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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 144-149

An investigation of the effect of the components of the learning organization on knowledge application at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences

1 Health Management and Economics Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 Education and Training, Area 3, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
3 Finance Management, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication26-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
Azadeh Alavi
Health Management and Economics Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.211647

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Introduction: The need to create learning organizations results from the fact that with the increasing complexity and speed of developments, the uncertainty increased in organization environments. Learning is the most important way to improve long-term performance. The main objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of learning organization initiatives on application of knowledge in Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Methodology: This study is descriptive and survey to collect information on the literature the library method and to analyze and test the hypotheses; a questionnaire was used, the validity and reliability (89% of the learning organization and 86% knowledge) of which is verified by a number of teachers and experts in the field. The study population consisted of 623 university faculty members, using a simple random sampling, 155 questionnaires were distributed among them. Data analysis was performed by SPSS software, using the mean, standard deviation, one sample t-test, correlation, and multiple regression. Results: There is a relationship between the components of the learning and application of knowledge in university under study. Among the components of a learning organization, the best predictor of knowledge application, according to the results of multiple regression, is a teamwork with an average of 2.65 and a standard deviation of 0.754 and led with an average of 2.61 and standard deviation of 0.519. Based on the coefficient of determination, teamwork alone explained 20% of the variance of application of knowledge and with the introduction of the leadership variable rate of variance explained increased to 25%. Conclusions: The results support the idea that all the components of a learning organization have a positive impact on the university's application of knowledge, and a significant relationship also exists between them. Further, greater emphasis should be placed on the strengths of the relationship, such as great support of faculty members of missions and goals of university, as the average response from all relations is more than any relationship and also have a huge impact on the application of knowledge. The results showed that the lowest correlation belongs to the shared vision of senior management, faculty, and staff to do what needs to be done.

Keywords: Application of knowledge, knowledge, learning organization, organizational learning

How to cite this article:
Alavi A, Safdarian A, Alavi A, Mashhadizadeh M. An investigation of the effect of the components of the learning organization on knowledge application at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2017;3:144-9

How to cite this URL:
Alavi A, Safdarian A, Alavi A, Mashhadizadeh M. An investigation of the effect of the components of the learning organization on knowledge application at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Jun 23];3:144-9. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2017/3/2/144/211647

  Introduction Top

Change is the only constant feature of today's world with rapid developments. To the extent that the need for change appears more in communities, individuals and organizations are discovering that moving beyond the current or previous situation calls for learning. When learning institutions are established gradually, change is created in the organizational structure and learning organization is formed. One of the main challenges of organizations today is forcing their employees to make changes to adapt to meet the demands and requirements of the environment which are unstable and rapidly changing.[1]

In this environment, issues and solutions have not been prepared and all employees throughout the organization are to think about new solutions and learning new values and attitudes. The new situation requires a new approach to management and a new type of organization.[2] After the publication of the fifth commandment by Peter Senge (1990), managers start thinking about their learning organization. A learning organization is an organization that is continually expanding its capacity to change and adapt, just the same way that people learn, organization learns.[3] A learning organization is an organization that people at all levels of individual and collective increase the capacity to consistently produce results that they really cling to them.

This allows organizations to continuously experience to test, modify, and improve creating and increasingly improve its capacity for growth, learning, and goals.[4] Organizations should use the mechanisms and structures create opportunities for organizational learning.

Infrastructure that provides the foundation for improving learning opportunities is called organizational learning mechanisms (OLMs). OLMs are structural and cultural aspects of learning mechanisms that facilitate the development and improvement of a learning organization.[5] Cultural aspects include a set of shared values, beliefs, norms, attitudes, roles, assumptions, and behaviors that can provide real learning. Shared vision helps to develop a culture of learning. Other values that affect learning include shared or completely different perceptions of the role of individuals and caregivers of the role of learning in the business performance of the organization, authority and empowerment, innovation, and personal responsibility. Structural, institutional arrangements and procedures are structures that allow organizations for systematic data collection, analysis, storage, distribution, and use of information related to the effectiveness of the organization.[6]

Organizational learning implies two things:First, an awareness of the need for different levels of learning and storing knowledge and second, the knowledge stored will be used in practice. What they learn is stored in the organization's memory; organizational memory consists of standard performance practices, shared mental models, documents, and so on. Organizational memory regulates organizational behavior regulation and attracts the attention of leanings to something that they must learn. Organizational learning is divided into three levels as single-loop, double-loop, and secondary learning. They believe that organizations should be fully familiar with all three levels of learning. Organizations must continually improve their ways doing anything (single-loop learning), the capacity to have their application in practice (double-loop learning) and Finally, be aware of how single-loop learning and double-loop (secondary learning).[7]

Learning process increases the flexibility capability. People learn during work and reach a clear understanding of the organization and its operations, as well as learning how to do their job better (single-loop learning) and with the opportunity the organization provides to assess the effectiveness of their work, development, and progress (single-loop learning), it enables them to identify useful practices and replace the old practice with new procedures. Another way of learning is learning from other team members or even other teams through workflow and similar methods. It is important for everyone to know knowledge among other people and organizations. They share their knowledge so that they can do things to help each other if needed. These efforts will increase the flexibility of the organization.[5]

Peter Senge to examine history of a learning organization has raised five components which include transparency of goals, experimentation, effective transfer of knowledge and teamwork.[6] According to Senge (1385: 10), organizational learning is an organization where people continually expand their capacity to study the expected results, new patterns of thinking are nurtured, the wishes and desires of research groups are reached, and staff continuously learn how to learn together. Marquand (1996) with a systematic insight regards an organizational learning as an organization that its members learn collectively and constantly change themselves in such a way that they can target the success of organization by better data collection, management, and the use. According Skyrme and Farrago (2003), a learning organization has systems and processes that constantly boost its own capacity to achieve sustainable goals. In another definition, a learning organization is not only an incentive for members to learn and support creativity but also promotes the ways and means to strengthen appropriate, transfer of learning and creativity among members of the organization and the organization.[8] As we know, the use of knowledge is the ability to use it. In other words, the skills, knowledge, and attitudes are used to work and prove their expertise and ability in the use of learning increases expertise. Therefore, new knowledge needs organizational expertise as part of a learning organization that focuses on abilities not just on knowledge and information.[4]

  Review of the Related Literature Top

No study has been directly conducted on the learning organization and its impact on the use of knowledge, but several studies were conducted on the principles of a learning organization, its establishment, and the impact of knowledge application as one of the knowledge management processes on organization's performance; with regard to the fact that knowledge and learning organization are the two sides of the same coin, some of these studies are mentioned.

The results of Banisi and Malekshahi (2009), under the title of an investigation of learning organization and knowledge management to evaluate the role of high school boys of Amol in the academic year 2009, suggest that among the components of a learning organization and knowledge management in secondary schools in terms of learning with respect to the components of personal skills, mental models, shared vision, system learning, and systems thinking, there is a significant relationship with statistical situation in each of the five principles of the theory by Singh.[9]

The results of Shahin and Fakhimi Azar (2010) in a study, entitled an investigation of the relationship between subsystems of knowledge management and organizational intelligence components in a learning organization, suggest a significant positive relationship between subsystems and knowledge management and organizational intelligence, and also the results indicate that the components of organizational intelligence, common destiny, knowledge application, unity, and agreement are significantly able to predict management systems of other organizations.[10]

The results of Nadi and Damadi (2009), entitled structural equation modeling of relations between learning organization and total quality management and knowledge management in Iran insurance company (explaining a theory), suggest that there is a significant correlation between the levels of learning organization, knowledge management components, and total quality management.[11]

Armstrong and Foley from the University of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, conducted a study on learning organization and its results are provided in a paper entitled a learning organization principles: OLMs. They aim at the elements of learning organizations, including organizational learning principles, and mechanisms that support the creation and maintenance of a learning organization. This research provides a tool for systematically measuring and evaluating progress toward the realization of a learning organization.[9]

Young et al. conducted a research to develop and validate a multidimensional tool for learning organization and communication aspects of the learning organization and organizational performance results.[10] This tool called Dimensions of Learning Organization Questionnaire is a valid tool for researchers to assess the dimensions of the learning organization.[12]

The impact of knowledge management on organizational performance is another research by McCain and Zack in 2005 on the effect of knowledge management on the entire process, including the application of knowledge management and organizational performance in Canada in 19 private sector organizations. Research question: How these processes impact on organizational performance? The results show that there is a relationship among processes, organization performance, and financial performance, and all assumptions are verified at 95%.[11],[13]

Learning - University is the subject of Peterson (1999), the idea of a learning organization and its application at universities and colleges; he stated that universities adopt with changing environments when they can become a learning university.[14],[15]

Lane (2004) investigated faculty members' perceptions about learning organizations and their development. The result showed that faculty members pay more attention to growth factors and their development regarding learning organizations.[16]

The results of Akman (2004) showed that the movement toward learning organizations needs to make changes in vision, mental models, skills, and methods.[17] In the study, Crawford (2004), principal of schools, believed in five principles: Mental models, joint ideals, team learning, individual capabilities, and system thinking for the development and maintenance of schools and to move toward a learning organization; building leadership team is necessary to achieve change, creativity, and shared vision knowledge.[18]

Shafaie (2001) regards misconceptions of the staffs about the power of managers' tendency to power, exclusive and noncompetitive environment, nonsystem thinking, detailed vision and misconceptions about the staff, and the organization as the obstacles to create learning organizations in Iran.[19]

  Methodology and Data Analysis Top

The study is applicable in terms of purpose and descriptive-analytical in term of nature. The population consists of 623 faculty members of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Sampling used in this study was random sampling where first a pilot study has been conducted with 30 questionnaires distributed among the population and after the estimation of the variance of the population, the sample size of 155 people was determined using the formula, and then the questionnaire was distributed randomly among them.

To collect data about the literature, library methods such as books and journals, and to gather the necessary information to confirm or deny the hypotheses, two researcher-made questionnaires with closed questions (including 4 demographic questions and 21 questions for the learning organization component and 15 questions for the application of knowledge) were used to determine the validity and reliability of which Cronbach alpha coefficient for components of the learning organization of 89% and for knowledge application, 86% was obtained. In this study, to analyze the data extracted from the questionnaire, SPSS software (IBM ® SPSS Statistics Version 19, United State) was performed at descriptive and inferential statistics using mean, standard deviation, one sample t-test, correlation, and multiple regression.

  Results Top

The correlation coefficient between all components of the learning organization and knowledge application was significant in the level <0.05 and it can be concluded that these components have an impact on the application of knowledge [Table 1].
Table 1: Mean, standard deviation, and correlation coefficient between the components of the learning organization and knowledge application

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According to [Table 2], the components of the learning organization best predict teamwork, and leadership. In other words, teamwork and leadership are predictors of knowledge application; based on the coefficient of determination, teamwork alone explained 20% of the variance; by the arrival of leadership variable, the rate application of knowledge explained variance will be increased by 25%.
Table 2: The results of multiple regression

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  Discussion and Conclusions Top

According to the results, all components of the learning organization have an impact on the application of knowledge in the academic community. The results of this research are consistent with research results of Banisi and Malekshahi (2009), which examines the role of the learning organization on knowledge management of Amol city's high school principals in the academic year 2009–2010, and the results indicate a significant relationship among the components of the learning organization and knowledge management in the community.[9] However, Ghadamgahi and Ahanchian in a study examined the status of schools in the city of Mashhad based on the characteristics of learning organizations (Peter Senge's point of view) with a sample of 36 schools (180 teachers and 36 principals) have concluded that the situation in schools is far from Senge's five disciplines in terms of learning and research as based on the main variable of the study; there is a significant difference in educational levels. Roznegarton (1999) in his report mentioned the impact of the learning characteristics of a learning organization on cooperative learning increase inside as well as outside organizations related to main organization.

Meanwhile, the results of research by Shahin and Fakhimi Azar (2011) show a significant positive correlation between knowledge management system and organizational intelligence and also the results indicate that the components of organizational intelligence, common destiny, application of knowledge and unity, and agreement between are able to significantly predict the subsystem of knowledge management in other organizations (909). Aligner and Yang (2000) also emphasized on the positive relationship and effect of the concept of the learning organization on organizational performance. Leith Wood et al. (1995) indicate the positive impact of management practices to develop and the efficiency of schools by examination of the management of change in schools and its impact on organizational learning in educational centers [Figure 1].
Figure 1: The conceptual model of organizational learning mechanism

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Amirkhani (2000) reviewed the characteristics of a learning organization in the Jihad; he reported a distance between the criteria governing Jihad and learning organization. Shafaie (2001) also conducted research on the obstacles to create a learning organization; he examined starting barriers toward learning organization and named four main obstacles. The results of Nadi and Damadi (2009) in Iran Insurance Company show a significant correlation among levels of learning, knowledge management components, and total quality management.[11]

Syed Naqavi (2000) in the comparison of public and private organizations in the field of learning organizations mentioned high quality of private companies in comparison with public companies mentioned. Bararpour (2006) barriers to learning in public universities were studied, and the results showed that if the scientific-educational authorities are concerned about improvement and learning in universities in the country they should embark on the implementation of the six commands:

  • Strengthen national identity and pride rather than addressing issues such as nation, ethnicity, and sectarian polarization
  • Creating a shared vision based on national constructive pillars and transmission of visions and announcing it to all layers of the organization
  • The development of shared mental models in the organization
  • The development of interpersonal skills to solve the real problems of the people in the organization and community
  • Development of system thinking rather than linear thinking to analyze and understand complex issues
  • Creation of favorable conditions for constructive dialog between people in the organization. The results of this study are in line with the findings of the study on the positive impact of learning initiatives at universities in the country.

On the other hand due to low mean hypothesis using the results of the annual evaluation system in order to resolve problems of the university, And the great influence of motivation on the application of knowledge, measures should be taken to eliminate this weakness. One of the strengths that can be pointed out from the results is a positive correlation between the components of the learning organization and application of knowledge.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Senge PM. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of Learning Organization. Currency 1990 ( first edition) 2006 (second edition);24:722-33.  Back to cited text no. 1
Daft RL. The New Era of Management: International Edition. Mason: South-Western Thomson; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 2
Nancy L, Robbins SP. Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior. Third Canadian Edition 1-1 Copyright © 2007 Pearson Education Canada;4:11-37.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sarlak MA. Knowledge age organizations. 1st ed. Tehran: PNU Publishing Co.; 2005.  Back to cited text no. 4
Rowly JA. Creatig a learning organization in higher education. Ind Commer Train 1998;30:16-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Gah SC. Improving organizational learning capability: Lessons from two case studies. The Learning Organization. 2003;10:216.  Back to cited text no. 6
Hasgall A, Shoham S. Knowledge processes: From managing people to managing processes. J Knowl Manag 2008;12:51-62.  Back to cited text no. 7
Iandoli L, Zollo G. Organizational Cognition and Learning: Building Systems for the Learning Organization. 2007. p. 362.  Back to cited text no. 8
Benny CD, Parinaz. Malekshahi AR. The role of knowledge management, learning organization in the city of Amol boys' secondary school in the academic. J Educ Manage 2009;2:5.  Back to cited text no. 9
Shole S, Azar F, Sirous. The relationship between intelligence and organizational learning, knowledge management subsystem. Beyond Management 2011;5:211.  Back to cited text no. 10
Nadi, Damadi. Modeling the structure and relationship between the learning organization and knowledge management in Iran insurance company. J Industrial Management 2010;4:1-14.  Back to cited text no. 11
Yang B, Watkins E, Marsick J. The construct of the learning organizations: Dimensions, Measurement and validation. Hum Resour Dev Q 2004;15:31-55.  Back to cited text no. 12
Salavati A. A Model for Knowledge Management in State Organization in Iran. Ph.D Thesis in Management, Allameh Tabatabai, Department of Accounting and Management; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 13
Armstrong A, Foley P. Foundations for learning organizations: Organizational learning mechanisms. Learn Organ 2003;12:402-10.  Back to cited text no. 14
Paterson G. The learning university. Learn Organ 1999.  Back to cited text no. 15
Lin H. A Study of Learning Organization and Faculty Development in Higher Education. Umipro. DAL-A65102. 2004;6:430.  Back to cited text no. 16
Ekman A. Learning organization in theory and practice. Sony Corporation, 105. Free Press: New York, 2004. p. 218.  Back to cited text no. 17
Crowford L. High school leadership principal practices and beliefs within the learning organization. 2004. Available from: http://cranfordville.com/Cranfordville/resumelc.htm [Last accessed on 2016 Jun].  Back to cited text no. 18
Shafaie R. Obstacles in Establishing Learning Organizations in Iran. Unpublished M.A. Thesis. Tarbiat Modares University; 2001.  Back to cited text no. 19


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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