The Design of the Learning Organization

In the first section of this chapter, we present the fundamentals of our theoretical model: the systematic approach and the organizational design.

In the second section, we discuss the construction of our research model in the domain of knowledge management.

2.1. From the systemic approach to the organizational design

As the analytical approach1 appears to be insufficient to understand complex, fuzzy, changeable and imperfectly structured situations, which are often encountered in reality, in this chapter, we develop and then apply the systemic approach to organizational design.

2.1.1. Systemic approach

System theory [BER 68, BER 93] was developed to remedy the weaknesses of the analytical approach in dealing with complex situations.

We can present the systematic approach through the lens of a few major principles. Definition and characteristics of a system

Numerous definitions of a system have been presented in the literature (see Table 2.1). In this book, we adopt the following generic definition: a system is a set of elements interacting with one another in accordance with a set of principles and rules. A system’s characteristics will be of varying richness depending on its level of complexity. The model of nine levels of complexity of a system was presented by Kenneth E. Boulding in 1956. In 1985, the same author presented a second model of the hierarchy of systems, with 11 levels2 (see Table 2.2). The nine-level model was ...

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