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Lithuanian labour exchange as network and learning organisation: main features

Daiva Bukantaitė and Rimantas Lauzackas
Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania

Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, University of Crete, 22-25 September 2004

Summary

Network and learning organizations are analyzed on the basis of scientific literature analysis, distinguishing their features, types, functions, advantages, and comparing with other organizations. The Lithuanian Labour Exchange as a network and a learning organization is presented in the second part of the article.

Introduction

In the contemporary world of "vanishing distances", with rapid development of the knowledge society, which is sometimes called "digital" or "network" economy, new laws of human life are formed. Ulrich (1998) claims that the major difference between the "winners" and "losers" in business is their ability to learn and go hand in hand with the change. The "winners" will be able to adapt, learn and act fast, whereas the "losers" will waste time trying to control and overcome the change. In this context, organizations and their structure change as they pursue to adapt and respond to the challenges impacted by the change. Organizations can no longer grow directly and increase their hierarchic structures, as due to their ponderosity they do not manage to keep up with the change. Lusthaus (1997) notices that organizations acquire unequal forms and generate different ideas. Katsanis and Davidson (1995) claim that strategies and structures that prevailed in the past, under the influence of the new technologies and new knowledge, have become obsolete; therefore, it is necessary to find other forms of organization. One of such structures is a network, which could integrate organizations for a more efficient activity. This form of organizations, according to Chisholm (1996), emerged at the end of the 20th century and is a perspective of the 21st century.

Oberg’s (2002) response to the question: "Is a network organization a completely new idea or is it a rather well known phenomenon in a ‘new package’?" was that it is a completely new structure of organization, having no analogous. Therefore, the structure of a network organization was chosen as the object of this research.

The purpose of the research is, on the basis of the research by various authors, to analyze network and learning organizations and define labour exchange as a network and a learning organization.

The objectives of the research:

  1. Theoretically to substantiate the concept and the essential features of the learning organization.
  2. To substantiate the concept of a network organization, its essential features, functions and discern advantages in comparison with traditional structure of organizations.
  3. To establish the principal features of the market as a learning organization.
  4. To perform the analysis of the Lithuanian Labour Exchange as a network organization.

Systemic logics and possessive activity attitude was chosen for the research, which enabled to analyse the market as a system. There were these methods used in the research: analysis of the scientific literature, questionnaires, and statistic data analysis.

I. Concept of network organisation and its essential ideas

Morgan (1989) remarks that more and more organizations live through the change from bureaucratic to network organization (see Fig. 1). The figure presents a six-type organizational structure – "tough" bureaucratic, bureaucratic with a management team, bureaucratic with project and task groups, matrix, project, and network organizational structures. The author stresses that this is not a model of organizational structure change, in order for a bureaucratic organization to become a network organization, it is not necessary to pass through all the stages of structures. Whereas Oberg (2002) states that organizations, which become network organizations usually have passed these structural stages.

"Tough" bureaucratic

Bureaucratic with a management team

Bureaucratic with project and task groups

Matrix

Project

Network

Fig. 1. Model of organisational structures (Morgan, 1989)

Various concepts of a network organization are found in scientific literature (Adams, 1980, Chisholm and Elden,1993, Handy, 1991, Ilinitch, 1996, Kaušylienė, 2001, Morgan, 1989, Powell, 1990, Sorengen, 2002): alliance, coalitions, strategic groups, strategic partnership, “imaginary”, „amoeba”, „spaghetti” organizations.

The authors define network organizations in a different way. According to Adams (1980), these are the organizations that function in a certain area and have direct and indirect impact upon each other. Powell (1990) highlights a mutual cooperation and interchange. Hall (1988) emphasizes voluntary cooperation among professionals having similar goals. Oldroyd, Elsner, Poster (1996) define a network as a non-hierarchic human organization or institution related and communicating with each other for a common goal. Dubini and Aldrich (1991) define it as relations among people, groups and organizations linked according to a certain order, Jarillo (1988) stresses the sustainability of permanence and competitiveness in a network organization, whereas Garavan, Costine, and Heraty (1995) stress trust and common benefit. Borys and Jemison (1989) summarize a network as a common management of several organizations and agreement to use common resources. Nohria and Eccler (1992) define a network as a structure of relations in a social system among separate individuals, organizations, and industries that have common goals and objectives. These relations are the basis for common actions, discussions, authorization and interchanges.

Summarizing the definitions of a network organization it is possible to foresee specific features used to define a network organization: goal, communication and relations, partnership, influence, information and membership. A network organization is a voluntary cooperation of autonomous elements (organizations or structural divisions), which, in their reciprocity, assume obligations to one another and sustain long-term trust-based relations. Therefore, an organization with a network structure is a set of autonomous organizations, which acts as one large organization and uses social mechanisms for the purposes of coordination and control (Staniulienė, 2003).

Chisholm (1996) indicates that a network organization fulfils four functions: vision, forum, change of attitudes and perception, communication.

Vision summons the thinking of participants, planning, all kinds of discussions are carried out in a network – complicated developmental issues are clarified, and the interested parties are rallied for a common activity. The members of every individual organization have to realize that their organization belongs to a higher-level system, i.e. network. With the help of communication, openness and constant contacts are maintained in the organization and its role is perceived in the common system.

Trist (1983) separated the following functions: a regulative, to ensure appropriate orientation and maintain its value; a network organizational - related to a common understanding about a perspective and the upcoming problems; direction developmental - related with support of infrastructure to organize a network, maintain and manage it.

Snow, Miles and Coleman (1992) distinguish three types of network organizations: internal, stable and dynamic. Hinterhuber and Levis (1994) indicate internal, vertical, dynamic and virtual organizations. According to Katsanis (1997), in pursuit to identify the type of organization it is necessary to pay attention to the following:

- dominating structure – if it is hierarchic or non-hierarchic,
- concentration on resources – stored in one organization or all of them,
- large or small number of the produced outcomes,
- broad or narrow scope of partnership.

According to Tichy (1981), three levels of structure are possible: group or "cluster" inside a network – such groups are formed to perform a concrete task, roles are distributed to group members; networks working in an organization, like communicative links among various organizational structures, individuals, their groups that perform certain tasks, and inter-organizational networks connecting various organizations by direct and indirect links.

What features are peculiar to a network organisation? Oberg (2002) claims that the advantages of a network organisation structure emerge when the shortcomings of a traditional structure are excluded, such as: inefficient communication process, too slow and unreliable transfer of decisions, too low respect for separate employees, a multitude of tasks are allotted at the same time, it is difficult for a separate employee to understand the present organisational situation, "overlapping activities", causing the increase of mistakes and decrease in quality, too much control that triggers tension.

Oberg (2002) indicates the following features characteristic of a network organisation:

  1. Core values clearly and fully implemented and realised, which link all the employees of an organisation. Awareness (acquisition) of values reduces control.
  2. "Cluster" groups that make the backbone of the organisation. Departments and divisions in a network organisation gradually diverge into separate independent units (groups) or join strategic alliances. This way people have stronger impact and authority upon the group and, herewith, upon the whole organisation.
  3. The role of executives/leaders is expanded. In a network organisation executives and leaders are not "separated by levels", as there is no organisational hierarchy; thus in one situation the same person can be an executive, in another – an employee. The following roles of executives/leaders are characteristic of a network organisation: the process manager, group manager, competence manager, human resource manager.
  4. Employees are independent experts who are initiative, mature, responsible, broadly competent, able to plan, and constantly developing.
  5. The limits of a flexible organisation affect not only a free movement in a network but the flexibility of a working place and working hours. Flexible, not hierarchy-based relations prevail between employees and executives; they are external partners who share information and opinions.
  6. Strong positive dependence on each other. Every member of a network organisation realises that only together it is possible to achieve.
  7. Transparency. A network organisation is characteristic of the clarity of tasks, clear and understandable control. Transparency is an indicator of high quality and assumption for the development of independent experts.

Nohria and Eccles (1992) claim that a network organisation can be characterised by relations and interaction among different organisations, diverse sharing (of employees, ideas, information, money), defined limits of a network, specific goals, mutual investment and dependence.

Staniulienė (2003) summarises the observations of various authors (Burt, 1992, Perrow, 1992, Sorensen, 2002, Zack, 2000) and distinguishes the following features of a network organisation: holistic or chaotic nature, heterogeneity, instability, flexibility, centralized nature, diffusive character, cooperativeness, trust, power rule, smallness, mutual benefit and family relations. The author admits that these characteristics are not comprehensive but sufficient to summarise the essence of network structures.

Summarising the characteristics distinguished by the above-mentioned authors, it is possible to conclude that a network organisation is peculiar of the following:

- Interaction of autonomous organisations,
- Commitment of one organisation to another/other organisations,
- cooperation,
- common goals and vision,
- broader role of executives/ leaders (more functions are performed),
- employees of broad competence,
- strong positive dependence of one organisation on another,
- transparency – clarity of tasks and perceived control,
- defined limits of a network,
- mutual investment.

Features, characteristic of organisations, which aim at becoming network organisations or at joining the already existing network, depend on the purposes. If one of the main reasons of network development is pursuit of higher goals, then one of the necessary conditions is rallied activity with systemic orientation. Cooperation on parity grounds, emotional affection (trust, pleasant cooperation), cosmopolitan and open relations with other network organisations, common goal and its perception, emphasis on mutual benefit are the factors which determine the success of a network organisation.

A network organisation is efficient under unstable conditions, when it faces the requirements and problems that cannot be solved in a hierarchical organisation where distribution of specialists and roles exists. Communication between people in such an organisation is more similar to a consultation rather than teamwork (Attewell, 1984).

Having joined a network, the organisations change their activity form, models, correct their vision, the possibility of experience sharing the changes in a network - organisations can foresee to integrate their educational events, seminars and lectures into production or any other activity. In the network, when its members realise that their organisation is a part of a higher-level system, i.e. network, a higher and more global communication is expected from the network members. Thus, the structure of a network organisation itself creates more favourable conditions for personnel development.

A network organisation can consist of organisations of different status and authority. Then "weaker" organisations are interested in raising their quality level aiming at equivalent relations in the network. The "stronger" organisations are also interested in raising the level of the "weaker" one, as it would have impact upon the quality of the whole network and its ability to sustain in the competition fight.

The network improves and speeds up the acquisition of information technologies. This determines a more rapid spread of new programmes and projects among the members of the network. This spread can be regulated by network rules and other common agreements.

II The content of learning organization and essential ideas

In popular and scientific literature (Easter-by-Smith, 1997, Everard and Moris, 1977, Kreitner and Kinicki, 1995, Longworth, 2000, Moingeon and Edmondson, 1996, Pedler, Burgoyne, Boydell, 1991, Probst and Buchel, 1997, Senge, 1990, Simonaitiene, 2001, Tsang, 1997 and others) many definitions for learning organization may be found, where the emphasis is put that much organization has to be experimental, open to communicating and dialogue, has to support the vision, which would motivate organization members and "provide the trend" for the organization itself, it has to support and develop systemic learning and thinking, such organization is not only the gate to the knowledge society but also the guarantee of survival in it. Clark (2001) distinguishes that the learning organization may be called an organization, which gives preference to the requirements of new society; it is not only adjusting to the changes but also influencing them, and using human resources at most. The mentioned author points out these key characteristics for learning organization: team work and learning, culture of inter-organizational cooperation, the shared system of values, goals and objects, experiential learning, the stimulation of new ideas, methods and the development of processes, market stimulation, representation of responsibility and authority, maximum use of skills of everybody. Peddler, Burgoyne, Boydel (1991) claim that these features are characteristic for the learning organization:

- Formulating of strategy, vision objectives (when all the organization members take part) organized as a learning process,
- Communication and cooperation of subdivisions, groups and individuals,
- Flexibility and openness of the organization,
- Collecting information, evaluation and spread (sharing) ,

The creation of the organization climate, which will stimulate learning, opportunity to improve for every member of the organization.

Simonaitiene (2001), having summarized the concepts of various authors (Flood 1993, Garrat 1997, Kreitner, Kinicki 1995, Longworth 2000 Senge 1990, Shein 1994, Pedler 1991), stated that the principal methodological basis of the learning organization is learning through activity (action science, action learning), when learning is carried out reflecting its practice, considering and changing it, in that way providing possibilities for new experience and learning.

Marquardt (2001), introducing the systemic model of learning organization, claims, that the system of learning organization consists of five dynamic subsystems, which complement each other and influence:

- learning as a driving power,
- reorganization of the organization,
- participation of workers,
- knowledge management,
- use of technologies.

According to the model’s author, learning is the main subsystem, penetrating into other subsystems, which are necessary to strengthen and supplement the quality of learning. These subsystems are needed for the creation of learning organization, its maintenance and confirmation. If one of the subsystems gets weaker, or does not participate in the learning process, the efficiency of other subsystems notably decreases. Learning subsystem consists of individual, group or team and organization learning levels (Hand, 1991); the matching of types of learning (learning from experience and reflection), prediction (future projecting), generating (learning while analyzing); activity research; one-turn, two-turn, three-turn learning, Deuter’s learning. (Deuter’s learning theory claims that when the individual obtains knowledge and skills, he also obtains such skill, which eases his future learning); learning skills of the organization- systemic thinking, thinking models, individual skills, overlapping vision, communicating skills.

Organization’s subsystem, in which the learning process itself is progressing, consists of four main components- vision (organization goals, future objectives), organization culture (overlapping values, beliefs, rituals, practical work), strategy (activity plans, methodology, tactics, steps, how the vision and goals will be achieved) and structure (organization levels, management, departments), which is streamline, non- hierarchic, with indeterminable lines.

The worker’s subsystem of the organization covers not only those working in the organization, but the external partners, clients, suppliers, the society of the organization. Knowledge management system consists of learning, knowledge creation, saving, transforming and use.

The subsystem of technologies consists of supporting, integrating, systems of technology use and information means, allowing us to have access to the information and learning possibilities to share it. Technical processes, systems, cooperation structures, management and coordination belong to this subsystem. Two biggest components of the technological subsystem are learning, based on technologies and knowledge management, based on technologies as well.

Huber (1991) analyzing the learning organization claims that, firstly, it is appropriate to imply informative system in it, with the help of which the data flow will circulate in the organization. This system consists of four constructs:

- information acquisition, grasp the information,
- information distribution,
- information interpretation,
- organization memory focuses quite strongly on the information systems of organization.

Cross and Hulland (1996) supplement this system with five sub- constructs:

- inborn learning (knowledge available before the organization’s establishment),
- experiential, based on experience learning (learning from the experience of the organization),
- indirect learning (learning from other organization’s experience),
- transferring, applying (transferring the positive experience from other organization),
- research and decisions (attentive observations, research of internal and external environment).

Sun and Scott (2003) Huber (1991) divided the four distinguished constructs of the informative system into three levels of learning: information acquisition- individual level of learning, use of information and interpretation- learning in groups, focus of organization memory- learning of the organization. Summarizing the learning organization, it is possible to state that this organization with its flexibility, exceptional attitude towards the learning of the organization members, has these distinctive features:

- Creation of the organization climate stimulating to learn.
- Equal partnership relations,
- Communication and cooperation of subdivisions, groups, and individuals.
- Work research is performed,
- Collection of information, estimation and distribution,
- Constant raise of qualification
- Strategies, formulating the vision aims (when all the organization members take part) are organized as a learning process.
- Flexibility and openness of the organization.

III. Labour Exchange – a network organisation?

The Lithuanian Labour Exchange was founded at the Ministry of Social Security and Labour; it consists of the Republican and 46 territorial labour exchanges. Under the Law of Support of the Unemployed of the Lithuanian Republic, the implementation of the inhabitant employment guarantees was delegated to the Exchange. The very structure of the labour exchange shows a peculiar network of organisations spread all over the territory of Lithuania. The exchange performs three main functions: service for the unemployed and employer and labour market monitoring (Šlekaitis, 2002). Its mission is to help job seekers to find a job, increase their abilities to compete in the labour market and supply labour force for the national economy evaluating rapid structural changes (Strategic and Action Plan of the Lithuanian Labour Market for 2003-2005). It is worth noting that cooperation with employers is as important as support for job seekers.

The analysis of the labour exchange documents allows to distinguish the main labour exchange activity areas: labour supply and demand analysis, prognosis of the possible labour market changes, registration of vacant work places and the unemployed, search for vacant work places, mediation for the employment in Lithuania and abroad, organisation of the vocational training for the unemployed and employees who have been giving a warning and mediation for them, having the financial resources of the Employment Foundation in its disposition and organisation of the labour supported by the Employment Foundation finances, participation in developing inhabitant employment programmes, organisation of public labour and designation of unemployment allowances.

Summarising, it is possible to state that counselling, information and re-qualification are some of the main activities of the labour exchange.

The mission of the labour exchange can be implemented only in a close cooperation with employers; therefore, it can be stated that broad functions of communication and cooperation are peculiar to the labour exchange.

Employees of the exchange, i.e. counsellors, taking into account the educational background of the interested person, his social maturity, state with respect to the labour market and other circumstances, help him to realise his suitability for a concrete profession. Counsellors evaluate not only personal features but also ground their work on the opportunities of the labour market, vocational education research and vocational education and training. The main objective of the vocational counselling is to find a suitable place for vocational training and work, where the individuality of the job seeker could be revealed best. The importance of counselling is determined by vocational dynamics (emergence of new specialities and disappearance of the old ones), the changing economic conditions having impact upon the increase in the competition in the labour market and forcing to change the profession or re-qualify. Thus, labour exchange acquires a role of a mediator and advisor. In conclusion, it can be claimed that the functions of network organisation vision and forum are vivid in the counsellor activity.

The very structure of the exchange serves in performing a qualitative role of informant. The labour exchange structure consists of departments distributed according to separate activities and a tripartite commission working on voluntary grounds at labour exchanges. The tripartite commission is formed of the representatives of trade unions, employers and state management bodies who periodically investigate the issues of inhabitant employment in the country and territorial divisions.

An exchange is an open organisation, which aims at facilitating the opportunities for job seekers or people who are interested in the situation in the labour market. The centres for Voluntary Information Search (SIP), Vocational Information, Youth Employment, Information and Counselling centres are registered at exchanges; there it is possible to obtain all the necessary information about vacant work places, employment opportunities and other relevant information, which allows shortening the job search duration.

The openness of the exchange is also indicated by its integration into the World Association of Professional Employment Services (WAPES) in 1991. The main aims of this organisation are to develop relations among various countries in sharing the information and work experience, organising conferences, seminars, studies, training and traineeships.

Labour exchange assumes the social responsibility to investigate labour market and foresee the prognosis for its change. Therefore, it is possible to assume that the future of the exchange clients – the unemployed – and the balance in the labour market are determined by the just and efficient monitoring of the labour exchange.

Summarising, it is noteworthy that labour market, in the implementation of the state inhabitant employment guarantees, assumes social, economic and psychological responsibilities. In pursuit of qualitative performance of these duties the personnel of the labour exchange has to upgrade their qualification constantly, and become independent, initiative, responsible experts of broad competence who continuously develop their qualification.

IV The research of principal features and factors of the labour Exchange, as learning organization

In the Labour exchange as a learning organization’s research 235 respondents took part from all Lithuanian Labour Exchanges. The questioned received the questionnaires, which consisted of five question blocks; there were structural questions, statements with response size of nominal scales and Likert scales. The coded survey data of the questioned was analysed with SPSS program. The improvement of Labour exchange management and work organization is influenced by the growing value of learning. One of the features of learning organization is the creation of the climate stimulating the learning of the organization, support and possibility to improve for every member of the organization, so with the first question groups it was necessary to ascertain the respondents’ attitude to external and internal factor and condition, which stimulate learning.

The respondents agreed with the statement that very good conditions for learning in the work place are of great importance with view to improvement, as well as the initiation and support of their executives.

29,6% of workers completely approved and 38,4% partially approved the statement that while working it is natural to experience the situations, when it is doubtful how to behave, how to do one or other job, when there is a wish to say, "I cannot do, I do not know how to do". The respondents do not think that age is an obstacle for learning and point (36% completely do not agree and 47.2% agree partially), that to improve one’s job it is possible reading special thematic literature.

Equal partnership relations in the organization can be developed only when the workers openly say they minds or critics, object to other opinions. 32% of workers completely agreed with this statement. It is worth to mention that, according to chi- square test, the understanding of the partnership relations does not depend either on education, work experience, or age. Opinions about the quality of team or individual work were different. One third claimed that this is nowadays fashion, one third- that it is a method, stimulating to perform one’s job qualitatively.

Estimating these answers, it is possible to make a supposition that work in groups is not very popular in Labour Exchange. Major part of the Labour Exchange workers noted that trying to stay in your job, it is important not only to study but also to be able to analyse own work continuously (see picture 2.). It should be mentioned that the ability to analyse their work the respondents appreciate more than learning. These results may have been influenced by the fact that "learning" is a more abstract and wider notion than "work analysis".

Picture 2. The division of answers to the statements "I have to learn if I want to stay in my job" and "It is important to learn how to analyse my work continuously".

Almost half respondents (46.4%) claim that Labour Exchange is rather open to various new activity ideas, to experience of other countries, 16% of the questioned were not determined to estimate Labour exchange openness.

Senge (1990) distinguishes internal and external information collecting, estimation and distribution as one of learning organization features.

There were 74.4% of the questioned who claimed they are satisfied with the information distribution in the Labour exchange, 19% who were not satisfied, 7% of the workers could not decide

Picture 3. The division of the answer to the statement "Are you satisfied with spread of information in the labour exchange".

Many means and methods of the information distribution in the Labour Exchange are used and the most popular of them- oral individual announcements and the information distribution at traditional events- conferences, meetings. The computer is used at work by 96% of the questioned, 75.2% use e-mail, 84% the Internet.

With transformation of the society, the requirements for the human knowledge and competence, connected with these changes also change, so that they could perform all the roles, which were provided. The respondents estimated the distinguished knowledge fields very differently- neither of the knowledge fields was accepted as sufficiently acknowledged. Almost half of the questioned noted that they had acknowledged these knowledge fields:

- how to listen in order to hear better- 48.4%
- how to distribute information and knowledge- 42.3%
- how to collect, store and analyze information- 44.8%,
- how to consult- 36.8%.

These results show that the most acknowledged is information collection and storage.

As the most insufficient the respondents pointed out foreign language knowledge (46.4%) and EC experience distribution field (24.4%); less insufficient- improvement of activity methods (28%), formulation of the goals (28%), creative problem solving (27.2 %), a little insufficient- adjustment of goals (47.6%), knowledge transformation into real practical action (51.2%), expansion of personal abilities and competences (49.6%), change of activity methods (49.6%), creation of the vision (43.2%).

Having performed the chi- square test, a statistical relation between the age of respondents and the fields of the distinguished knowledge and skills was noticed:

how to formulate own goals and create own vision (df -35, p=0.045),

- how to express own mind in formal and informal situations (df- 16, p=0.047),
- how to be able to change the trend of activity, attitude, evaluation (df- 28, p=0.003),
- how to collect, store and analyse information (df- 35, p=0.24),
- how to use information technologies (df- 30, p=0.043),
- how to consult (df- 28, p=0.045).

The Labour Exchange workers noted that it is very important and useful to deepen knowledge not only in the field of Labour Market analysis but also in the field of consulting, trying to establish the suitability of the interested ones for one or another speciality as well as to perform diagnostic tests. This result shows ambition of the respondents for the quality of the performed work.

Having performed chi- square test, a statistical relation between the age of respondents and these competences was noticed:

- knowledge of strategies for conflict solving (df- 14, p=0.001),
- knowledge of key principals and rules of qualitative team work (df- 21, p=0.001).

between education and these competences:

- knowledge about the Labour market situation in Lithuania and his own region (df- 8, p=0.002),
- knowledge of the mainly applied employers’ search and selection strategies (df- 8, p=0.002),

It is possible to claim that in the Labour Exchange very expressive ambition for learning and professional improvement is noticed.

Social relationships- praise, critics, support, competitive struggle, leadership, mistakes, development of ideas and their realization, in the learning organization, are used for learning. Having performed chi- square test, a statistical relation between the education of respondents and the distinguished problem was noticed, that trying to solve a problem, it is very difficult to gather people into a group (df-28, p=0.049).

Almost all the Labour exchange workers have participated in other city’s or Republican trainings organized by Labour Exchange. Even 52.8% of workers claim understanding that a more qualified worker may occupy their work place and this reason is pointed out as the principal motive for learning. Possibly, due to this reason, almost all the participants of the questioning pointed out that they feel need for learning (see picture 4).

Picture 4. The division of the answers to the statement "I feel need for learning"

Diverse results can be seen, evaluating the Labour Exchange workers’ participation in the activity strategy creation (see picture 5). Only one third of the respondents completely agree with the statements that they have taken part in the process of Labour Exchange policy formation and that usually all the workers take part in this process. One fourth could not answer the question whether they had take part in the Labour Exchange strategy formation.

Picture 5. The division of the answers to the statements "Participated in the Labour Exchange policy formation process" and "Almost all workers participate In Labour Exchange activity strategy creation"

Having performed Chi-square test, a statistical relation between the respondents’ education and participation in forming Labour Exchange strategy was noticed, the higher the education, the more active participation in the policy formation process.

Conflicts at work occur (35.2% respondents completely agreed with this statement) and they are settled openly (31.2%), trying to listen to both quarrelling sides. Major part of the respondents may call their colleagues as a "team" (see picture 6), thus a presupposition can be made that this exactly feeling influences open conflict solving strategy.

Picture 6. The division of the answer to the statement "I may call my colleagues as a "team"

Having performed an empirical research in Lithuania Labour Exchange, it is possible to state that in Labour Exchange the expression of all the features of learning organization was not observed, however, on the level of the regulations of the research participants (estimating the expression of the features of learning organization in the Labour Exchange), the repeated learning organizations’ features allow us to state that factual social presuppositions exist which enable us to apply the ideas of learning organization concept in Labour Exchange.

Conclusions

  1. A network organisation is such where every member (individual or organisation) has realised that their organisation is a part of a higher-level system, where separate organisations cohere their goals with the goals of a network organisation and base their cooperation on non-hierarchical equality relations. Such organisation can be characterised by autonomy, the commitment of organisations to each other and strong positive dependence, cooperation and common goal and vision, broader role of executives/leaders, employees of capacious competence, transparency, clearly defined limits of the network and mutual investment.

  2. Learning organization’s concept- new paradigm, treating learning in the organization not as a formal economic activity, but as a continuous internal and external reflection, generating the alternatives of functions of the organization and looking for organization’s development perspectives. It is very characteristic of such organization to create the organization climate stimulating learning, to have equal partnership relations, communication and cooperation of subdivisions, groups and individuals, activity researches are performed, information collection, evaluation and distribution, continuous raise of qualification, formulation of strategy, vision and objectives as a learning process, flexibility and openness of the organization

  3. A labour exchange is a dynamic network organisation which is becoming a specialised social environment where labour market balance is regulated, and the state guarantees of inhabitant employment are realised: counselling, informing and re-qualifying job seekers. The labour exchange can be characterised by the following network organisation features: network structure, cooperation, common goal, values, expanded employee roles, flexible limits of organisation and dependence.

  4. Not all the features of the learning organization are observed in the Labour Exchange:

- Labour Exchange worker’s improvement is more influenced by the external factors, stimulating learning (application of modern technologies, new means, advice of colleague) than the internal (eagerness for knowledge, internal ambition) factors.

- Positive learning microclimate dominates in Labour Exchange- equal relationships of partnership, openness to the new ideas of activity, to the experience of other countries, prominent ambition for learning and professional improvement.

- The ability to examine the activity is more appreciated than learning, and permanent learning is understood as a guarantee to retain a work place.

- The Labour Exchange workers have mastered the knowledge fields of information collection, storing and consulting at most; the weakest point is: foreign language knowledge, conveyance of EC states experience, development of activity methods, formulation of aims, creative problem solving adjustment of aims, knowledge transformation into real practical action, development of personal skills and competences, change of activity methods, the vision creation knowledge fields.

- Knowing the strategies for conflict solving, ability to use information technologies- are the most useful fields of competence, distinguished by the respondents.

- A need for teamwork manifested itself as well as positive attitude of the administration to the worker’s learning, however, absence of conditions for learning is observed, so it is possible to state that there is no clear policy for the raise of qualification.

- Only one third of the respondents have participated in the creation of the Labour Exchange activity strategy.

- In the Labour Exchange the strategies, formulation of vision and aims, with participation of all the organization members, as a learning process is not exhausted.

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Data about the authors:

Daiva Bukantaite
PhD student in the department of educational sciences at Vytautas Magnus University
Areas of scientific interests:
Education management, learning organization, network organization, behavior and culture of organization.
d.bukantaite@smf.vdu.lt 

Rimantas Lauzackas
Professor, habilitated doctor,
Dean of Vytautas Magnus University, the faculty of social sciences,
Director of Centre for Vocational Education and Training Studies,
Professor in the Department of Educology.
Areas of scientific interests:
Labour market research, research of professions and professional training, curriculum projecting, training of profession pedagogues (teachers).
The expert of Lithuanian Science council, the member of various education and professional training boards and committees.
r.lauzackas@smf.vdu.lt

This document was added to the Education-line database on 04 February 2005