The first characteristic is looking in. It involves reward flexibility and internal exchange. Reward flexibility is the ability of the organisation to deliver flexible rewards to staff in an open and public manner. This also includes the opportunity for staff to question the rewards themselves and how they are distributed. Internal exchange involves all internal departments and units collaborating with each other by exchanging information about their expectations, needs, successes and weaknesses as well as providing clearly negotiated request and feedbacks to each other.
The second characteristic is looking out. It involves boundary workers as environmental scanners – all employees who work on the boundary of the organisation (from receptionist to research and development staff) obtain information from both formal and informal sources to feed into the organisation’s knowledge base. It also involves inter-company learning which collaborative working and networking promotes the learning ethos and offers other sources of knowledge and learning.
Initiatives may include joint training, exchanges and benchmarking. Strategy is one of the characteristics in Learning Organisation. There is approach to learning strategy- policy and strategy are developed as a learning process, which involves research as well as review. Participative policy making enables all organisation members and stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers and owners to contribute to major policy decisions. Strategy also involves informating and formative accounting and control.
Informating involves the use of information technology as a tool, which opens access to information and access to the organisation system. Formative accounting and control enables the accounting, budgeting systems and reporting systems to meet the needs of organisational members and to assist in their learning. The next characteristic is learning opportunities. There must be self-development activities for all staff at all levels and an environment which encourages all staff to become involved in development activities.
There must also be learning climate which involves a culture that encourages questioning and reflection, and also experimentation and views mistakes as learning opportunities. Structure is also one of the characteristics. Learning organisations enable structures as they have flatter structures with fewer layers of management. the structures are not seen as permanent but as temporary and changing in response and changes in the internal and external environments.