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The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD

The Chinese Learning Organization

New Concepts for International HRD James Keating

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD

The concept of learning and organizational attempts to capitalize on information predates an attempts to st!d it as a model within a H!man Reso!rce De"elopment #HRD$ framewor%& HRD 'egan with apprenticeship training programs in the eighteenth cent!r and de"eloped into (factor schools) ' the late *+,,s& #-erner . De/imone0 1,,2$ Toda 0 man large corporations ha"e corporate !ni"ersities that c!stomize emplo ee ed!cation programs to meet organizational re3!irements& In organizational de"elopment #OD$0 learning ta%es place in d namic organizations that m!st adapt to a changing en"ironment& 4 learning organization ac3!ires0 organizes0 manages0 and !ses %nowledge to (mo"e 'e ond sol"ing e5isting pro'lems to gain the capa'ilit to impro"e constantl ) and incl!des organization learning and %nowledge management& #C!mmings . -orle 0 1,,2$ The learning organization concept can 'e traced 'ac% to the research of /enge #*22,$ and his colleag!es who defined the learning organization as (a gro!p of people contin!all enhancing their capacit to create what the want to create&6 /enge #*22,$ also descri'ed (fi"e disciplines) representing f!ndamental attri'!tes of a learning organization0 which incl!ded s stems thin%ing0 personal master 0 mental models0 '!ilding a shared "ision0 and team learning& K7C Corporation cited ('ecoming a learning organization) as one of its fi"e competiti"e ad"antages allowing it to esta'lish a dominant presence in the Chinese mar%et& #8ell . /helman0 1,**$ 9ephart and :arsic% #*22;$ descri'e a learning organization with a (foc!s primaril on s stems<le"el organizational learning) in which (learning processes are anal zed0 monitored0 de"eloped0 managed0 and aligned with impro"ement and inno"ation goals) /t!dies cond!cted in China #=hang0 =hen0 . 8ai in0 1,,>$ ha"e s!pported the learning organization concept within the Chinese conte5t& ?5isting literat!re s!ggests that '!ilding a learning organization is necessar to enhance organizational performance& # @iaoh!i0 8ai in0 . :cLean0 1,,A$ -atson and :arsic% #*22;$ identified se"en dimensions of a learning organization:promoting in3!ir and dialog!eB enco!raging colla'oration and team learningB esta'lishing s stems to capt!re and share learningB empowering people toward a collecti"e "isionB and connecting the organization to its en"ironment&

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD 4ltho!gh definitions and models esta'lish the field of HRD0 these constr!cts (do not capt!re "ariations in practice or0 for that matter0 the di"ersit of empirical realit &) #K!chin%e0 1,,C$ Th!s0 it 'ecomes necessar to f!rther !nderstanding of s!ch a'stract characteristics of HRD ' 3!alif ing these topics according to the ind!stries0 strategies0 mar%ets0 and e"en the c!lt!res within which these "ario!s HRD concepts are 'eing emplo ed& :odels m!st 'e consistent across an entire spectr!m of factors while definitions0 altho!gh re3!iring fle5i'ilit within an a'stract academic model0 m!st e"ent!all 'e operationalized in practice and c!stomized to a changing socio<economic conte5t with c!lt!ral and strategic constraints re3!iring meas!ra'le0 tangi'le0 and sociall accepta'le o!tcomes& In addition0 these definitions and models ha"e o"er weighted the -estern c!lt!ral conte5t!al factors potentiall s%ewing res!lts leading to 'ias& This co!ld 'e 'eca!se Comm!nication has not recei"ed m!ch attention in organizational literat!re #Daft . H!'er0 *2+A$& There is also a lac% of organizational change comm!nication research #7rahm . 8rown0 1,,D$& Howe"er0 international HRD research depends on incl!ding c!lt!re as a (maEor infl!encing factor and to acco!nt for c!lt!reFs infl!ence on phenomena !nder in"estigation) which re3!ires (a 'etter !nderstanding of o!r own and othersF c!lt!rall conditioned perspecti"es and ass!mptions&)#4rdich"ili . K!chin%e0 1,,1$ Comm!nication and participation0 important characteristics of a learning organization #4garwal01,,DB Khadra . Rawa'deh0 1,,;B /%erla"aE . DimG"s%i0 1,,;B Lim0 et al&0 1,,;B Kanta'!tra0 1,,;B Heath . 8rown0 1,,A$0 are affected ' c!lt!ral "al!es #Lei et al& #1,**$B Hofstede0 *2+>$& #8ar%er . Camarata *22+$ concl!de that comm!nication is at the core of the learning organization and empowerment is a prere3!isite for personal master 0 one of /engeHs #*22,$ fi"e disciplines& C!mmings . -orle #1,,2$ state that a learning organization is where (empowered mem'ers ta%e responsi'ilit for changing the organization and learning how to do this 'etter and 'etter&) 4 learning organization (facilitates the learning of all its mem'ers and contin!o!sl transforms itselfH #Iedler et al& *22*$& This a'ilit to transform itself not onl depends on open comm!nication and empowerment of emplo ees0 '!t also on (a c!lt!re of colla'oration&) #/lotte0 T nEala0 . H tonen0 1,,>$ The Chinese learning organization is a s!'Eect that has recei"ed relati"el little attention in the field of HRD despite ChinaHs increasing social0 political0 and economic infl!ence in the world& If c!lt!ral factors affect learning and organizational

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD de"elopment then it comes to reason that the c!lt!ral dimension m!st 'e considered when prescri'ing inter"entions0 designing organizations0 or managing emplo ees& The Chinese learning organization represents a !ni3!e aspect of the learning organization concept and one that will 'ecome increasingl important in the f!t!re of HRD research& Researchers ha"e realized that Chinese social0 economic0 and organizational change not onl pro"ides a rich conte5t for testing e5isting theories0 '!t also offers the potential for disco"ering new or !ni3!e wa s of organizing and managing in China #=hao . Jiang0 1,,2$ China has emerged as the man!fact!ring and economic center of the world in the post 1,,+ financial crisis en"ironment0 passing 9erman in 1,,2 and Japan in 1,*, in 9DI terms& China is e5pected to pass the J/ in 9DI terms meas!red ' p!rchasing power parit #III$ ' 1,*+& #The ?conomist0 1,**$ The lac% of mainstream academic literat!re in"ol"ing HRD practices in China presents researchers with an opport!nit to anal ze c!lt!ral differences and test the "alidit of general ass!mptions in social sciences0 which ha"e historicall de"eloped from st!dies in"ol"ing -estern organizational acti"ities& 4s China0 and 4sia in general0 de"elops and esta'lishes a firm position in a m!ltipolar sphere of economic and c!lt!ral infl!ence0 Organization De"elopment #OD$ sho!ld logicall 'alance 'est practice ideolog 'ased on a glo'al conte5t that e5ceeds the 'o!ndaries of -estern c!lt!re& There are doc!mented differences 'etween Chinese and -estern ad!lt st!dentsH learning st les in the classroom #Cheng0 4ndrade0 . Kan0 1,**B Heffernan et&al 1,*,$& 4sians and -estern ad!lts also ha"e different wa s of (percei"ing and acting in the world&) #L!intero0 *22>$ In general0 Chinese thin%ing is comple50 circ!lar0 and can tolerate opposing tho!ghts and ideas #Li0 1,,+B -ang0 C!i0 . =ho!0 1,,D$ 4ltho!gh Chinese ad!lt learners ha"e 'een characterized as passi"e learners who rel on rote learning and memorization compared to their acti"e learning -estern co!nterparts0 these stereot pes ha"e 'een challenged& #Jie0 1,,2B Kenned 0 1,,1$ Regarding acti"e learning0 ancient Chinese philosopher Conf!ci!s #DD*<>A2 8C$ once said0 (I hear0 I %now& I see0 I remem'er& I do0 I !nderstand&) Conf!ci!s also warned0 (He who learns '!t does not thin% is lost& He who thin%s '!t does not learn is in great danger&)

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD Kang and L! #1,,1$ concl!ded that HR theor in China is "er different from that of the J/& Conf!cian "al!es contin!e to ha"e an impact on Chinese c!lt!re and0 conse3!entl 0 organizational practices in China& Jia0 -ang0 R!ona0 . RoEews%i0 #1,,D$ arg!e0 (C!lt!ral ass!mptions !nderl ing -estern management theories ma ma%e their applications less appropriate to Chinese organizations&) In addition0 (gi"en the profo!nd infl!ence of Conf!cian "al!es0 international HRD practitioners sho!ld realize the importance of ens!ring that -estern management practices are adopted criticall in China&) #Jia et al0 1,,D$

Hofstede and Bond #*2++$ s!mmarized Conf!cian teaching as *& The sta'ilit of societ is 'ased on !ne3!al stat!s relationships 'etween people& 1& The famil is the protot pe of all social organizations& C& Mirt!e with regard to oneHs tas%s in life consists of tr ing to ac3!ire s%ills and ed!cation0 wor%ing hard0 not spending more than necessar 0 'eing patient0 and perse"ering& #Jia et al0 1,,D$ e5plain Conf!cian ideolog as 'eing represented ' fi"e "irt!es: ren #h!manit <'ene"olence$0 i #righteo!sness$0 li #propriet $0 zhi #wisdom$ and 5in #tr!stworthiness$ Chinese c!lt!re is steeped in ancient traditions and s m'olism& These "al!es em'edded in Chinese c!lt!re ha"e a significant impact on e"er aspect of life in Chinese c!lt!re& Contin!o!s Change in Chinese Organizations Learning Organizations operate !nder and adapt to conditions of contin!o!s change& Contin!o!s change in"ol"es fast<paced en"ironments (where timing is critical0 technological change is rapid0 and competiti"e press!res are !nrelenting and diffic!lt to predict&) #C!mmings . -orle 0 1,,2$ The Chinese econom has 'een growing at an e5traordinar rate and is e5pected to contin!e growing o"er the ne5t two decades while !ndergoing d namic transformation #Lin0 1,*1$

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD Chinese Organizational Conte5t C!lt!re is often anal zed !sing HofstedeHs dimensions of national c!lt!re: power distanceB !ncertaint a"oidanceB indi"id!alism "ers!s collecti"ismB and masc!linit "ers!s femininit B and long< term "ers!s short<term thin%ing& Hofstede and 8ond #*2++$ incl!ded the fifth dimension after st!d ing Chinese c!lt!ral "al!es& 7ig!re *: Chinese c!lt!re thro!gh the lens of HofstedeHs DD model

#so!rce: http:NNgeert<hofstede&comNchina&html$

4ccording to Hofested: (4t +, China sits in the higher ran%ings of IDI O i&e& a societ that 'elie"es that ine3!alities amongst people are accepta'le& The s!'ordinate<s!perior relationship tends to 'e polarized and there is no defense against power a'!se ' s!periors&) (4t a score of 1, China is a highl collecti"ist c!lt!re where people act in the interests of the gro!p and not necessaril of themsel"es& In<gro!p considerations affect hiring and promotions with closer in<gro!ps #s!ch as famil $ are getting preferential treatment& ( (4t ;; China is a masc!line societ Os!ccess oriented and dri"en& The need to ens!re s!ccess can 'e e5emplified ' the fact that man Chinese will sacrifice famil and leis!re priorities to wor%&) (4t C, China has a low score on !ncertaint a"oidance& Tr!th ma 'e relati"eP adherence to laws and r!les ma 'e fle5i'le to s!it the act!al sit!ation and pragmatism is a fact of life& The Chinese are comforta'le with am'ig!it ) (-ith a score of **+ China is a highl long term oriented societ in which persistence and perse"erance are normal& Relationships are ordered ' stat!s and the order is o'ser"ed& Nice people are thrift and sparing with reso!rces and in"estment tends to 'e in long term proEects s!ch as real estate& Traditions can 'e adapted to s!it new

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD conditions& Chinese people recognize that go"ernment is ' men rather than as in the Low LTO co!ntries ' an e5ternal infl!ence s!ch as 9od or the law& Thin%ing wa s foc!s on the f!ll or no confidence0 contrasting with low LTO co!ntries that thin% in pro'a'ilistic wa s&) #so!rce: http:NNgeert<hofstede&comNchina&html$ The implications for organizational de"elopment are: Iower Distance Chinese organizations can accept more hierarchical s stems with less empowerment than -estern co!nterparts can& This most li%el affects areas of hiring and promotion0 moti"ation0 and am'ition& It also implies that Chinese are less li%el to find gratification in percei"ed opport!nities for !pward mo'ilit in an organization& Chinese managers tend to ma%e decisions (regardless of the standardised HR policies and practices and the low power distance organisational c!lt!re&) #7! . Kameno!0 1,*1$ Collecti"ism Chinese organizations rel more on teamwor% and collecti"e goals rather than indi"id!al aspirations& This affects areas of moti"ation and percei"ed indi"id!al "al!e& The o'Eecti"es of the organization are E!st as important0 if not more so0 than indi"id!al aspirations&

:asc!line /ociet Chinese emplo ees are li%el to sacrifice famil life and leis!re for wor% and achie"ement& This ma 'e an ad"antage when meeting proEect deadlines or wor%ing o"ertime '!t 'ecome a lia'ilit if o"erwor% leads to stress and a'senteeism&

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD Jncertaint 4"oidance In China0 laws e5ist in so m!ch as the can ser"e people& -hen laws fail to ser"e people the are a'andoned or e"en ignored& Chinese do not re3!ire that e"er thing 'e e5plicitl "er'alized or written& Compared to the J/ s stem0 which faces potential collapse d!e to ha"ing a'o!t D,Q of the worldHs law ers and onl DQ of the worldHs pop!lation #8lac%0 1,**$0 the Chinese settle most differences o!t of co!rt and often do not re3!ire formal doc!ments to esta'lish o'ligations& -hen formal doc!ments e5ist0 the are often considered fle5i'le o!tlines rather than a mandator g!ideline& The conte5t is more important than words and doc!ments& Organization de"elopment in China sho!ld emphasize conte5t o"er polic & 4ccording to the Conf!cian tradition (the cond!ct of peopleHs affairs is 'ased on moralit or the law of the gentleman &?nacted laws and reg!lations are not necessar &)#Ke0 Tweed0 . To!lson0 1,**$ Long Term Orientation In Chinese organizational de"elopment0 more time m!st 'e spent in preparing inter"entions& Relationships sho!ld 'e c!lti"ated and so!rces of contention wor%ed o!t "er earl & 7or a learning organization0 this ma in"ol"e more time spent on en"ironmental anal sis and !nderstanding the larger role of the organization rather than foc!sing too m!ch on c!rrent e"ents&

Transferring -estern Concepts to China The idea of a one<size fits all prod!ct has long since 'ecome o'solete in toda Hs cons!mer dri"en rapidl changing mar%etplace& J!st as one wo!ld e5pect to find prod!cts with specifications conforming precisel to their needs0 concepts in HRD m!st also conform to the organizations that will 'e appl ing them&

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD #7! . Kameno!0 1,*1$ confirmed some of HofstedeHs findings '!t were e3!all critical ' claiming0 (C!lt!ral "al!es appeared to 'e richer and more comple5 than the c!lt!ral dimensions and norms that are concept!alised in the e5isting literat!re)& The samples were onl 'ased on !ni"ersit st!dents from 11 co!ntries not E!st China and the findings ma 'e o!t of date0 as China has !ndergone significant c!lt!ral changes since HofestedeHs original st!dies o"er 1, ears ago& HofstedeHs wor% also attempts to place a comple5 s!'Eect li%e c!lt!re into a (c!lt!ral dimension 'o5&) ?"en if HofestedeHs characterization of the differences 'etween ?astern and -estern c!lt!re o"erl generalizes and the criteria are too narrow0 it still pro"ides an anal tical tool to concept!alize c!lt!ral differences and gi"es the -esterner a lens to "iew 4sian c!lt!re& O'"io!sl 0 the s!'Eect remains an opport!nit for researchers to in"estigate in international HRD and will most li%el recei"e more attention in the f!t!re& Transferring ed!cation policies to China has re"ealed se"eral iss!es& /ome generic determinants for transferring ed!cational polic were proposed ' De Jong and @i0 #1,,1$& :odels are sometimes 'ased on one e5ample or set of circ!mstances re3!iring a (s nthesis of "ario!s models) instead of foc!sing on one& Interpreting models freel is prefera'le to d!plicating them& 4 strong sense of !rgenc m!st e5ist and there m!st 'e some adE!stment to str!ct!ral or c!lt!ral differences& 4lso0 polic initiati"es sho!ld 'e (p!lled in) ' adopters within the organization rather than (p!shed) ' donors o!tside of the organization& #7! . Kameno!0 1,*1$ arg!ed that transnational corporations (ma need to na"igate thro!gh the distincti"e c!lt!ral "al!es when practising the HR policies which co!ld s!pport specific strategies and de"elop organisational c!lt!re&) Chinese organization c!lt!re is also defined ' moral and ethical standards0 which are !nwritten r!les manifest thro!gh o!tward displa s of h!milit and h!m'leness& ?"en tho!gh there ma 'e respect for roles and positions within a compan 0 the C?O ma 'e indisting!isha'le from a common wor%er in appearance and ha'its& DeEong and @i #1,,A$ listed specific determinants for s!ccessf!ll transferring -estern ed!cational polic to China& The also arg!e that awareness of these factors is necessar for s!ccessf!l polic transfer according& The -estern foc!s is on tas% orientation while the Chinese foc!s is on personal tr!st& -esterners foc!s on ethical standards "ers!s Chinese attachment to good intentions and lasting commitments&

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD -esterners ha"e an inclination to act while Chinese prefer to wait for the right opport!nit & -esterners foc!s on interpersonal e3!alit and open comm!nication while Chinese prefer to respect roles or positions and sa"e face& #De Jong . @i0 1,,A$ -ithin the conte5t of c!lt!ral ramifications and polic transfer 'etween c!lt!res0 the Chinese learning organization e5ists as an independent form of HRD str!ct!re& 4ltho!gh a deri"ati"e of the -estern model0 it remains a !ni3!e organization formN Jni3!e com'ination of c!lt!rall infl!enced components separate it from its -estern co!nterpart& The learning organization ta%es on different characteristics in China d!e to the aforementioned factors and ass!mptions& Of co!rse0 man ideas0 concepts0 and definitions can 'e transferred seamlessl across c!lt!res while others ris% 'eing ne!tralized ' differences in perceptions0 translation0 and c!lt!ral mismatches& -a s of learning in Chinese c!lt!re ma also differ from -estern practices& In a s!r"e of the literat!re on learning in China some of the %e 'eliefs a'o!t learning that g!ide learning 'eha"io!r that emerged were: the idea of lifelong learning to disco"er and achie"e oneHs life p!rposeB a foc!s on character traits that will facilitate this process incl!ding resol"e0 diligence0 end!ring hardship0 perse"erance and concentrationB an aim to deepen !nderstanding thro!gh the integration of %nowledge to impro"e moral character and the emotional commitment to this proEect which re3!ires passion0 h!milit and shameNg!ilt& #?l%in0 0 Haina0 . Cone0 1,**$ The Chinese learning organization represents a tr!l international concept0 an idea de"eloped and propagated in the -est '!t one that HRD practitioners m!st c!stomize to ens!re that localization conforms to c!lt!ral 'o!ndaries and conte5ts& The glo'al shift in polarit of socio<economic factors has introd!ced deficiencies in pre"io!s models that were de"eloped !sing -estern e5amples& 8efore anal zing the c!lt!ral factors and their impact on the strategic de"elopment of a learning organization0 the concept m!st 'e f!rther refined& 4ccording to one st!d 0 HRD practitionersH perspecti"e of learning at the organizational le"el (em'raced str!ct!ral0 managerial0 c!lt!ral and '!siness aspects and the processes ' which the can 'e transformed in organizations&) #/lotte0 T nEala0 . H tonen0 1,,>$

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD 4g r!s #*2A+$ descri'ed learning as a single loop or do!'le loop process where the single loop learning is the disco"er of pro'lems and correcting de"iations from e5pected performance standards while achie"ing a fi5ed o'Eecti"e& /econd loop learning is the 3!estioning of the o"erall paradigm within which s stems and processes operate and determining if there is a need to change& /econd loop learning in"ol"es changing or modif ing processes or s stems to meet challenges in a t!r'!lent en"ironment& 4ppel'a!m and Reichart #*22+$ descri'ed organization learning as a series of stages& C!mmings and -orle #1,,2$ descri'ed learning organizations as 'eing composed of two componentsB organizational learning and %nowledge management& Organizational learning has characteristics s!ch as str!ct!re0 information s stems0 h!man reso!rce practices0 c!lt!re0 and leadership& 4ltho!gh the idea of a learning organization is relati"el new in OD0 the concept of organization learning was alread well esta'lished& 4rg ris and /chGn #*2A+$ defined organization learning as: 6 the detection and correction of error6 C!mmings and -orle #1,,2$ e5plain organization learning as a process in"ol"ing disco"er of error or performance gaps0 in"ention or creating new sol!tions0 prod!ction or implementing sol!tions0 and generalizing or adapting the sol!tions in other areas of the organization& 4n organizational str!ct!re in"ol"ing teamwor% is consistent with the Chinese collecti"e wor% ethic& The collecti"e aspect of c!lt!ral "al!es in"ol"es wor%ing as a gro!p to achie"e common o'Eecti"es& /ince the str!ct!re of organization learning is dependent on teamwor% #C!mmings and -orle 0 1,,2$ this ma enhance the Chinese firms competiti"e ad"antage& Howe"er0 C!mmings and -orle #1,,2$ also point o!t that learning organizations also in"ol"e (lesser n!m'er of la ers) which ma conflict with HofestedHs #1,*1$ assertion that power relations tend to 'e (polarized) and (ine3!alities amongst people are accepta'le&) The challenge in implementing organization learning inter"entions in Chinese enterprises ma rest in implementing a process of '!rea!cratic dela ering to facilitate organization learning& Information / stems in Chinese organizations In organization learning0 information s stems (facilitate rapid ac3!isition0 processing0 and sharing of rich0 comple5 information and ena'le people to manage %nowledge for competiti"e ad"antage&)#C!mmings . -orle 0 1,,2$ Importing ad"anced technolog is a priorit in the Chinese go"ernment #chinadail &com0 1,**$ China is e"en seen ' some as 'ecoming a leader a technological inno"ation& #8rR!ner0 1,**$

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD Howe"er0 it was fo!nd in 1,,A that o'stacles to Chinese information s stems de"elopment remained s!ch as centralized decision<ma%ing0 mandator management st le0 and less e5perience with information technolog and information s stems applications&#9!o3ing et al0 1,,A$ C!mmings and -orle #1,,2$ indicate the h!man reso!rces practices sho!ld (reinforce the ac3!isition and sharing of new s%ills and %nowledge&) The process of sharing %nowledge is facilitated thro!gh the attri'!tes of collecti"e c!lt!re where people often colla'orate with others 'efore arri"ing at decisions and decisions are often made in the interests of the gro!p or team& 4ccording to one st!d 0 Chinese emplo ees prefer to (de"elop and maintain a positi"e and personal g!an<5i #relationship$ with their colleag!es and managers&) Howe"er0 (one needs to respect seniorit when de"eloping g!an<5i with others& (# 7! .Kameno!01,*1$ 9!an5i foc!ses on personal relations and the e5change of fa"ors rather than impersonal commercial networ%s& #7!0 Ts!i .Dess0 1,,;$ Organization C!lt!re C!mmings and -orle #1,,2$ indicate that learning organizations ha"e (strong c!lt!res0 that promote openness0 creati"it 0 and e5perimentation among mem'ers) and (n!rt!re inno"ation&) Chinese inno"ation is defined ' geographic and regional 'o!ndaries& In general0 pro"inces and m!nicipalities with pro"incial stat!s on the east coast are more inno"ati"e than the pro"inces in the central and western parts of China& Regional le"els of inno"ati"eness are highl correlated with their 9DI per capita and their contri'!tion to high<technolog e5ports0 '!t less with their shares in national R.D e5pendit!res& #4r'olino0 1,**$ The rising n!m'er of Chinese patents #Re'iS01,**$ and the Chinese go"ernmentHs science and technolog initiati"eHs strategic fo!r pillar plan incl!ding (indigeno!s inno"ation) as a %e component #4r'olino0 1,**$ ha"e also 'een cited as contri'!ting factors to ChinaHs impro"ement in inno"ation& :o"ing from imitation to inno"ation will certainl remain the traEector of Chinese HRD initiati"es in the f!t!re as '!siness search for new wa s to moti"ate and enco!rage emplo ees to 'e creati"e and inno"ati"e&

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD Leadership ?ffecti"e leadership is essential for the learning organization to de"elop in terms of the other characteristicsB str!ct!re0 information s stems0 h!man reso!rces practices0 and organization c!lt!re& Open comm!nication 'etween leaders and emplo ees promotes learning #4rg ris and /chon 0*2A+0 *22;$ 4ccording to one Chinese st!d of firms recr!ited in /hanghai0 -ong0 TEos"old0 and Jiafang #1,*,$ fo!nd that (leader commitment to participation0 people0 and prod!cti"it were fo!nd to predict ps chological safet among team mem'ers) and (predicted learning&) 7ig!re 1

#so!rce: -ong0 TEos"old0 and Jiafang 01,*,$ This ma conflict with HofestedeHs #1,*1$ assertion that Chinese ha"e low !ncertaint a"oidance and can tolerate am'ig!it & Ne"ertheless0 ?dmondson #*222$ has identified ps chological safet as a necessar condition for team learning&

Team ps chological safet sho!ld facilitate learning 'eha"ior in wor% teams 'eca!se it alle"iates e5cessi"e concern a'o!t othersF reactions to actions that ha"e the potential for em'arrassment or threat0 which learning 'eha"iors often ha"e& #?dmondson *222$

Is chological safet ma 'e especiall important in the Chinese conte5t& DeEong and @i #1,,A$ indicated that Chinese prefer to respect roles and sa"e face to maintaining open comm!nication and interpersonal e3!alit & 7or Chinese0 it ma 'e more 'eneficial to learn within a team framewor% where mista%es and achie"ements can 'e shared& Knowledge :anagement

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD 8esides organization learning0 %nowledge management represents another %e component of the learning organization& #C!mmings . -orle 0 1,,2$ Conf!ci!s 'roadl defined %nowledge ' sa ing0 ( -hen o! %now a thing0 to hold that o! %now itB and when o! do not %now a thing0 to allow that o! do not %now it < this is %nowledge&6 Knowledge can 'e fo!nd ' st!d ing historical e"ents and trends& Conf!ci!s e5plained0 (6I am not one who was 'orn in the possession of %nowledgeB I am one who is fond of anti3!it 0 and earnest in see%ing it there&6 Knowledge can 'e e5plained in terms of its a'sence as Conf!ci!s pointed o!t in sa ing0 (Real %nowledge is to %now the e5tent of oneFs ignorance&) Knowledge is a so!rce of competiti"e ad"antage as ancient Chinese general and militar strategist /!n Tz! s!ccinctl artic!lated0 (He who %nows when he can fight and when he cannot will 'e "ictorio!s&) Contemporar academics ha"e e5plained %nowledge in terms of tacit and e5plicit %nowledge& Tacit %nowledge is a'stract implicit %nowledge s!ch as e5perience deri"ed from s%ill0 E!dgment0 and practice #Iolan i0 *2;A$ while e5plicit %nowledge is 3!antifia'le and can 'e comm!nicated easil thro!gh lang!age or signals& Knowledge creation is a process of ma%ing tacit %nowledge e5plicit and the "al!e of new %nowledge is meas!red not onl ' economic indicators '!t also ' how well the %nowledge contri'!tes to a compan Hs "ision and strategic goals0 as well as de"elops (potential to '!ild the compan Hs organizational %nowledge networ%&) #Nona%a0 *22*$ Knowledge is created 'etween firms in d namic conte5ts where tacit %nowledge is transmitted 'etween acti"e participants in a networ%& Knowledge is initiated #initiation$0 transacted thro!gh colla'oration #enco!nter$0 and de"eloped into a higher le"el cooperation and organizational commitment #intimac $& #Corno0 Reinmoeller0 . Nona%a0 *222$ 8oth internall and e5ternall 0 %nowledge creation within a Chinese conte5t co!ld 'e affected ' factors s!ch as collecti"eness0 g!an5i0 and power relations& 4lso0 there is less regard for intellect!al propert in china than in -estern co!ntries so %nowledge ma 'e also 'e held to the same collecti"e standards as shared goals and achie"ements&

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD Nona%a #*22*$ contended that -estern tradition "iews %nowledge management in terms of 3!antifia'le facts while Japanese managers were a'le to harness the tacit %nowledge of their emplo ees thro!gh the !se of anoligies0 metaphors0 and other a'stract "is!alization acti"ities& This co!ld also 'e the case in China which is a high conte5t c!lt!re meaning that it is more sociall oriented0 confrontation a"oiding0 and complacent with e5isting wa s of life than -estern co!ntries& #Kim0 Ian0 . Iar%*22+$ Hall #*2AA$ recognized differences in wa s c!lt!res comm!nicate proposed the highNlow conte5t contin!!m& Low conte5t c!lt!res are considered to re3!ire more e5plicit meaning in the form "er'al or written comm!nication while placing less "al!e on conte5t!al circ!mstances& Despite "ario!s models and definitions0 which cannot 'e e5plicitl defined0 the am'ig!it of a'stract concept!al theor ma 'e welcome in China& Ierhaps China will pla a role in the ne5t ro!nd of iterations in a process of contin!al refinement of these a'stract HRD concepts&

Concl!sion Chinese c!lt!re is constantl changing and has 'een hea"il infl!enced ' Conf!cianism& #-ang0 -ang0 R!ona0 . RoEews%i0 1,,D$ The Chinese learning organization will contin!e to 'e an area of st!d for f!t!re HRD practitioners& 4 learning organization composed of organization learning and %nowledge management de"elops differentl in China than in -estern co!ntries& 4 Conf!cian tradition0 high conte5t c!lt!re0 long term perspecti"e0 and differences in st les of engaging in relationships are s!re to ignite de'ate and in"estigation into this !ni3!e model& The Chinese learning organization can 'e defined as a learning organization with !ni3!el identifia'le c!lt!ral aspects gro!nded in Conf!cian tradition0 respect for roles or position0 and comm!nication& These aspects incl!de the wa %nowledge is distri'!ted thro!gh networ% relationships and the f!nctioning of teams& The world will remain di"erse and the Chinese learning organization will contin!e to e"ol"e into a !ni3!el 4sian form of '!siness0 learning0 and c!lt!ral e5pression& In the f!t!re0 the -estern companies co!ld 'e loo%ing to China to 'etter !nderstand tacit %nowledge0 leading ' protecting and safeg!arding0 red!cing relationship 'arriers thro!gh the concept of g!an5i0 and managing highl effecti"e teams despite ine3!alit among mem'ers& The Chinese learning organization is a !ni3!e model deri"ed from earlier

The Chinese Learning Organization: New Concepts for International HRD -estern concepts& Toda it has de"eloped into an identit of its own and merits f!rther research as a differentiated form of learning organization&

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