"Knowledge management and leadership in learning organizations: an integrated prospective"

Essay by juan_uq April 2007

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Introduction:The contemporary organisations of today are different to the ones that existed in the past in terms of techniques, management styles and structures. Historically, traditional management is very much rooted in the ideas of the industrial revolution where a company's competitiveness and success, within a more or less stable environment, depended on the efficiency and control processes while new ideas were seen as a disturbance and workers were not encouraged to think for themselves. These leaders gave directions to direct report subordinates, often with a rather impersonal approach. However times have changed and factors such as globalisation have made the environments to shift from a more stable environment of little change, to a constantly and ever changing dynamic environment. Rapid technological changes, increased competition and power of suppliers, as well as changes in customer needs and demands may alter the demand and supply for goods and services quickly. What was high in demand and what worked well and efficiently yesterday, may be in low or no demand or may not work or be highly inefficient today (Coulson-Thomas, 1997).

Therefore businesses find themselves in a rapidly changing and very competitive global environment, in which the old paradigm of control, power and stability does not hold anymore. Instead, just like biological organisms, organisations are forced to constantly learn and adapt to the changing environment if they are to survive, proper and remain profitable.

For an organisation to change, by constantly learning and adapting, it requires leaders which influence employees towards a common shared vision, and adopt a culture of change, innovation and creativity. Organisations are paying more attention to the idea of learning and changing in order to become a 'leaning organisation' and thus have a competitive advantage. In today's businesses to have a competitive advantage can be very difficult, especially since...