The LabOA Project
Born from a partnership between the Centre for Community Organizations (COCo) and Centraide of Greater Montreal, the Learning Organizations Laboratory Project (LabOA) aims to reflect on the best ways to support and equip community organizations in the development of lasting capacities for learning and knowledge-sharing. Through the course of research that has combined literature review, interviews with specialists, experimentation, A LOT of learning from mistakes, we are proud to present to you our interpretation of the learning organization.
The Learning Organization
The concept of the learning organization was largely popularized by Peter Senge in 1990 in The Fifth Discipline, which defines learning organizations as, “Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.” Since the publication of Senge’s work, the popularity of the concept has given rise to a multitude of definitions and interpretation, so much so that it is now difficult today to offer a universal definition of the learning organization. More so, rather than provide yet another definition, we have worked to identify the principal dimensions of a learning organization through the lens of an inclusive, contextualized, and operational model for non-profit organizations.
Our Model of the Learning Organization
The model of the learning organization that we are putting forth is inspired by the model that was created by Anders Örtenbald. Its construction, however, has been considerably enriched by data we have gathered in the field throughout the course of this project with the end goal of creating a model that is relevant to non-profit organizations today. This model can be broken down into four dimensions (graphic in English coming soon!): Climate, Structure, Capacity to Navigate Complexity, and Collective Learning in Practice.
Its dimensions are not prescriptive. They represent, moreso, guiding principles for the creation of a learning organization, rather than rigid steps to follow. Highly integrated and interdependent, these four dimensions form the whole of the learning organization.
With the intention of supporting the development of lasting capacities for learning among organizations in the networks of both Centraide and COCo, we are currently concocting an immersive learning experience that will allow participants to explore at great depth each of the model’s dimensions and to connect them to their own organizational contexts.
We are aiming to offer participants a space for learning that is innovative, experiential, participatory, inclusive, generative, and transformational. In other words, we want them to live what it means to be a learning organization.
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