Learning Organizations & Leadership Style

This page may contain links to non-U.S. government websites. What this means to you »

By Cecil V. Martinette Jr.

This research project analyzed seven operating departments in the City of Lynchburg to determine the leadership style of the department head and whether leadership style is conducive to establishing and maintaining a learning organization. The problem was that the City of Lynchburg leadership did not understand the components of a learning organization and whether the leadership style of department heads had any relationship to the success or failure of the departments in cultivating a learning organization.

The purpose of this research project was to determine the components of a successful learning organization and to establish if the leadership style of a department head influences the ability of that department to successfully cultivate a learning organization.

The Descriptive Research Method was used to analyze existing conditions in selected operating departments in the City of Lynchburg.

The following questions were researched:

  1. What was a learning organization?
  2. Which departments in the City of Lynchburg had employees who consider that they worked in a learning organization?
  3. Was there a relationship between the leadership style of the department head and their success at promoting and maintaining a learning organization?

The procedures involved administering a Learning Organization Assessment Survey and a Leadership Profile Survey and then comparing the results to determine whether there was a relationship between the leadership style of the department head and their success at promoting and maintaining a learning organization.

The results indicated the leaders were balanced in transactional leadership, transformational leadership behaviors, and transformational leadership characteristics. In addition, department heads with overall high leadership scores also had high transformational leadership characteristics and transactional leadership scores. The results further indicated that transactional leadership behavior (interpersonal skills) had less to do with creating a learning organization than did transformational leadership behaviors (managerial) or transformational leadership characteristics (organizational) leadership abilities.

Recommendations based on this study and its findings are: