The role of leaders in building organizational learning capacity
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In a world in which social, economic, and environmental circumstances are continuously evolving and increasingly complex, leaders face the challenging prospect of navigating their organizations through unpredictable operating conditions. Finding a way to tap into the learning capacity of the people who comprise their organizations may be the answer to adapt and to survive. This qualitative research study explored the role of leaders in building this organizational learning capacity. The literature identified three domains of personal, interpersonal, and organizational capacity for learning in an organizational setting. Interviews with three senior leaders who had successfully built learning capacity in their respective organizations revealed four elements of leader commitment: (a) to the process of building learning capacity, (b) to organizational objectives and results, (c) to personal actions and behaviours, and (d) to the people of the organization. Each of the four elements of leader commitment spans the three domains of learning capacity that can guide leaders as they build organizational learning capacity.