Leading the Learning Organization

Communication and Competencies for Managing Change

By Alan T. Belasen

Subjects: Business Administration
Series: SUNY series, Human Communication Processes
Paperback : 9780791443682, 532 pages, November 1999
Hardcover : 9780791443675, 532 pages, November 1999

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables

Introduction: Leading the Learning Organization

Style and Approach • Intellectual Niche and Philosophical Predicament • Theoretical Basis: Competing Values Framework • Plan of the Book

Chapter 1. Integrating Management Paradigms: The Competing Values Framework

The Rationalistic and Humanistic Approaches to Management • Polar Relationships • TQM Philosophy • Competing Values Framework (CVF) • The Significance of the Competing Values Framework • Using the CVF to Communicate Leadership Roles and Responsibilities • Avoiding the Trap of Excess: The Key to Effective Interpersonal Communication • Communication Audits using the Competing Values Framework • Assessments at the Personal Level: Self-Understanding • Assessments at the Vertical Level: Communication Audits in Banking, Telecommunications, Power Lab, and Dining Services • Banking • Telecommunications • Power Lab • Dining Services • Summary: Managerial Roles and Contextual Factors • Assessments at the Lateral Level • Using the Competing Values Framework to Audit and Clarify Message Orientations • Conclusions: Improving Organizational Communication


Chapter 2. Adjusting to the Environment: Adaptive Responses and Organizational Change

Change before the Environment Changes • How the Mighty Have Fallen! • Environmental Uncertainty and the Congruence Principle • Strategic Responses to Environmental Uncertainty • Open Systems and Boundary Spanning • Environmental Scanning • Reorganizing • Adaptive Responses of Quasi-Governmental and Utility Organizations • Trust Them! A Bottom-Up Approach to Change • Adaptation: Leadership Challenges

Chapter 3. Linking the Organization: Information Technology and Networking

Telecommuting, Telecenters, and Organizational Productivity • The Human Dimension • Building External Networks • New Challenges for the Broker • Linking the Organization Effectively


Chapter 4. Managing the Value-Based Organization:

Horizontal Structures and Cross-Functional Teams • Empowerment and Involvement • Dimensions of Effective Employee Involvement • Team Leaders: The Key to Quality • Organizational Leadership and Empowerment • Moving toward Horizontal Management • Leadership in Horizontal Structures • Decentralized, Team-Based Organizations • Teams and Teamwork: Shift of Emphasis • Cross-Functional Team Design • Self-Managed Teams • Quality Circles • Multifunctional Teams • Effective Team Development • High-Speed Communications • Moving toward Team-Based Organizations: Principles and Applications • Sources of Motivation in Horizontal Organizations • Principles of Effective Coaching • Value-Based Organizations and Leadership Roles

Chapter 5. Organizing around Processes and Outcomes:

Quality Programs and Reengineering • Strategic Level • Mission Statement • Operative Level • Operational Level • Cross-Functional Teams and Market-Based Forms of Organizing • Broadbanding: Organizing around Core Competencies • Management Responsibility: Taking Care of Processes • Business Process Reengineering • Principles of Reengineering • Reengineering, Paradigmatic Constraints, and the Role of Leadership • Quality Improvement and Process Reengineering • Return on Quality • Total Quality Management: Some Potential Limitations • The GAO Report on the Impact of TQM on Performance • TQM, Baldridge Criteria, and ISO 9000 • Quality Improvement: One Size Does Not Fit All • Conclusions


Chapter 6. Living with Corporate Downsizing: The Hypereffective Manager

The Downside of Downsizing • Training and Technical Support • Survivor Syndrome • Loss of Organizational Energy: Corporate Anorexia • Loss of Organizational Memory: Corporate Amnesia • Changing Strategies Rather Than Cutting Personnel • Preemptive Strategy • Middle Managers: The "In-Group" • Middle Management Traditional Roles • Middle Management Transitional Roles • Adopting Transformational Roles • Becoming Hypereffective • New Challenges for HR Professionals • The Role of Senior Managers • Conclusion: Working Smarter by Developing New Competencies

Chapter 7. Leading Self-Managed Teams: Roles and Communication

The Organizational Context for Self-Managed Teams • The Nature of Self-Managed Teams • SMTs as High-Performance Teams • Performance Measures • Not Leaderless Teams • Misfit of Current Leadership Theories • Leadership in SMTs as an Emergent Network • Need for an Altered Approach • Competing Values Framework of Leadership Effectiveness • Manifestation of Quinn's Leadership Roles in the Behaviors of Members in SMTs • Playing the Roles Effectively in SMTs • Leadership Roles and Communication Media in SMTs • Enactment of the Leadership Roles • SMTs Operating in a Distribution Center • Analysis and Results • Self-Managed Teams in Action • Implications for Management and Team Leadership • Conclusions: The Significance of Self-Management


Chapter 8. Enhancing Organizational Learning: Communication Strategies and Methods

Incremental Versus Breakthrough Learning • Acquiring, Accessing, and Revising Knowledge • Enhancing Organizational Learning: Communication, Strategies, and Developmental Approaches • Facilitating Learning: Internal Networks and Communication Processes • Horizontal Structures, Learning, and Communication Processes • Improving Learning: Linking Programs • Benchmarking • Problem-Solving Communication • The Flow Chart • Fishbone Diagram, Pareto Analysis, Histogram, Interrelationship Digraph • The Storyboard • Deming's Fourteen Principles and the Learning Cycle • Radar Feedback to Enhance Learning • Learning to Deal with Paradoxes • The Competing Values Framework as a Training Intervention • Measuring Learning • Pursuing Meta-Learning: GE's Success Story • Work-Out • Communicate Objective Performance Standards • The Boundaryless Organization and Leadership Roles • Communicating the Vision • Best Practices • Accelerating Learning: Kaizen • Promoting Learning through Culture, Values, and Ideology • GE Value Statement: Business Characteristics • GE Value Statement: Individual Characteristics • Learning from GE • Conclusion: Facilitating Learning and Change

Chapter 9. Learning to Learn: Competency Education for Management Development

Models of Cooperation • Relevance and Accountability • A Customer-Focused Approach to Management Learning and Education: A Competency-Based MBA • Adult Learning and Management Education • Particular Frame of Reference • Psychological Differences/Needs • Aptitude and Perceptions • Cognitive Factors • The Significance of Writing Skills • Enabling Mechanisms and Strategies • Management Education and Distance Learning: FORUM • Validation of Prior Learning • Outcome Assessment • Competency-Based Management Education • Individually Focused • Value-Added • Outcome Oriented • Competing Values Framework as a Competency Model • Competency-Based Management Program: Model Building • The Structure of FORUM's Competency-Based Program • Preassessment • 8x3 Competencies by Role • Postassessment • Summary: Learning and Competence in Management Education • Conclusions: Developing Managerial Competencies and the Mentor Role


Chapter 10. High-Performance Leadership: Initiating Transformational Learning

Exemplary Leadership • Learning and Benchmarking • A Matrix Structure that Works! • Building Corporate Loyalty: Merging Cultures • Global Managers: Mindsets and Competencies • High-Speed Management • Competencies and Capabilities • Developing Future Leaders • The Significance of Diagonal Communication • Managerial Leadership: Values and Skills • The Power of Inner Capabilities • Transforming Abilities and Competencies • Exemplary High-Performance Leadership • The Making of the Hypercompetitive Company • Learning and Transformation • The Revolution of GE: Doing It Jack's Way! • The Importance of Paradoxical Skills • Executive Leadership: A Model of the Competing Roles


Provides students, executives, and managers with vital resources to lead their organizations to higher levels of performance.


Using examples from companies such as General Electric, IBM, Kodak, and ABB, Leading the Learning Organization integrates the latest advances in strategic change, managerial leadership, continuous improvement, and learning and development. Belasen provides insightful and provocative views of how high-performance leaders use organizational learning to achieve breakthrough performance. He strongly argues that managers who avoid questioning their operating premises today will find themselves without market share tomorrow. Leading the Learning Organization is an insightful examination of a variety of modern corporate issues, including adjusting to the marketplace; linking the value chain; living with corporate downsizing; leading self-managed teams; communicating, learning, and developing competencies; managing the value-based organization; and initiating transformational learning.

Alan T. Belasen is Professor of Management and Organizational Communication at Empire State College–State University of New York.


"In order to maintain competitive advantage in rapidly growing markets, today's business professionals must expect and effectively manage changing paradigms. Leading the Learning Organization equips readers with a plan to succeed through invaluable strategies and real-world examples. " — Robert Lento, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Convergys Corporation

"Belasen outlines in great detail the cognitive and behavioral principles of communication-based high-performance leadership. This book is clearly written, interesting to read, and provides insights from more than one hundred organizations. " -- Branislav Kovacic, editor of New Approaches to Organizational Communication

"Leading the Learning Organization, while written with a broad audience in mind, has exceptional relevance for the healthcare industry. It is a valuable resource for leaders in healthcare organizations to help guide them through the tumultuous changes in our environment. " — Richard Boehler, M. D., Vice President for Medical Affairs, St. Peter's Hospital, Mercycare Corporation

"Belasen provides a very comprehensive introduction to the various approaches and techniques that have been used to reinvigorate organizations. I have seen few books of this type that do as good a job with as wide a range of sources. " — Marshall Scott Poole, Texas A& M University