The swift pace at which organizations have to deal with change and competition in our global knowledge based economy connotes that both knowledge and vehicles for creating, managing, and transferring knowledge have to be in a constant renewal. Knowledge creation and organizational learning have been described by many scholars and executive as two of the most critical assets for achieving sustainable organizational performance with a competitive edge. These functional assets are particularly valuable due to their relative and direct relationship with innovative practices and innovation.
In fact, many who have studied ineffective and failing companies over the last decade find a common correlation between their descent and a declining rate of innovation. On the other hand, organizations that manage to maintain competitiveness are often shown to invest in innovativeness by dedicating considerable resources to developing and maintaining a highly knowledgeable and innovative workforce.
A learning organization is a culture. It is 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 to see the whole together. Many scholars posit that developing a learning organization culture complete with learning initiatives such as regular training and e-learning systems is imperative for leadership to sustain the organization’s workforce development given the potential for organization-wide application, consistency and convenience, innovativeness, high return on investment, and higher job satisfaction.
Although research has uncovered strong relationships between organizational learning, innovation and organizational performance, nearly all of this research has focused on learning processes rather than practical knowledge-creation activities, their antecedents and outcomes. Researchers argue that innovation, a result of learning and knowledge creation, requires the acquisition and sharing of knowledge both internally and externally. However, the conduit through which a new learning initiative ultimately results in innovative practices is lacking research. Further, there is a vast gap in current organizational research regarding the role of electronic learning (e-learning) systems in achieving the intended outcomes of learning organization initiatives such as knowledge creation processes and innovative practices.