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Learning organizations and the value creation process

Special issue call for papers from The Learning Organization

Call for Papers for The Learning Organization

Special issue call for papers from The Learning Organization Journal

The concept of learning organization has been popularized by Senge (1990). Since then, many researchers have tried to establish a learning organization theory by defining “who”, “what”, “how” and “why” learns (Santa, 2015). Implementation models and guides have been designed and measured empirically (Grieves, 2000; Lennon and Wollin, 2001; Phillips, 2003; Moilanen, 2005). The concept of learning organization along with organizational learning (Armstrong and Foley, 2003) has been examined in large and small enterprises (Wyer et al. 2000; Lee et al., 2000; Birdthistle and Fleming, 2005), in local governance (Sharma, 2005), nonprofit organizations such as charities (Bennett, 1998) and academic organizations and schools (Retna and Pak Tee, 2006). It has been suggested that multiple models of the learning organization should be developed that are context-adapted (Örtenblad, 2015). The learning organization concept has also been examined in various cultural contexts (Nyhan et al., 2004; Awasthy and Gupta, 2012; Retna and Jones, 2013). Special emphasis has been given to supporting aspects such as the learning climate (Lowe and Skitmore, 2007), HRD (Raidén and Dainty, 2006), and leadership (Delić et al., 2017). It has been established that some spiritual and religious practices are closely related to the learning organization philosophy (Elkin et al., 2009; Rupčić, 2017).
However, Senge’s definition, though inspiring, makes the concept seem utopian, mystic and even romantic. That has even led to questions if the learning organization is still alive (Pedler and Burgoyne, 2017). Encouraged by previous research we believe that learning organizations are very much alive. Previous studies have addressed the relationship between the learning organization concept and firms’ financial performance and have established a positive association (e.g. Ellinger et al., 2002). That is why it is important to continue research especially by identifying how the concept of the learning organization is related to aspects of the value creation process, which has previously not been addressed or has been addressed to a limited extent. For example, Somerville and McConnell‐Imbriotis (2004) have examined the LO concept in resource squeezed service organization, Parnaby and Towill (2012) have analyzed how the learning organization concept can contribute to improvements in core business processes, Griggs and Hyland (2003) have questioned LOs from the aspect of strategic downsizing, Rupčić (2016) has related learning orientation to other business orientations, while Jamali (2006) has investigated triple bottom line from the learning organization perspective. We would like to advance research in this field.
The purpose of this themed issue is therefore to increase the awareness about the importance of learning organizations and organizational learning by answering the following question: How does the learning organization concept relate to elements of the value creation process from the systems perspective (including inputs, transformation process and outputs)?

Suggested topics for papers include, but are not limited to answering the following questions:
•    Do startups and SMEs managed as learning organizations show greater growth potential?
•    Does organizational learning foster SME growth?
•    Do learning organizations exhibit greater entrepreneurial orientation?
•    Do learning organizations show greater innovation orientation?
•    Is learning organization concept compatible with the stakeholder approach and to what extent?
•    Is organizational learning compatible with various business orientations and to what extent?
•    Do learning organizations exhibit a greater level of coopetition relative to their counterparts?
•    Are learning organizations superior in the economy of integration?
•    Do learning organizations show superior resource allocation abilities?
•    Does organizational learning alter value creation and resource allocation processes and to what extent?
•    Do learning organizations show superior results from the resource-based perspective (RBP) of the firm?
•    Does organizational learning contribute to the development of sustainable competitive advantages?
•    How do learning organizations perform technology management?
•    How do learning organizations perform operations management?
•    How does organizational learning improve operations management?
•    Do learning organizations outperform their competitions relative to key performance indicators (balanced scorecard approach, efficiency, effectiveness, productivity)?
•    Do learning organizations exhibit a higher level of legitimacy as the ability to fulfill the claims of relevant stakeholders?
•    Are learning organizations more viable relative to their competitors defined as the ability to maintain a separate existence regardless of their identity?
•    Do learning organizations exhibit a higher level of sustainability of the value creation process relative to their competitors?
•    Does organizational learning contribute to organizational viability and sustainability in general, in specific industries, and relative to the firm size?
•    Can learning organizations contribute to social responsibility?
•    In the modern economy of experience, do learning organizations have greater emotional capital and do they produce greater emotional value (price/meaning) for customers?
•    Do learning organizations exhibit a greater level of behavioral variety relative to their counterparts?
•    Does the concept of learning organization and the process of organizational learning contribute to improved organizational performance in developing countries?
•    Does the concept of learning organizations and the process of organizational learning contribute to improved organizational performance in different cultural contexts?


The submission deadline for full papers is June 30, 2018. The themed Issue is scheduled to appear by March 2019.
Associate Professor Nataša Rupčić, PhD

Please refer to the author guidelines found here



Armstrong, A. and Foley, P. (2003), “Foundations for a learning organization: organization learning mechanisms”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 10 No. 2.,pp. 74–82.
Awasthy, R. and Gupta, R. L. (2012), “Dimensions of the learning organization in an Indian context”, International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 7 No 3.,pp. 222–244.
Bennett, R. (1998), “Charities, organisational learning and market orientation: A suggested measure of the propensity to behave as a learning organization”, Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 5–25.
Birdthistle, N. and Fleming, P. (2005), “Creating a learning organisation within the family business: an Irish perspective”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 29 No. 9, pp. 730–750.
Delić, M., Slåtten, T., Milić, B., Marjanović, U. and Vulanović, S. (2017), “Fostering learning organisation in transitional economy – the role of authentic leadership and employee affective commitment”, International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 9 No. 3/4, pp. 441–455.
Elkin, G., Cone, M. H. and Liao, J. (2009), “Chinese pragmatism and the learning organization”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 69–83.
Ellinger, A. D., Ellinger, A. E., Yang, B. and Howton, S. W. (2002), “The Relationship Between the Learning Organization Concept and Firms’ Financial Performance: An Empirical Assessment”, Human Resource Development Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 5–22.
Grieves, J. (2000), “A Concise Guide to the Learning Organisation”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 42–47.
Griggs, H. E. and Hyland, P. (2003), “Strategic downsizing and learning organisations”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 27 No. 2/3/4, pp. 177–187.
Jamali, D. (2006), “Insights into triple bottom line integration from a learning organization perspective”, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 12 No. 6, pp. 809–821.
Lee, G., Bennett, D. and Oakes, I. (2000), “Technological and organisational change in small‐ to medium‐sized manufacturing companies: A learning organisation perspective”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 549–572.
Lennon, A. and Wollin, A. (2001), “Learning organisations: empirically investigating metaphors”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 2 No. 4, pp. 410–422.
Lowe, D. J. and Skitmore, M. (2007), “The learning climate of an organisation and practitioner competence”, Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, Vol. 12 No. 3.,pp. 151–164.
Moilanen, R. (2005), “Diagnosing and measuring learning organizations”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 71–89.
Nyhan, B., Cressey, P., Tomassini, M., Kelleher, M. and Poell, R. (2004), “European perspectives on the learning organization”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 67–92.
Örtenblad, A. (2015), “Towards increased relevance: context-adapted models of the learning organization”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 22 No. 3., pp. 163–181.
Parnaby, J. and Towill, D. R. (2012), “Exploiting the concept of a manufacturing system part IV: The innovative action learning organization”, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 733–752.
Pedler , M. and Burgoyne, J. G. (2017), Is the learning organisation still alive? The Learning Organization, Volume: 24 Issue: 2, pp. 119–126.
Phillips, B. T. (2003), “A four‐level learning organisation benchmark implementation model”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 98–105.
Raidén, A. B. and Dainty, A. R. J. (2006), “Human resource development in construction organisations: An example of a “chaordic” learning organisation?”,The Learning Organization, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 63–79.
Retna, K. S. and Jones, D. (2013), “The “learning organisation” and Singapore culture”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 20 No. 4/5, pp. 338–351.
Retna, K. S. and Pak Tee, N. (2006), “The challenges of adopting the learning organisation philosophy in a Singapore school”, International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp.140–152.
Rupčić, N. (2016), “Exploring strategic and learning orientation: Is there room for controversy?”,Proceedings of the 8th International Conference “An Enterprise Odyssey: Saving the sinking ship through human capital”,Galetić, L., NačinovićBraje, I. and Jaković, B. (Eds), Zagreb, Croatia, pp. 245–253.
Rupčić, N. (2017), "Spiritual development – a missing and powerful leverage when building learning organizations", The Learning Organization, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 418–426.
Santa, M. (2015), “Learning organisation review – a “good” theory perspective”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 242–270.
Senge, P.M. (1990), The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Century Business, London, UK.
Sharma, B. (2005), “Local government organisation on its journey to becoming a learning organization”, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 388–402.
Somerville, M. and McConnell‐Imbriotis, A. (2004), “Applying the learning organisation concept in a resource squeezed service organization”, Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 237–248.
Wyer, P., Mason, J. and Theodorakopoulos, N. (2000), “Small business development and the “learning organisation”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour& Research, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 239–259.