Universities: can they be considered as learning organizations? A preliminary micro-level perspective

Ozlem Bak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this study is to explore a department in a UK higher education (HE) institute based on Senge’s five characteristics of learning organizations. Design/methodology/approach - In this study, a case-study method was utilized. The case study entailed two lines of enquiry; a questionnaire, which was distributed to a UK HE-institution department followed by semi-structured interviews. Findings - The findings show that learning-organization characteristics were present to a limited extent. Within the department, the results showed a variation in the impact level of the five characteristics between administrative and academic groups, as well as between the new and old members of staff. Originality/value - Recently, the learning-organization concept has been of interest to companies operating in both the private and public sectors; however, its implementation in a higher education setting remained limited to holistic studies assessing higher education institutes in general, rather than in studies analyzing its impact at the micro-level. Hence, this research agenda contributes at two levels of enquiry: the departmental level of learning-organization adaptation, and the level of the individuals’ experiences in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-172
Number of pages10
JournalThe Learning Organization
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Department
  • Higher education
  • Learning organizations
  • Universities


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