This article proposes a way to adapt organizational learning by incorporating a better organizational and industry analysis. Most organizations focus on job/task analysis, but few focus on organizational and industry analysis (Salas & Cannon, 2001).
The author proposes a set of questions to define better the capabilities an organization need to develop in order to execute strategy better.
|Question||Description and example
|What is the industry-specific capabilities?||Each company operates in specific industry. Each industry is subject for specific forces that shape competitors. For example, fast moving goods industry should excel in analyzing market preferences, produce at scale and market products.
Some options to consider in “industry-specific” bucket are regulations, cost control, efficiency, speed and availability, constant changes.
|What trends and changes are impacting the industry?||What capabilities would need an organization to develop in a better search for opportunities and predict demand better? Examples of events that impact an organization might be an economy cycle or a strategic move from a major competitor.
|What is the competitive advantage of the organization and its strategic capabilities?||This is related to how company creates value and differentiate itself from others. Some options are speed, service, constant innovation, distribution power.
|What are the key values and culture?||Each organization has unique strengths and culture. Those are usually transmitted through real-life stories.
|What are the “universal” capabilities?||What capability no matter the industry would benefit us? It is to be argued that capabilities like “alignment” would benefit all types of business. Research on the common values among Fortune 500 companies shows important similarity in values, starting with “ethics” on first place”
In developing said capabilities, organizations should ask three additional questions to measure how feasible is developing a capability through learning.
|Question||Description and example
|To what extent the capability can be developed or learned?||Some capabilities can be developed but other are related to personality. According to the Big Five Personality model, personality traits are relatively stable throughout adult’s life.
|Should a capability be developed internally or recruited for?||For example, should an organization hire only ethical people, or hire unethical people and try to develop them into become more ethical?
|Is there a proof that what a capability company wants to develop leads to the desired outcome.||Recently a major food retail chain instructed cashiers to close all transactions with the phrase “See you tomorrow”. The possible outcome for this organization is to increase store visits and revenue. It is to be seen if this capability although successfully adopted will lead to the desired outcome.
Future research should focus on the importance to define and develop the capabilities at all levels in the organization. For example, understanding what the competitive advantage is of an business should be taught not only to middle and top management, as usually done. Business acumen should be developed at all levels within the organization.
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