Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how leadership has the capacity to both positively influence learning processes and negatively inhibit organizational learning.
Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual paper that brings together an analysis of leadership and organizational learning literature. The argument is centered on transformational leadership and the responsibility for creating an organizational learning culture.
Findings – There is a conventional belief that leaders have solitary control and influence when it comes to setting up organizational learning processes. However, a top-down approach to facilitate and implement learning in organizations is not always an effective method because learning should be a collaborative practice. Thus, to rely fully on leaders to initiate and sustain the learning processes can be counter-productive.
Practical implications – Good and effective leadership is the key to organizational learning. Learning is the only sustainable method of achieving competitive advantage for contemporary organizations because of rapidly changing environmental forces. Corporations with aspirations for long-term survival must facilitate, through their leadership, “the impulse to learn” amongst their members.
Originality/value – Knowledge is lacking in the area where leadership is linked to learning. Such knowledge is important because leaders play a central role in the learning framework and leaders also offer the required guidance for organizations to integrate and sustain learning processes through policy and practice.
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