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Title: Towards being a 'learning organisation' : a business excellence approach
Author: Chan, Mun Kitt
ISNI:       0000 0001 3526 889X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2008
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The literature on the Learning Organisation (LO) falls into two broad categories. First, that which treats the LO as a variable and something that can be designed into an organisation and which has significant influence on other organisational outcomes (eg. Watkins and Marsick, 1993; Cullen, 1999). Second, that which treats the LO as a metaphor to describe an organisation (eg. Garvin, 1993; \Vest, 1994). It basically views the organisation as a cultural phenomenon and sees the LO as a particular variant of culture. This research focuses on the first category and attempts to find out whether moving towards being a LO leads to enhanced organisational performance. The ideas that surfaced represent a shift to organisational development and growth by using the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award strategic determinants as a proxy to move towards being a LO, namely (i) leadership, (ii) strategic planning, (iii) customer and market focus, (iv) measurement, analysis, and knowledge management' (v) workforce focus; (vi) process management, an~ (vii) business results. The case study company in this research is NIUe LeamingHub Pte Ltd (LHub), a newly incorporated small and medium size entity which decided to embark on ISO 9000 and other Singapore Quality Award (Singapore's equivalent of Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award) related initiatives. It is an account ofproblem situations and events that took place in the organisation over a period of one year from July 2005 to July 2006. Questionnaire survey and evidentiary documents were used as primary and secondary sources of data collection to gather detailed information about the entity over a period ofone year, with a view to obtaining in-depth knowledge. From the findings on whether LHub has moved towards being a LO by adopting the Singapore Quality Award (SQA) business excellence approach, there is a seemingly positive show of results in the 6 strategic determinants of (i) Leadership, (ii) Planning, (iii) Information, (iv) People, (v) Processes and (vi) Customers in LHub from year 2005 to 2006 although dissatisfaction index has mcreased slightly. It appears that although LHub could not claim to 'be' a La, it might have moved towards becoming one in some respects. On whether there is an improvement in LHub's business results, the findings only partially support the hypothesis that there is an improvement in the areas of (i) sales revenue and profitability, (ii) customers' satisfaction, and (iii) employees' satisfaction after adopting the SQA business excellence approach. This is because only (i) and (iii) show signs of improvement and (ii) has a dropped in desired outcome. Moreover, for (i), the improvement is not statistically significant. Finally, the reader may wish to note that while the Malcolm Baldrige approach is being used as a proxy to move towards being a La, this research does not devise rules for managers to transform their companies into Las. There are no neat models or rules for implementation which can be applied easily in a wide range of contexts and settings. However, it is hoped that this research will strike a chord with practising managers as well as with acaqemics - purely because it conforms more closely with their own tacit understanding oforganisational realities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available