RE: Technical Services Emerging Matters

Posting to Autocat

On Wed, 17 Nov 2010 10:08:15 -0500, Sabanadze, Irina wrote:

>Dear Autocaters,
>Are you familiar with the concept of Learning Organisation (LO) as described by many authors as, for instance, in the blog post “Knowledge: the Key to Competitive Advantage for Learning Organisations” written by Lalita Chumun
>Do you feel the transitioning to the LO is realistic at this time?

Thanks for pointing this out. In my view, this idea of “learning organisations” is similar to Darwinian evolution: organisms (or organizations) must adapt to their environment or be ruled against. In times of very little change, such as during the age of dinosaurs when everybody could get along happily and lazily munched on the leaves that grew everywhere or they just ate one another, nobody had to exhibit much in the way of new ideas or new actions, and thus, during such easy times there is less need for these “learning organizations”; but in times of greater environmental change, everybody must exhibit much more innovation and adaptability or risk being “ruled against”. It doesn’t matter if these organisms are bacteria, dinosaurs, people, or organizations.

So, while I completely agree with this posting, there are other factors that must be taken into account: above all, time and money. Major changes demand time–primarily for trial and error–and in our present climate, there seems to be little time. Plus, training is not free and someone has to pay for it, either the individual or the organization. These costs can be substantial, and often the stated goals of the training are highly nebulous and therefore, difficult to justify during times of restricted budgets.

Finally, there is another factor determining adaptability, perhaps the most important one, when it concerns organisms or organizations with intelligence, and that is: the Goal. Dinosaurs and mammals had no goals of what they wanted to become and things just happened to them, while we can at least try to foresee what would be for the best and try to work our way toward those goals. What are the goals of the library community today? What do we want to change into? Too much change and we become something else; not enough change and we prove ourselves not to be the “fittest”. Therefore, the “learning organization” must have shared goals in mind. There is a lot of confusion on these basic issues.

Not that this should be surprising since almost all “information-based” organizations are confused: the news industry, the music industry, the book industry, and so on; while the confusion within each sector has deep ramifications for society. It just seems we are facing the so-called “perfect storm” today. The dinosaurs had their Permian-Triassic extinction event, and our society has the Internet-Global Financial Crisis, 2008-2009. (By the way, I just discovered that in LCSH, the financial crisis is over, echoing the pundits. Perhaps Financial crises–21st century would be a better choice? But I find that one too frightening!)

I hope we prove ourselves to be more adaptable than the dinosaurs and display the innovation of our tiny mammal ancestors. One important asset would be instituting these “learning organizations”, if that proves possible.

That’s my opinion, anyway!