Project Summary Term Paper
Proposal for Organizational Learning Issues
Organizational learning is the accumulative commodity outcome of learning in small groups. Organizational learning entails collective learning so as to enhance the performance of the organization and attain established objectives. Especially in a non-profit firm, employees have to work on diverse strata and organizational learning is especially relevant so that core aspects of learning may be shared amongst all employees.
The project will strive to undertake certain plans and implement specific processes that will help the non-profit organization to gradually move towards a learning organization by implementing certain ethical checks and controls processes to prevent unethical activities. The current study will strive to provide a background for the establishment of critical objectives that are required for the successful transition of the organization to a learning organization.
The main issues experienced by the firm is that of mismanagement of funds and unethical decision making. Moving towards a learning organization will help the senior management and leadership to be oriented to make ethical decisions and resolve ethical dilemmas. This requires the senior management as well as personnel to be committed to the learning management program. At the same time, several risk management checks and control in key areas will be implemented and specific individuals will be made responsible for smooth functioning and the control of possible risk that the firm may be exposed to.
Accordingly, relevant departments will undergo transitions in processes, systems and the manner in which activities are currently being undertaken. Such restructuring may lead to several barriers and the project also outlines the manner in which such barriers may be removed. Selection of charitable organizations and disengagement from discriminatory work will also be addressed by transforming the firm to that of a learning organization by controlling the exposure to possible risks.
The current research is being undertaken in a non-profit making firm that operates with the sole mission to help the needy by donating to their cause. Shared knowledge and learning will help in sharing systems and processes for community outreach, helping hungry individuals to food pantries, donating for charitable cause and provide shelter to those living in abject poverty.
However, several changes have taken place in the organizational culture after the nineties. First, the organization began to keep a share of money to be used for charitable purposes as their own profit. Second, the accounting department channelizes the money in the proportions considered appropriate to them and not as per directives issued by the person requesting to donate funds to a particular charity. The next issue is that this organization engages in discriminatory practices by avoiding to donate funds to charities working for the uplift of ethnic groups and women. However, the organization announced its plans to provide charities to medium and large sized groups and ignore providing funds to local charities thereby engaging in discriminatory practices.
One of the main issues that needs to be solved is concerned with unethical practices like discrimination and engagement in discrimination in funneling funds. The past two decades have attracted several cases involving accounting failures. Especially in non-profit making firms, excessive accountability can hamper in attaining desired objectives in the fields of alleviating poverty and complicated social development. Organizational learning is required so as to help in emphasizing to concentrate on attaining the mission and hold a broader view on being accountable. On the other hand, certain accounting practices may be destructive to organizational learning and hence it is critical to distinguish the factors that impede and support learning in an organization (Ebrahim, 2005).
Project Goals and Methodology
One of the main objectives of this project is to thoroughly change the organizational culture to include ethics by inculcating organizational learning. The main steps in infusing organizational learning stems from organizational leadership. This organization has a leader who has engaged in unethical decisions by supporting discrimination in channelizing the organizational funds for select charitable organizations. Hence, one of the main goal will be to transform the leadership to align with that of a learning culture.
It is essential for the leadership to be ethically oriented by prioritizing conflicting demands on accountability. Nonprofit firms have diverse devises for accuracy in accountability processes. This particular case needs accountability to be dependent on adaptive learning by transforming this firm to one that supports organizational learning at all levels (Ebrahim, 2010). One of the strategies the firm needs to adapt is to implement adaptive learning. Adaptive learning will be extremely helpful in establishing organizational learning as this mechanism focuses on critical analysis and reflection so as to determine the progress in attainment of established objectives. In order to move towards adaptive learning, the entire organization needs to be oriented towards encouraging a learning culture, establishment of concrete learning practices and systems and supportive leadership.
Organizational learning is essential as it helps in addressing the ethical dilemmas that non-profit organizations face. The next objective is to resolve adequate organizational learning tactics that will help in contributing to the organizational ethical autonomy by determining the reasons for failure and at the same time acknowledge certain behaviour that help in reforming individuals working in the organization and changing the organizational culture to be focused on ethics. Ethical reasoning helps in the development of reasoned positions in order to address ethical dilemmas and prevent ethical failures.
Several barriers may be posed while trying to implement organizational learning. Organizational executives may view learning efforts as their own failure and thereby display disinterest in supporting organizational learning. There may be other barriers like limited organizational resources, learning process inexperience and having unintended outcomes from organizational learning (Zajac & Comfort, 1997).
A balanced scorecard strategy can help in bridging the ambiguity between strategic plans, objectives and implementation areas. Balanced scorecard model helps in the achievement of a system that helps a firm to attain strategic emphasis, by evading the pathology to attain every goal. Hence, the main objective shifts from emphasizing on initiatives and programs to accomplishing desirable outcomes of initiatives and programs (Kaplan, 2001). The balanced scorecard is highly relevant as it successfully engages all organizational resources including human resource, management, leadership, technology, change processes, financial resources and organizational objectives to attain a culture that supports ethics and organizational learning.
However, the organization needs to ensure that enough effort is made in order to develop a culture of commitment so as to transform existing practices so as to address several ongoing issues. The firm needs to engage in evaluation and follow up strategies so as to garner the required suggestions needed for establishing organizational learning. The firm also needs to associate accountability and monitoring so as to resolve several unethical practices.
One of the main challenge that this firm will face is to determine a blend between particular processes and systems that help in ethical restructuring and restoration of accountability and at the same time meet staff and commodity requirements while trying to bring in favorable transitions in organizational behavior. In order to determine this balance a reorientation may be needed especially in the processes of accountability and organizational learning with a goal for upward monitoring and upward accounting. The firm will need to conduct both long term and short term evaluation so as to ensure that organizational learning is implemented. The main problem is that both learning and accountability are relationship constructs and hence its impacts with the devices can be understood only in the implementation stage (Ebrahim, 2005).
Project Risk Management
The project needs to entail some risk management processes like the formulation of training materials to orient the board and senior management team, creating strong practices of employment, and the implementation of processes and policies so as to protect the organization from harm. Moreover the project will give special emphasis on the seven critical areas that are exposed to risk. These areas are those of physical asset loss, fundraising tasks, and investments, probable loss of charitable status, misusing funds, frauds and liabilities in tax. The senior management team needs to be oriented so as to impose efficient internal controls to manage the probable risks in these areas.
The current project is already experiencing issues in financial management. Hence, certain controls need to be implemented in accounting, formulating approval and authority processes, and documenting account related information. Accounting controls are necessary as they help in maintaining correct records of financial transaction thereby helping the management board to evaluate financial operations. The firm needs to recognise relevant authority responsible for approving and performing particular financial transaction including the decision to channelize funds to specific charitable organizations, signing of cheques and dissemination of supplies. Every financial transaction needs to be documented. Specific guidelines for financial reporting, maintenance of files and preserving records needs to be formulated and implemented. The senior management team should meet from time to time in order to evaluate the implementation of several risk management policies so as to check any probability for accounting frauds. Moreover, only few significant individuals should be entrusted with the responsibility to maintain confidential information including the access to critical employee records, accounting files, equipment, supplies and merchandise (Bertrand & Brown, 2006).
The risk management plan should be communicated to both volunteers and staff so as to prevent mistakes. The project will focus on developing orientation for new employees and new volunteers so that they are aware about the risk management program. Organizational learning orientation should be provided so that personnel are trained to undertake activities in an ethical manner. Such training imparted will help in identifying and mitigating possible risks that the organization may be exposed to so as to conserve and protect organizational resources and enhance organizational productivity and learning (Beer & Eisenstat, 2000).
In the fast pace world of today, non-profit firms stand at an increased risk from several circumstances. Conventional risks involving accounting decisions, human resource issues and supervisory decision making may be resolved by establishing an organizational learning culture. However, several other risks like ethical failure, hidden discrimination and protection of organizational assets from the hindrances posed by technology needs to be resolved. Hence, it is highly critical for the non-profit firm to impose several controls and systems that may help in achieving desired objectives and organizational productivity. Hence, it is essential to establish organizational learning processes and procedures so as to significantly orient and transform the firm towards transparency and accountability in its activities so as to promote societal development.
Beer, M. & Eisenstat, R.A. (2000). The silent killers of strategy implementation and learning. Sloan Management Review, 29 – 40.
Bertrand, N. & Brown, L. (2006). Risk Management. Imagine Canada, 1 – 19.
Ebrahim, A. (2000). Accountability Myopia: Losing Sight of Organizational Learning. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 34(1), 56 – 87.
Ebrahim, A. (2010). The many faces of nonprofit accountability. Harvard Business School, Working Paper 10 – 069, 1 – 32.
Kaplan, R.S. (2001). Strategic performance measurement and management in nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 11(3),
Zajac, G. & Comfort, L.K. (1997). “The spirit of watchfulness”: public ethics and organizational learning, Journal of Public Administration, Research and Theory, 4, 541 – 569.
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