Managment Paper (ATTN KIM WOODS)



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Use the course’s Electronic Reserve Readings (ERR), the Internet, or other resources, to find an article that defines the learning organization.

Prepare a 700-1,050-word Article Review that includes the following:

  • Summarize the article.
  • Summarize the author’s conclusion and/or recommendation.
  • Summarize your conclusion and/or recommendation.
  • Summarize how the concept in the article applies to your organization.

Week in Relation to the Course

As management professionals, we must remain focused on the fact that the overall success or failure of our organization depends upon our ability to outperform our competitors in a business climate that is very dynamic. That sounds simple enough but, in reality, it is a concept that is very commonly overlooked. Leaders and managers sometimes get so caught up in the everyday demands of their jobs that subtle changes in the organizational processes go unnoticed. Subtle change can easily evolve into critical challenges for organizations. The most successful management professionals are those who keep their organizations healthy in all areas. Increasing our ability to anticipate, identify, and manage internal and external change forces allows us to keep our organizations focused on the goals that lead to success.

In the coming weeks, we will discover how to employ a detailed model for managing change. Our challenge in Week One is to gain a thorough understanding of what change is, how and why it occurs, and what role we play in the process.  

Discussion of a Key Point, Thread, or Objective

It is important to understand that change is inevitable and dynamic. Change is certain to occur in every organization and will result in some level of anxiety and uncertainty among the workforce. Managers and leaders have two clear options relative to change: to suffer negative consequences from it, or to find ways to manage it as an opportunity for success. Change is a potentially disruptive force that can destroy the morale of a workforce and, eventually, an entire organization.

Because of the speed and complexity of the modern business world, scores of businesses each year are unable to keep pace with the changes they encounter. These businesses suffer from an inability to recognize impending change or to recover from its effects. However, change can, if managed properly, be utilized as a process that transforms an organization from its present state to a more desirable and productive one (Beer, 7).

Change occurs for a variety of reasons. The most common cause is the external forces that exert pressure on the organization. Examples of external forces are competition from other companies, shareholder demands, and market trends. These forces often cause an organization to institute a planned change – one that is intentionally initiated. Technological advances, changes in the global economy, and government regulations are other examples of external forces.


Unplanned change occurs when less obvious pressures are exerted on organizations. As society evolves, so does the workforce and the culture of the organization. The dynamics of workplace relationships dictate that processes involving people are fluid and ever changing.

Individuals and groups that are involved in change are called “change agents.” Anyone in an organization can act as a change agent, possessing the ability to cause, influence or manage change. The role a change agent plays in the change process can be a positive or a negative one.

Change in organizations is constant — it has to be! Less than 60 years ago, workers’ expectations were much different than those of today’s workers. The hierarchical structures of organizations have collapsed into a more horizontal structure because the marketplace moves so swiftly. Less than 20 years ago, decisions were made one tier of management at a time: often by individuals with personal preferences and ideas that differed from the goals or needs of the organization. These structures are not flexible enough to respond to today’s increasing competitive marketplace and consumer demand. In most organizations today, we find less authority held by managers and more latitude given to employees. This enables processes, including change, to occur simultaneously. Undoubtedly, many of you have observed these changes in your own organizations. Some change is planned and some is not; some is beneficial and some is destructive. What we can be sure of is that change is constant – it will always occur. Organizations are always being affected by change to some degree; whether change is a positive or negative force within the workplace is determined by the organization’s preparation for, and response to, the changes it encounters.

Practical Application and Questions for Thought

Change can be seen everywhere. The text discusses Home Depot’s efforts to remain atop the list of home building and improvement retailers. Wal-Mart’s evolution as a retailing giant and the resulting effects upon locally-owned businesses and large competitors like Target and K-Mart provides a similar scenario: there are always a variety of forces acting upon organizations which require them to reassess their position in the marketplace and the goals they hope to achieve.  Management should consistently ask what it can do to identify change and react to it. Similarly, organizational leaders must envision what the future holds for an organization and remain cognizant of what is necessary to achieve organizational ambitions. In order to accomplish this, organizations must insure that they continually learn more about their challenges and capabilities.

A learning organization is one that remains keenly aware of their environment, their assets, and their capacity for achieving success. An effective learning organization maintains the ability to understand its current state, envision a desired future state, and possess the ability to make its vision a reality. All of this occurs through knowledge. Without the ability to constantly acquire knowledge and to transform knowledge into insight, an organization remains sluggish in the face of change. The learning organization will be examined in detail in Week Five. For now, it is sufficient to realize that managers and leaders in learning organizations must constantly consider the following questions:


1.     What is our method for insuring that we recognize and respond to challenges? Is that method effective? How can we improve our abilities in this area?

2.     What are the challenges that threaten the success of the organization?

3.     Are our current organizational vision and goals appropriate for our capabilities and environment? If not, what additional skills do we require and how to we obtain them?

4.     What is our process for instituting change? Does it involve every aspect or the organization as a way for reducing the negative consequences of change?

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