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Activity-based measurement extending attribute-based measurement of learning organisations

This thesis describes the development and testing of the Learning Organisation Quick Scan (LOQS), an activity-based methodology, incorporating qualitative elements, that extends previous attribute-based quantitative attempts at measurement. This research study offers a number of contributions to new knowledge, the principal one being the development of a qualitative methodology for measuring the extent to which an organisation can be classified as a learning organisation. Previous quantitative methods of measurement used attributes of a learning organisation as the framework for measurement. Attributes alone were found to be insufficient to function as a framework for assessing an organisation qualitatively and, as a result, the attributes of a learning organisation were broken down further into activities that a learning organisation could be expected to engage in. These activities represent an additional contribution to new knowledge and are the enabling mechanisms by which organisations can be measured. Furthermore, LOQS activities not only allow an organisation to see how well it measures up against the learning organisation ideal, but the methodology also has the potential for providing a prescriptive direction for change, simply by reflecting upon the LOQS activities it does not engage in. In short, the LOQS starts on a Monday and finishes on a Friday. It is fast. During this time, data collection, data analysis and data presentation are all completed. The outputs are graphed and are presented in a format that is easy to understand and can lead to further action if the participant organisation so chooses. The development of the LOQS was achieved through a multiple iterative case study methodology, a process very similar to prototyping in software engineering whereby an initial prototype is designed and tested (in a first case). Reflections from this first case, combined with feedback from the executive team of the first participant organisation, led to modifications of the prototype which was then tested in a second case. This process was repeated in a third iteration. Saturation was reached and the final prototype was deemed ready for a fourth iteration, which was the final test. This fourth test confirmed the prototype as a working methodology. This method of development is presented as an additional contribution. In the process of developing the LOQS, two further findings emerged, one being the discovery of two additional attributes of a learning organisation not previously mentioned in the literature, the second being the grouping of the learning organisation attributes and activities into four dimensions. These dimensions enabled scores to be plotted and presented back to the organisation in a fashion that proved easy to understand. These additional attributes along with their activities are offered as a further contribution to new knowledge. Measuring four organisations as learning organisations within the same industry sector has never before been attempted. Testing the prototype LOQS with four participant organisations led to discoveries about those organisations and as they all came from the same industry sector, new insights into the industry became possible, leading to the discovery of characteristics of this industry sector. These characteristics are presented as the final contribution from this research study.
Type of thesis
Wilkinson, G. B. (2013). Activity-based measurement extending attribute-based measurement of learning organisations (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7268
University of Waikato
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