Learning Organization Doctrine: Roadmap For Transformation Article Review

Published: 2021-07-11 21:20:04
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Article ReviewLearning Organization - Military
Introduction
This paper sets out to review articles that define and discuss the concept of a learning organization in a military context, to summarize them, to summarize the author’s conclusion / recommendation and this researcher’s conclusion / recommendation, and finally to summarize how in each case the article is particularly applicable to the military as an organization.
“The U.S. Army: A Learning Organization.”
Article Summary: This article by Gonzalez (Apr 2010) draws upon concepts first published by Senge in his early 1990s book: The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization. His article questions whether the U.S. Army can be a learning organization, in the sense that it needs to learn as a continuous process, not only to stay relevant, but in the special case of a military organization to do otherwise “can have deadly consequences.”
Gonzalez refers to three main initiatives already in place to ensure that learning, as well as taking on board lessons learned (e.g. from Desert Storm), and the Army’s need to update its own structure in the light of budgetary and other constraints.
Researcher’s Conclusions / Recommendations: Gonzalez’ approach seems to have fairly summarized the U.S. Army’s approach to the issue, which appears to have majored on the “lessons learned” concept, that helps avoid repeating past mistakes, and by constantly reviewing past actions in an analytical manner.
Relevance of the Concepts to the Military: Since the article refers only to the U.S. Army, it is totally relevant to the military.
Article Summary: This article by Flowers (Nov 2003) is addressed to the U.S. Corps of Engineers and opens by emphasizing the need for learning, stating: “to adapt for our future, we must continuously learn from our work today.” He also makes the point that: “today the rate of change is greater than ever. Accordingly, we must learn faster than ever before. We must develop a new cultural approach to our business and to learning.”
He defines a learning organization as one that “systematically learns from its experience of what works and what does not work.” In the remainder of his article Flowers discusses leadership and character and the creation of the learning organization.
Researcher’s Conclusions / Recommendations: As was the case with the first article reviewed, this one by Flowers also appeared to be fully accepting the need to become a learning organization, echoing the view of the previous article that learning from past mistakes is of particular importance.
Relevance of the Concepts to the Military: Since the article refers only to the U.S. Corps of Engineers, it is totally relevant to the military.
“Can the Army Become a Learning Organization? A Question Reexamined.”
Article Summary: This article by DiBella (2010) published in Joint Force Quarterly (JFQ) refers to a 1994 article by Margaret Wheatley which covered the issue of the Army becoming a learning organization. Although she claimed at the time that army had already become a learning organization, this article notes that changes have been so diverse and rapid since then, reaffirming the need for continuous change, and for cooperation and adaptation as situations and strategies evolve.
DiBella also reported that learning will not occur of its own accord and needs organizing from the top. He also refers to the value of AARs covered in the previous article and cautions the “need to be right” attitude of individuals that can obstruct proper learning.
Researcher’s Conclusions / Recommendations: As with the previous two articles reviewed, this one by DiBella echoed the need for the U.S. Army to adopt an integrated approach in its efforts to fulfill the need to be a continuous learning organization, also offering the view of that learning from past mistakes (e.g. using the AARs) is important.
Relevance of the Concepts to the Military: Since the article refers only to the U.S. Army, it is totally relevant to the military.
References
DiBella, A., J. “Can the Army Become a Learning Organization? A Question Reexamined.” (2010). JFQ / issue 56, 1st quarter 2010 pp 117-122. Retrieved from http://www.ndu.edu/press/lib/images/jfq-56/19.pdf
Flowers, R., B. “Learning Organization Doctrine: Roadmap for Transformation.” (Nov 2003). US Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved from http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army/learningdoctrine.pdf
Gonzalez, A., M. “The U.S. Army: A Learning Organization.” (Apr 2010). Social Science Research Network. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1588284

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