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Learning organisations OECD/France workshop on Human resources, education and innovation, 7-8 December 2009 Nathalie Greenan Centre dEtudes de lEmploi.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning organisations OECD/France workshop on Human resources, education and innovation, 7-8 December 2009 Nathalie Greenan Centre dEtudes de lEmploi."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learning organisations OECD/France workshop on Human resources, education and innovation, 7-8 December 2009 Nathalie Greenan Centre dEtudes de lEmploi and TEPP-CNRS Edward Lorenz University of Nice-CNRS

2 What is a learning organisation? A quantitative assessment at the European level based on the EWCS The spread of learning organisations The trend in work complexity Policy issues Outline

3 An organisation able to adapt and compete at low cost through learning Common definitional ground multi-level concept: individual-team- organisation role of learning cultures: beliefs, norms and values supportive of employee learning specific HRM policies supportive of learning culture What is a learning organisation? (1)

4 Tradeoffs in organisational design stimulate dynamic properties / provide stability in the organisational structure standardisation/routine versus mutual adjustement/innovation Scientific and technical skills deal with an employee participation contraint to innovation in order to avoid conflicts between vested interest in the organisation characteristics of the innovative idea socio-demographic characteristics of the workforce soft skills group processes customer focus transparency and fairness What is a learning organisation? (2)

5 The spread of learning organisations in the EU-15 (1) Percent of employees by cluster reporting each variable Variables Discretionary learning Lean production TaylorismTraditional organisation Average Learning new things in work Problem solving activities Complexity of tasks Discretion in fixing work methods Discretion in setting work rate Horizontal constraints on work rate Hierarchical constraints on work rate Norm-based constraints on work rate Automatic constraints on work rate Team work Job rotation Quality norms Responsibility for quality control Monotony of tasks Repetitiveness of tasks Source: EWCS 2000

6 The spread of learning organisations in the EU-15 (2) Source: EWCS 2000

7 Learning organisations and innovation mode(1) Countries with a high proportion of learning forms of work organistion have more lead innovators: higher in-house creative capacity Countries where lean and taylorist forms of work organisation dominate have more non-innovators and technology adopters: more reliance on outside suppliers of new technology

8 Learning organisations and innovation mode (2)

9 Learning organisations, HRM and organisational culture Model 1Model 2Model 3Model 4 Discretionary Learning LeanTayloristSimple Further training.27*** ***-.44*** Payment system Piece rate-.28***.42***.21***-.50*** Pay based on group performance-.29***.31***-.09 Pay based on enterprise performance.29*** ***-.20* Consultation and assessment Frank discussions with employer over performance.06.11** *** Consultation over changes in working conditions.15***.25***-.21***-.27*** Regular formal performance assessment-.17***.42***.11*-.46*** Assistance Assistance from employer.09* External assistance.03.15***-.39***-.11 Learning culture measures Apply ones own ideas in work.64***.12**-.99***-.36*** Intellectually demanding job.25***.49***-.53***-.55*** Opportunities to learn and grow at work.28***.21***-.36***-.53*** Source: EWCS 2005

10 Learning organisations in public and private sectors in EU-27 Source: EWCS 2005

11 4 core characteristics of complex work: Complex tasks Learn new things Choose or change the order or tasks Choose or change the methods of work The complexity paradox (1) Source: EWCS 1995, 2000 and 2005

12 The complexity paradox (2) Source: EWCS 1995, 2000 and 2005

13 Work complexity has all the more decreased that forces are present that should contribute to its development: ICT diffusion, growing experience and education, development of the service sector Increasing heterogeneity across EU-15: evidence of a country effect in this trend Objective reasons standardisation polarisation Subjective reasons overqualification organisational changes The complexity paradox (3)

14 The bottleneck to improving the innovative capabilities of European firms might not be low levels of R&D expenditures, which are strongly determined by industry structures and consequently difficult to change, but the widespread presence of working environments that are unable to provide a fertile environment for innovation. If this is the case, then the next step for European policy is to encourage the adoption of pro- innovation organisational practice, particularly in countries with poor innovative performance. Policy issues: Innovation

15 At the individual level, further training is positively correlated with learning and lean forms of organisation Institutional set-up matters: a mobile workforce and labour market policies emphasising expenditures in further training favour learning types of jobs Could a lack of intermediate skills acquired in vocational education and further training create a learning bottleneck and favour more standardised organisations? Need to target further training policies on part time and precarious workers Policy issue: Training

16 evaluation practices, employment security and pay system based on collective performance are positively correlated with learning and lean types of jobs Learning cultures mediates the impact of HRM variables on the likelihood of employee learning HRM policies probably play a role in mitigating conflicts in change situation Need to identify best HRM practices conditional on innovation patterns and institutional settings Policy issue: HRM practices

17 Conclusion: measurement issue Indicators for innovation need to do more than capture material inputs such as R&D expenditures and the available pool of technical and scientific skills. Indicators also need to capture how these material and human resources are used and whether or not the work environment promotes the further development of the knowledge and skills of employees. Need for more data to inform evidence based policy taking into account the interaction between institutions, learning models of organisation and innovation patterns. A survey instrument linking information from employers with information from employees would allow to build a rich set of indicators for scoreboards as well as conducting research giving analytical insights to set hard facts into context.


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