טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentTal Tsur
SubjectThe Learning Organization - the Effect of Goal Orientation
and Team Learning Culture on Performance
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Erez Miriam


Abstract

Organizations that operate in fast-changing, competitive environments are continuously pressured to adapt to change. The main purpose of this study was to investigate how a learning culture can affect the organization’s ability to deal more effectively with changes in its environment, by improving performance. 31 R&D and QA teams in a software development company, participated in this study. The manager’s goal orientation and the team culture were assessed for their effect on the team’s performance. The study shows that teams led by a manager with high learning goal orientation perform better than teams lead by managers with high performance goal orientation. The results also show that while individual goal orientation affects performance, team learning values have an even greater effect on the team’s performance, probably due to the fact that groups rather than individuals create impact at the organizational level. Contrary to what was expected, the study shows that learning goal orientation leads to better performance in QA teams while Prove (performance) goal orientation leads to better performance in R&D teams. This result can be attributed to the fact that while R&D people are expected to have a learning goal orientation, QA managers that encourage and promote learning behaviors in their teams create an added value that sets them apart from other QA team leaders that  “play by the rules”. On the other hand, R&D managers that are not just learning oriented but are also result conscious lead their teams to better performance.

The practical implications of this study for the manager’s development program is that a development program focusing on organizational learning, can provide an organizational cultural framework that empowers team leaders to play an active role in preserving and promoting a core organizational value which impacts performance. Without a development program, learning oriented managers might loose sight of this core value and promote other types of behaviors which seem to be valued by the organization at a given time. Although the findings of this study suggest that QA managers would benefit most from the managers development program focusing on learning, we would recommend this program for all company managers because at a time of change strong learning cultural values do not only create legitimacy for non conformity to old values and norms but also provide a framework for holding multiple changes together.