The Learning Company

with Professor John G. Burgoyne

learningFifteen CSML network members and invited guests from as far away as Finland enjoyed a participative afternoon with John Burgoyne, as guests of NOP in Blackfriars.

John is Professor of Management Learning and Head of the Department of Learning at Lancaster University Management School, a visiting Professor at other universities and business schools, as well as working with several large national and multi national organisations. He was a founder member of ‘The Learning Company’ project with Mike Pedler and Tom Boydell.

John explained the basic ideas behind the Learning Company concept, defining such a company as “An organisation that develops itself and its context in a process reciprocally linked to the development of its members and stakeholders”. He explained its advantages, how it works, what makes it happen, and why it is relevant for today, giving examples that many of us could identify with.

It was easy to see how self managed learning can help to produce A Learning Company.

After talking through the differing stages of Career and Development Management in organisations that support The Learning Company, John moved on to critically assess the first ten years.

He identified three contemporary challenges;

  • developing the applications ‘technology’
  • integrating with the knowledge management movement
  • using the academic and practical critique to formulate a second generation ‘model’.

We discussed some of the critiques and their responses, using our own experiences to make sense of the thinking. It was a fascinating and illuminating afternoon.


What makes it happen?

  • A learning approach to strategy
  • Participative policy making
  • Informating
  • Formative accounting and control
  • Internal exchange
  • Development reward strategy
  • Enabling structures
  • Environmental scanning by boundary workers
  • Inter company learning
  • A developmental culture
  • Self development for all