The image of a firm, company, or organization as a learning portfolio is an alternative paradigm to the more popular notion of the learning organization. Its characteristics lead us to frame the issue and challenge of learning in and of organizations in different ways. It also provides a bridge from the processes of learning to the content of the knowledge that is generated and used in our organizations. For if knowledge is in the notes, learning makes the music.
The result is different research questions and different avenues and approaches for interventions. For example, what types of knowledge are valued across an organization’s portfolio and how is that knowledge aligned with its strategic direction? What are the diverse ways in which knowledge is acquired, disseminated, and used? How do various forms or styles of learning across an organization conflict or complement one another? Finally, how are resources allocated within the portfolio and how might they be re-allocated to increase a firm’s return on its learning investments?
As theorists and practitioners struggle to make their organizations more adaptable and more resilient (Deevy, 1995), the call to learning will endure. Until a proven formula for learning is found or generated, alternative paradigms will be needed to explore what does or does not help executives make their organizations learn. The ‘organization as learning portfolio’ broadens the view about how learning and organizations can best fit together. ...