Towards the Hong Kong Learning Organisation: An Exploratory Case Study

Robin Stanley SNELL, Sandy S. HUI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

A learning organisation (LO) is one that practises organisational learning (OL). Existing, multifaceted models of LOs reflect the diversity of perspectives on OL. Since underlying dimensions of Hong Kong Chinese culture differ from others where LO models have been developed, we derived a model from an actual case of a developing Hong Kong Chinese LO. Interviews were conducted with 25 staff from the organisation, and a model was developed inductively from early interviews and checked against later ones. The emerging LO model had much in common with attributes of existing ones, but there were distinctive characteristics that reflected wider cultural assumptions of high power distance, relational collectivism and long-term orientation, the unique strategic circumstances of the company and the cosmopolitan experience of its leadership. We conclude that key dimensions of Hong Kong Chinese culture, such as Confucian dynamism, can be strengths in an emerging LO. What is required for progress as a 'mature' Hong Kong LO is a matter of conjecture and controversy, but we think that the company studied may need more interpersonal trust across the workforce as a whole, to go with high existing levels of trust in the management. The state of democracy in wider Hong Kong society may be a relevant consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-175
JournalJournal of Applied Management Studies
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes

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learning organization
Hong Kong
collectivism
dynamism
interview
leadership
democracy
staff
management

Cite this

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title = "Towards the Hong Kong Learning Organisation: An Exploratory Case Study",
abstract = "A learning organisation (LO) is one that practises organisational learning (OL). Existing, multifaceted models of LOs reflect the diversity of perspectives on OL. Since underlying dimensions of Hong Kong Chinese culture differ from others where LO models have been developed, we derived a model from an actual case of a developing Hong Kong Chinese LO. Interviews were conducted with 25 staff from the organisation, and a model was developed inductively from early interviews and checked against later ones. The emerging LO model had much in common with attributes of existing ones, but there were distinctive characteristics that reflected wider cultural assumptions of high power distance, relational collectivism and long-term orientation, the unique strategic circumstances of the company and the cosmopolitan experience of its leadership. We conclude that key dimensions of Hong Kong Chinese culture, such as Confucian dynamism, can be strengths in an emerging LO. What is required for progress as a 'mature' Hong Kong LO is a matter of conjecture and controversy, but we think that the company studied may need more interpersonal trust across the workforce as a whole, to go with high existing levels of trust in the management. The state of democracy in wider Hong Kong society may be a relevant consideration.",
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Towards the Hong Kong Learning Organisation: An Exploratory Case Study. / SNELL, Robin Stanley; HUI, Sandy S.

In: Journal of Applied Management Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2, 12.2000, p. 149-175.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

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