1st Edition

Making Sense of Organizational Learning Putting Theory into Practice

By Cyril Kirwan Copyright 2013

    The ability of a business to engage in real organizational learning and to do so faster and in a more sustainable way than its competitors is being increasingly seen as an essential component of success. In Making Sense of Organizational Learning, Cyril Kirwan examines the wide range of factors necessary to create and sustain organizational learning and knowledge at all levels. At the individual level, the generation of continuous learning opportunities and reflection on experiences are critically important. At the team level, it’s about encouraging collaboration, team learning and the sharing of knowledge. At the organizational level, the emphasis is on building systems to capture and share knowledge and providing strategic leadership for learning. The book shows you how you can best exploit the knowledge that already exists within your organization while at the same time develop the capability of the people that work there. It deals in turn with individual learning; learning with others; learning in organizations; and in particular the role of the HR function and of line managers. Each chapter provides theoretical background and real-world examples. Diagnostic questionnaires, checklists and other tools are also included. Making Sense of Organizational Learning provides an evidence-based argument for the adoption of effective organizational learning policies and practices, and offers a real opportunity to improve performance. Thinking practitioners working in and around learning and development or organization development will find it invaluable, as will those undertaking post-graduate study in HR and related disciplines.

    Introduction; Chapter 1 Foundations of Organizational Learning; Chapter 2 Learning as an Individual Process; Chapter 3 Learning as a Social Process; Chapter 4 Learning in Organizations; Chapter 5 The Learning Organization; Chapter 6 The Role of Human Resource Management; Chapter 7 The Role of the Line Manager; Chapter 8 Evaluating Organizational Learning;


    Dr Cyril Kirwan is a highly experienced management and organization development consultant. Before setting up Cyril Kirwan & Associates he worked for many years in the airline and financial services sectors. He now designs and delivers interventions in areas such as learning and development, leadership, change management and executive coaching for clients in a variety of industries in both private and public sectors. He holds a M.Sc. in Work and Organizational Psychology from Dublin City University and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Henley Business School. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisers (FIMCA), a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD) and a member of the American Psychological Association. He is also an associate faculty member at a number of business schools in Ireland and the UK.

    ’Many managers and students struggle with understanding what learning means, and what they can do to get better at it. This book answers both of these questions in a very accessible way, and will be an invaluable resource for managers, students and educators. It offers specific, actionable insights on how to improve learning for yourself, your team and your organisation.’ John McMackin, Director of Executive and International Education, Dublin City University Business School, Ireland