Organizational Learning: Meaning, Benefits, Best Practices

Organizational learning refers to how individuals and organizations gain insight into their behavior and modify their practices accordingly.

Table of Contents

In the past, organizations were more localized and less globalized. This made sense because the barriers to entry were higher, and there was less access to information. Today, however, we have instantaneous access to millions of pieces of information that can help us make better decisions. This has led many people to question whether organizations need to learn or need access to data so they can make better decisions based on what they already know. This blog will clear all doubts about organizational learning.

organizational learning

What is organizational learning?

Organizational learning improves an organization's performance through its interactions with its environment. It is a continuous process that allows organizations to adjust to change, learn from their experiences, and share those learnings.

This learning is not just about information sharing. It also involves changing how people think, feel and behave in their work roles. The most effective way for this kind of change is by using customer, supplier, or competitor feedback on what works well (or doesn't) within each area of expertise within your company's operations.

Organizational learning and globalization

Globalization is a key driver of organizational learning. Globalization and organizational learning are interdependent (i.e., they work together) and mutually reinforcing (i.e., each one makes the other stronger). However, globalization and organizational learning can also be mutually exclusive in that they can exist but only sometimes be good for each other.

In this case, globalization would be the dominant driver of organizational learning and negatively impact it. When this happens, organizations cannot effectively learn from their international experiences and adapt accordingly.

It is a crucial driver of organizational change. Organizational learning is how organizations learn about themselves, their environment, and their options for action. It involves discovering, understanding, and applying new knowledge to improve performance.

What is organizational learning theory?

It is a theory of how organizations learn. According to this theory, organizations are dynamic and complex systems constantly evolving based on their interactions with the environment around them. Organizations can learn from these interactions by adapting to change, which requires a certain amount of flexibility.

Based on the idea that organizations are dynamic and complex systems, organizational learning theorists developed the concept of corporate culture as an important factor in how well an organization adapts to its changing environment. The cultural values employees hold within an organization influence their attitudes toward change and thus affect their ability to survive in changing circumstances—including those brought about by technological advances, shifting market demands, or competition.

Theorists also identified five crucial themes related to adapting effectively:

(1) relevancy

(2) commitment

(3) capacity

(4) leadership

(5) knowledge management

Why is organizational learning meaningful?

Organizational learning is vital to the organization because it helps the organization improve its performance. In addition, organizational learning is essential to the organization because it allows it adapts to environmental changes.

Finally, organizational learning is vital to the organization because it helps it innovate.


Organizational learning is crucial because it allows organizations to adapt and change. Organizations have no option but to adjust their strategies to compete effectively in a dynamic environment, so they must be able to learn from past experiences and apply what they have learned appropriately in the future.

Organizations must do this to stay caught up to their more successful competitors and become less profitable.

Organizational learning also helps organizations improve their performance by enabling them to identify ways of achieving higher profits at lower costs or better quality products at lower prices.

This can only take place if the organization has access to enough information about its activities so that it can identify areas where improvements might be made without wasting resources on unnecessary experiments or failing initiatives that may not even work out anyway if implemented incorrectly (which usually happens when managers don't know what works best).

Organizations also need to be able to learn from their competitors. This allows them to stay informed about what's going on in their markets and anticipate changes that might take place in the future so they can be prepared for them when they occur. They also need access to information concerning new technologies and business models that could help them remain competitive over time.

organizational learning


Although organizational learning can be a powerful tool, it is sometimes a smooth process. Some of the difficulties that organizations may encounter include the following:

  • Organizational learning can be a slow process. It takes time for employees to learn new skills and techniques, so it may take months or even years before an organization can reap the benefits of its investment in organizational learning.
  • Organizational learning requires the participation of many different people within an organization. This means you need buy-in from all levels of your team if you want your change initiative to succeed. The more buy-in from high-level executives who influence strategic direction and lower-level employees who carry out day-to-day operations, the more successful your change initiative will likely be (and vice versa).
  • Organizational learning can cost money upfront (such as training costs) but saves money over time. By improving productivity and reducing turnover rates among employees who aren't being challenged enough by their current jobs due to lackluster performance reviews every three years since they were hired!


In conclusion, organizational learning is complex and should be approached with caution. It is a precious tool for organizations to use to better themselves, but it also carries many risks that must be considered before implementation.

Related learning terms
What is Learning Technologist?

Learn about the role of a learning technologist, the professional responsible for leveraging technology to enhance learning. Discover the responsibilities, skills, and strategies to succeed in this role.

Skill Sets: The Key to Thriving in Today's Evolving Work Landscape

Explore the definition of skill set and understand its importance in personal and professional growth for effectively navigating today's dynamic world.

What is Cooperative Learning?

Discover the benefits of cooperative learning in the classroom, including enhanced learning, development of essential skills, and improved relationships.

Flipped Learning

Flipped learning is a form of student-centered learning where at least some instruction occurs outside of class. Read to know more.

Learning Terms