The New Learning Organisation: PART II - Lessons from the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Purpose The purpose of this paper – PART II – is to present the lived experiences of Sensuous Organisational Learning drawn from the educational practices and learning culture of the Norwegian Defence University College, Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy’s (RNoAFA) approach to growing (Military) leaders. Design/methodology/approach The paper reflects the co-creation of actionable knowledge between military officers, academics at the RNoAFA and international scholars engaged as research collaborators. The objective is to present the benefits of “practising knowing through dialogical exchange” (MacIntosh et al., 2012) as an approach to co-creating knowledge for responsible action. In this case, the authors present the conceptualisation and illustration of the idea of the New Learning Organisation they advance. Findings The Sensuous Organisational Learning – 8As framework explains how Attentiveness, Alertness, Awareness, Appreciation, Anticipation, Alignment, Activation and Agility form an integral part of the educational strategy that enables the RNoAFA to respond to the wider Educational Reforms and Modernisation programme of Norwegian Defence. The RNoAFA is presented as an illustration of how the New Learning Organisation serves the common good if Institutional Reflexivity and High Agility Organising were key aspects of the Learning Leadership it fosters. Research limitations/implications Consistent with MacIntosh et al.’s (2012) dialogical exchanges the authors present the relational and intersubjective nature of meaningful dialogue between the co-authors that provides scope for integrative stories of practice. The resulting illustrative example of the New Learning Organisation, is an account of the learning experienced. Hence, this paper is presented neither as a traditional empirical paper nor as a self-disclosing or even auto-ethnographic account. Instead, it is one of a series of research outputs from innovative research collaboration between the authors all committed to “practising knowing”. Practical implications The New Learning Organisation promoted here focuses on responsible action to serve the common good. Investing in Institutional Reflexivity becomes critical in continuing to broaden the ways of being and becoming. As individuals, communities and organisations, that comprise the institution (in this case Norwegian Defence) grow and elevate their practical judgements to serve the common good the capacity to engage in reflexive critique heightens organisational agility and leadership. Social implications Embedding care as the essence of learning not only enables accepting mistakes and owning up to these mistakes, but reinforcing the strength of character in doing so demonstrating what it means to be resilient, flexible and ready to respond to the VUCA. This is what permits High Agility Organising to foster learning on an ongoing basis driving the commitment to continually renew operational and professional practices. By focussing on how the common good can be better served, the New Learning Organisation cares to pursue the higher purpose that social actions must serve. Originality/value Advancing leadership as a personal, relational and organisational quality supported by an orientation towards practising goes beyond single, double and triple loop learning. In doing so, the Learning Leadership that drives the New Learning Organisation energises Attentiveness, Alertness, Awareness, Appreciation, Anticipation, Alignment, Activation and Agility. This paper marks a new chapter in Organisational Learning research and practice by demonstrating the value of sensuousness as a foundation for improving the practical judgements across professional practices.