Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism, and Practice


Barry Sugarman

Publication Date

Fall 1997


This essay examines the idea of the "Learning Organization" and some implications of its challenge to the long-dominant "Bureaucratic" paradigm. The central thesis of the L.O. paradigm holds (1) that a key success factor for any organization in the age of global competition is its ability to innovate continuously, appropriately, and faster than its rivals., and (2) that that can only happen through releasing the untapped capabilities of all its employees. Hence the key to successful organizations lies not in the areas of better control by managers but in the areas of better learning by all workers (including managers) -- not just individual learning but also (even more) collective learning. The Learning Organization approach is not just about improving productivity and work satisfaction, however. It is also about the fundamental ethics of the workplace and the marketplace. Whereas, under the old paradigm, it seemed that we could only have economic success at the expense of humane values, it now seems that we can only have them both together . That is the paradigm shift. JPPP article on L.O. Sugarman



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