Implications of the Learning Organization Phenomenon for the Training and Development Field.

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This paper explores the implications of the learning organization phenomenon for the training and development field. In particular, it considers the following questions: what is a learning organization? - how and why has this phenomenon come about?; does the pursuit to become a learning organization signal a greater or lesser role for the training profession?; and what is or should be the role of training in learning organizations?
Today, the rapid pace of change that we all experience demands an unparalleled learning response from organizations (Bennett, 1994). Major economic, social and technological pressures from all around the globe have dramatically altered the environment within which organizations must
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The training profession must broaden its view of itself from that of information purveyor and skill builder to that of learning enabler, learning manager and learning strategist (Tobin, 1998). The way that trainers respond to the demands of their environment - the new organizational realities - will determine in great measure what lies ahead for the profession in the future.
Organizational environments have become increasingly complex (Pasmore, 1988) for a variety of reasons during the latter part of the twentieth century, including globalization, the advent of the knowledge era and advances in information technology (Toffler, 1970; Bell, 1973). Each factor has played a significant role in the current-day interest in the learning organization and the emerging role of training within that setting. Table 1 summarizes the major environmental forces that have created the need for the learning organization and the related challenges facing training today.
Globalization is one of the most powerful influences that organizations face (Benveniste, 1994; Harrison, 1994; Kanter, 1995). Information technology, communication, travel and trade that link the world are revolutionary in their impact (Harrison, 1994; Kanter, 1995, p. 11; Gates, 1999). Whether globalization is a source of provocation or inspiration depends on an organization 's preparedness to step up to the world playing field.
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