedback  
Example of Learning Processes: Change in Routines  
A Cyclical Process of Learning  
Example of Error Detection as a Source of Learning  
Reflective Journal  
Chapter 5: Organizational Learning as Renewal
Renewal for Sustainability  
Deutero Learning  
Example of an Organizational Defensive Routine  
Defensive Routines in School Contexts  
Defensive Routines in Context  
From Theory to Practice  
Reflective Journal  
Part III: How Do Schools and School Systems Foster Organizational Learning?
Chapter 6: Prioritizing Learning for All Members: The Primary Condition
Why is Prioritizing Learning Important?  
Learning Case Study  
Learning: A Way of Thinking  
Changing Thinking, Changing Vocabulary  
Learning: The Primary Condition  
Example of Openness to Error Detection  
Essential Questions  
Getting Started Activities/Ideas  
Further Reading  
Reflective Journal  
Chapter 7: Fostering Inquiry and Its Collateral Learning
Why is Inquiry Important for Organizational Learning?  
Inquiry: A Specific Kind of Learning  
Inquiry Case Study  
Inquiry: A Way of Thinking  
Inquiry and Attitudes  
Inquiry and Attitudes: A Reciprocal Process  
Direct Inquiry  
Example of Collective Inquiry and Openness to New Ideas  
Example of Inquiry as Continuous Improvement  
Indirect Inquiry  
Essential Questions  
Getting Started Activities and Ideas  
Further Reading  
Reflective Journal  
Chapter 8: Facilitating the Dissemination of Learning
Why is Dissemination Important for Organizational Learning?  
Dissemination Case Study  
Dissemination: A Way of Thinking  
Dissemination: Sharing Learning  
Examples of Dissemination as Dialogue  
Example of a Mismatch Affecting Dissemination  
Essential Questions  
Getting Started Activities and Ideas  
Further Reading  
Reflective Journal  
Chapter 9: Practicing Democratic Principles
Why are Democratic Principles Important for Organizational Learning?  
Democratic Principles Case Study  
Democratic Principles: A Way of Thinking  
Democratic Principles: A Way of Living  
Open Systems and Democratic Principles  
A Contradiction: Democratic Life and the Bureaucratic Model  
Example of a Minority as a Catalyst for Good  
Roles and Responsibilities in Democratic Organizations  
Example of Dependency and Low Responsibility  
Summary: Leader as Model  
Example of Linkages Between Learning and Professional Control  
Democratic Principles and Organizational Learning  
Long-Term Threats to Democratic Principles in Organizations  
Summary of Threats to Democratic Principles  
Essential Questions  
Getting Started Activities and Ideas  
Further Reading  
Reflective Journal  
Chapter 10: Attending to Human Relationships
Why are Human Relationships Important?  
Human Relationships Case Study  
Human Relationships: A Way of Thinking  
Human Relationships: A Social Infrastructure  
Schools With Strong Relational Trust  
Potential Outcomes of Independence and Interdependence  
Example of Conflict as Learning  
Essential Questions  
Getting Started Activities and Ideas  
Further Reading  
Reflective Journal  
Chapter 11: Providing for Members? Self-Fulfillment
Why is Providing for Members? Self-Fulfillment Important?  
Members' Self-Fulfillment Case Study  
Providing for Members? Self-Fulfillment: A Way of Thinking  
Historical Communities of Learners  
Nurturing Members? Quest for Meaningful Values and Goals  
Values and Practices of High-Performing Teachers/Leaders  
Ways to Solicit Knowledge From All Members  
Example of Goverment Influence on Innovation  
Nurturing Members? Commitment and Connections  
Providing Opportunities to Communicate and Connect  
Nurturing Members? Aspirations for Growth  
Hiring to Enhance Renewal  
Essential Questions  
Getting Started Activities and Ideas  
Further Reading  
Reflective Journal  
Part IV: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Chapter 12: Organizational Learning: A Balancing Act
Creating a Culture That Rewards Learning  
The Role of Feedback and Feed Forward for Learning  
Example of Influences Affecting Accuracy of Interpretations  
Ways to Encourage Argument and Feedback  
Organizational Memory: A Double-Edged Sword  
Organizational Learning: Improving Learning, Teaching, and Leading  
Organization Development: Building Schools'  
Capacity to Develop and Extend Organizational Learning  
Chapter 13: How Research Can Help Schools and Systems Move Forward
Examining Assumptions  
Questions for Researchers and Practitioners  
Wanting to Learn  
Attending to All Members? Growth  
Pinehurst Revisited: Practitioners Modeling Research for and With Students  
About the Authors
Key features
  • in-depth explanation of six conditions necessary to support organizational learning
  • strong theory-to-practice connections
  • essential questions, getting started activities, and reflective journal questions to help readers connect concepts to their own school or school system
  • numerous practical illustrations and examples, including an on-going case study

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 5

Chapter 7

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