Importance of Organizations to Harness Knowledge to Gain a Competitive Advantage

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999 words
Harvey Mudd College
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Literature review
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Definition of organizational learning varies, with different scholars trying to bring out the actual meaning. In this regard, the majority have considered it as an experience and not necessarily as a change. Therefore, organizational learning is defined as an implementation of new ideas brought about to improve on experiences. As a result, learning within the organization enhances the ability to harness and gain competitive knowledge (Appelbaum & Gallagher 2000). Importantly, learning is used as a tool to address dynamics in the global markets, technological innovations, restructuring of corporations and overcome unstable economies. Additionally, organizational knowledge is usually embedded in various repositories which not only include individual employees and their daily routines but also memories of transactions within the system. However, organizational learning cannot be achieved without continuous research to develop more advanced approaches and processes (Weldy 2009). It is important for organizations to the role continuous training plays in improving performance and embraces it effectively. Therefore, there is great connectedness between organizational learning and competitive advantage.


Training help companies achieve competitive advantage through exploration of links between knowledgeable employees and appropriate communication. Additionally, training conducts initial qualitative analysis to determine quality concepts that will improve the company standards and move the company forward (Weldy 2009). It is important to note that through knowledgeable staff members, an organization can tap into the intangible assets. This greatly adds value to the organization, the members of staff and also the society which also derives benefits from the healthy economy. However, a companys failure to set up appropriate structures may not significantly reap from the knowledgeable staff.

Therefore, setting up better structures leads to utilization of knowledgeable staff for the benefits of the company. Failure to which, knowledge being an asset can easily be transferred to the competitors (Argote & Miron- Spektor 2011). Importantly, organizational learning plays a crucial role in the organizational ability to adapt to changes in the corporate structure, management, and technology. It is a continuous process that examines the internal and external factors that may affect the organization and the impact they would have. Currently, the rate at which changes occur in the management practices and technological advances is doubling each month. Hence, through continuous learning employees have a great impact towards the companys ability to compete competitively?

In todays workplace, failure to continuously educate the employees and appreciate the advice they offer, somehow the organization has lost it. Learned employees are core process within the organization to address the changes in the economy before. Today, people have the authority to work more innovatively, more independently and more individually (Dada & Fogg 2016). At the same time, they end up doing more with less and carry out new responsibilities with higher achievable targets.

Learning as a strategic initiative in organizations

Continuous learning within an organization is a strategic initiative to the organization since it facilitates individual and team learning. This improves on organizational performance, which is a critical organizational success (Vera and Crossan 2004)). Additionally, it enables companies to compete effectively in an ever dynamic environment and offers continuous improvement in the business operations and innovations. Likewise, learning as strategy provides additional value to the employees and the organization. In this regard, companies that have embraced continuous learning are always better placed than those that have not. In most cases, knowledge gained through training provides a better foundation for the organization in formulating their vision, mission, goals, and objectives which are essential keys to success.

Similarly, according to Serenko & Bontis (2017), it is important for organizations to make learning an integral part of their processes for growth and development, efficiency, and effectiveness, innovation and success purposes. A clear understanding of all these processes can only be achieved through continuous training. With employees knowledgeable in these areas, it will improve the organizational performance which is the only sustainable competitive advantage. Apparently, the organization will be better placed in responding to unpredictable and more turbulent business operations and environment. Notably, organizational ability to put more emphasis on the staff training and empowerment can be such a great resource for both present and the future.

Apart from employees training and learning, organization management should also make follow-ups to ensure implementation of new ideas in the workplace (Weldy 2009). The essence of training is to equip the individuals with the necessary skills and expertise. In return, individuals should apply the skills and knowledge to the job, to improve it and gain a competitive advantage over the rest. Learning offers the capability to make changes that improve the daily operations of the business and ultimately improving performance (Serenko & Bontis 2017). Implementation of new ideas provides a platform from which employees can learn, apply and retain valuable skills that significantly improve performance.

In conclusion, organizational learning plays a crucial role to achieve competitive advantage. Through the establishment of staff training program, members gain new and valuable ideas that once implemented into the business operation would significantly improve performance and gain competitive advantage. Additionally, the acquired skills ensure effective competition, especially in the current ever-changing business environment. Development of clear goals and objectives that are in line with the organizational policy statement enhances business performance. Importantly, through training more developmental ideas are brought forward for implementation not only for the present days but also for the future. In this regard, employee training forms a strategic goal that its application would affect not only current performance but also future.


Appelbaum, S. H., & Gallagher, J. (2000). The competitive advantage of organizational learning. Journal of Workplace Learning, 12(2), 40-56.

Argote, L., &Miron- Spektor, E. (2011). Organizational learning: From experience to knowledge. Organization Science, 22(5), 1123-1137.

Dada, O., & Fogg, H. (2016). Organizational learning, entrepreneurial orientation, and the role of university engagement in SMEs. International Small Business Journal, 34(1), 86-104.

Serenko, A., & Bontis, N. (2017). Global ranking of knowledge management and intellectual capital academic journals: 2017 update. Journal of Knowledge Management, 21(3).

Vera, D., &Crossan, M. (2004). Strategic Leadership & Organizational Learning. The Academy of Management Review, 29(2), 222-240.

Weldy, T. G. (2009). Learning Organization and Transfer - Strategies for improving performance. The Learning Organization, 16(1), 58-68.

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