Building learning organizations in engineering cultures: Case study
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The ability of organizations to learn is critical for success. Implementing organizational learning in engineering cultures can be difficult due to a focus on technology instead of people and imbalances among cultures within an organization. A project to transform a medium-sized engineering organization into a learning organization is reported, and the degree, nature, and causes of its success are evaluated. An implementation team developed skills in five disciplines of a learning organization. However the underlying organizational learning concepts were not embraced by the organization at large or incorporated into regular operations. Success was constrained by the organization's ability to share and utilize the knowledge acquired by the implementation team to generate organizationwide commitment to organizational learning. The dominance of the engineering culture and the lack of organizational learning infrastructures and development process experimentation suggest that organizations with a balance among cultures may be more likely to succeed than those dominated by a single culture.