This article covers Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory (LSI) in quite a bit of detail. However, there wasn’t much here that wasn’t already covered in class.The exercises described are essentially the same as we completed in curriculum, with only minor and insignificant differences. There is some overview information about how this information might be used in corporations and other larger organizations.This article map focuses primarily on new information not covered in class.
Why Dumb Things Happen to Smart Companies
§ Constant change in the current business culture means that companies can gain an advantage over competitors by learning how to learn faster.
Symptoms that a company is not “working smart:”
§ You repeat mistakes. “The best way to avoid repeated errors is study failure as assiduously as success.”
§ You duplicate work. “People fail to copy success for the same reasons that they succeed in copying mistakes: They’re afraid or too embarrassed to ask. Sometimes the problem is in systems and structures: They don’t know where to look or looking takes to much time or they have no place to store corporate memory. Sometimes the problem is what one might call an overdeveloped engineer’s mind: ‘I know Ed already did this, but I can do it better.”
§ You have poor customer relations.
§ Good ideas don’t transfer between departments, units, or countries. This is the most common knowledge problem of all. Companies can get past rewarding individual accomplishment by building in incentives for sharing the knowledge base (e.g., nudge people in meetings to talk about what they know, create incentives based on knowledge sharing competence, reward both low performers and high performers for closing knowledge gaps and improving performance).
§ You’re competing on price…rather than relationship building.
§ You can’t compete with market leaders.
§ You’re dependent on key individuals. “Nothing is more dangerous than depending on a few key people…The fault may no lie in your stars. Sometimes people have greatness thrust upon them because others are unwilling to achieve it themselves.”
§ You’re slow to launch new products or enter new markets.
§ You don’t know how to price for service.
Learning Style Inventory
§ Four learning styles: divergent, assimilation, convergent, and accommodative.
§ Divergent style emphasizes concrete experience and reflective observation. Strengths of this style: imaginative ability and awareness of meaning and values, ability to view situations from many perspectives and to organize many relationships into a meaningful gestalt.
§ Assimilating style emphasizes abstract conceptualization and reflective observation. Strengths are in inductive reasoning, creating theoretical models and assimilating disparate observations into an integrated explanation. Focus is on logically sound and precise ideas and theories.
§ Convergent style emphasizes abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. Strengths are in problem solving, decision making and the practical application of ideas. Convergent learners tend to control their emotional expression, and prefer dealing with technical tasks and problems, rather than personal and social issues.
§ Accommodating style emphasizes concrete experience and active experimentation. Strengths are in doing things, carrying out plans and tasks, and getting involved in new experiences; opportunity seeking, risk, taking and action; good at adjusting to frequent change. Accommodating learners tend to discard the plan or theory if their experience doesn’t match up.
Managing the Learning Process
§ “Some organizations employ parallel learning structures. These are defined as apart of the organization that operates alongside the normal bureaucracy with the purpose of increasing organizational learning by creating and/or implementing new thoughts and behaviors. Parallel learning structures consist of a ‘steering committee and a number of small groups with norms and operating procedures that promote a climate conducive to innovation, learning, and group problem solving’ that is not possible in a larger bureaucracy.” (p. 52)
§ FINAL KEY POINT: “The nature of the learning process is such that opposing perspectives—action and reflection, concrete involvement, and analytical detachment—are all essential for optimal learning.” (p. 53)