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The learning organization in a global context: perceptions of HR practitioners at UK and SA tertiary institutions

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  • Education


This paper explores the comparative importance of learning organisation disciplines in generating effective work outcomes in HR employees in two different national cultural contexts. It is suggested that the importance of the learning disciplines in different countries may be influenced by prevailing cultural differences and prevailing organisational change situations. A survey of human resource practitioners’ perceptions of the importance of the five disciplines in generating effective work outcomes in a single UK and South African tertiary educational institution undergoing differential types of change was conducted to explore these aspects empirically. A specific measuring instrument was devised to operationalise the five discipline model adapted from Senge’s (1990) seminal work. Results reveal that although the ranking of the five disciplines is cross nationally similar, the influence of national culture appears to affect the emphasis put on specific aspects. Also, the generally higher scores obtained by the South African sample on the discipline dimensions suggests that the specific change circumstances faced by the two institutions may have a bearing on the perceived importance of adopting core aspects of a learning organisation in achieving effective work outcomes. Implications of these findings are discussed in context of Hofstede’s (1980) model and Senge’s observations with regard to organisational change (Webber, 1999).

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