Organizational behavior is the interdependency and interaction between individuals in an organization as well as other variables. It is possible to evaluate learning within an organization by observing people’s behavior. This can also assist in determining how knowledge is acquired by everybody in the organization. There are different avenues via which learning occurs. Additionally, it enables individuals to perform duties with varying precision levels (Kolb 245). Learning as a process is continuous and its end is not when an individual leaves the college or university upon graduation. Every organization requires the employees to participate in experiential and active learning. Experiential learning entails knowledge acquisition of individuals on the basis of the experiences that they have gone through. In most cases, learning takes place through doing, observation, emotions, feelings and behavior.
Several scholars have studied experiential learning notion over the years. Nevertheless, David Kolb’s experiential learning version is the most applied and recognized version. Most scholars refer to it as Kolb’s learning theory. This scholar considers learning as a procedure of knowledge formation via experiences’ renovation (Kolb 247). Kolb clarifies knowledge definition continuously. Knowledge comes from experience acquisition and its transformation.
Kolb proposed a learning concept that comprises of four stages of knowledge acquisition. The concept has four learning styles as shown in the model that describes the process of acquiring knowledge in four stages. These stages are exhibited by the employees of an organization as they perform their daily duties. Looking at the experiential learning model closely shows that learning as an activity is complex and different individuals have varying learning styles. Therefore, this paper discusses organizational behavior on the basis of learning. The tackled learning methods coincide with the experiential learning method of Kolb (Kolb, 245). The paper also demonstrates the way individuals within an organization identify with every state of this model.
In writing, David Kolb proposed that experiential learning comprises of six different characteristics. It is better to perceive learning as a detailed process rather than to consider the results. Knowledge acquisition is a continuous procedure whose roots are the daily experiences. Learning leads to disagreements’ solutions between the methods that are dialectically contrasting in world variations (Kolb 247). This implies that the nature of learning is filled with tension. Being a holistic process during which a person adapts to a world, learning entails transactions between the environment and the learner. It also implies information acquisition, which originates from personal and social knowledge interaction.
The four experiential learning stages that Kolb’s model put forward include concrete experience (CE), active experimentation (AC), reflective observation (RO) as well as abstract conceptualization (AC). The four experiential learning stages are supported properly by other four learning styles that present two appropriate styles. These include assimilating (AC/RO), diverging (CE/RO), accommodating (CE/AE) and converging (AC/AE) (Clark).
This diagram shows that concrete experience is more of the feelings. It involves learning from relations with people and explicit encounters. People who learn through this method are highly sensitive to other people’s feelings. Reflective observation is more of watching the actions and behaviors of other people. People who learn this way observe first then make conclusions. They look at the environment from various perspoectives. Research indicates that such individuals aim at understanding circumstances’ sense (Kolb, Boyantzis, Mainemelis 4). On the other hand, abstract conceptualization depends on the people’s ability to think. Logical ideas’ evaluation is adopted by this stage. Here, the preference of individuals is to act on rational problem comprehension. Doing experiences are the basis of active knowledge acquisition experimentation. Such people are capable of doing things by motivating other people as well as situations via action. It entails taking risk.
As mentioned earlier, this stage entails learning through feelings. People who learn this way look at the feelings of other people and then they behave in a certain way towards them. At this time, the students played a specific role in the organizational learning. After going into various organizations, they observed the way people were behaving towards one another and circumstances on the basis of their feelings. The students observed the way organizational employees responded to varying situations through feelings’ application. For instance, they were sympathetic when necessary or showed no emotions.
According to Kolb, Boyantzis, & Mainemelis (3), knowing personal or individual’s learning techniques makes direct learning easy using appropriate methods. As such, each person responds to as well as needs motivation from the learning methods and styles in varying but relative proportions. As such, it entails emphasis application in relation to a specific problem as well as the preferred style of learning. It is vital to note the feelings of people because they bring out a person’s personality.
Students participated in concrete experience as an aspect of learning model within a month. This involved all students. The used techniques were interaction and observation because these allowed for candid and close contact with the organizational individuals that were involved. The objectives and goals were to establish the way individuals behave on the basis of their feelings.
In reflective observation, a person is required to watch the actions of other people so as to acquire experiences. Here, watching the behaviors and actions of other people is the major activity. This course engaged student actively because they had to watch the way individuals within an organization were learning via watching. The students realized that most individuals observe before making conclusions or judgments (Clark). Students observed the way people act towards others in their environment. Additionally, they watched the reactions of similar people to varying situations while performing their daily duties which made others learn via observation. This enabled the students to get comprehensive information after which they gave their verdict.
Individuals who learn by watching are capable of assessing problems from varying perspectives rather than using a single side or aspect. These learners are sensitive to situations and people. They prefer watching and seeing rather than acting on situations immediately. They also gather information and later use imaginary abilities in reconciling issues. These people are exceptional when it comes to viewing the tangible situations from varying angles. This enables them to provide sound solutions (Kolb 244). As such, individuals are made less judgmental by reflective observation and less quick in making conclusions. Through reflective observation, individuals develop a unique thought process which they can use in different situations. Individuals with this skill are calm with fewer emotions.
Several observations were recorded by students as they were studying behaviors in the organization. They noted that although reflective observation is used by some people, there were those who observed better than others. There were employees who did not require explanations to grasp information while others required clarification to grasp information (Clark).
This is the point at which learners employ their thinking abilities in order to acquire knowledge. This stage requires the student to use realistic problems’ evaluation and then act on intellectual comprehension of circumstances. Students participate in the active experimentation whose focus is on actual acts or doing things. Here, the notion is that on getting at this point, a person can now think logically and soundly. It is hoped that the student can observe people’s critical thinking within the organizational behavior. It is expected that behavior results from judgment whose basis is critical thinking (Clark).
People are able to look at learning from different perspectives due to thinking after which they make judgment. Within an organization, it is the employees’ duty to serve people whose backgrounds differ. Therefore, their relationships with clients should be closer and they should observe them. Students made observations that showed that an individual ought to employ critical thinking in learning the way different clients should be handled. The rules and hypothesis of this learning rely on the truth that before acting, people think. It is expected that nobody should act blindly. Secondly, it is expected that a person should act in a certain way so as to realize the set goal (Kolb 245).
Studies have indicated that these theories are true in different situations and most people apply them. There are different levels at which people perform their duties. Usually, there are people who are excellent in their work while others are less effective. As such, from the beginning of this study, the expectation of the students was that they would identify various employees’ categories within the organization on the basis of the way they perform the duties assigned to them. It is also at this point that individuals participate in the systematic planning instead of employing senses as they think about as well as examine experiences.
In most cases, the focus of this learning stage is the individual’s ability to act or do something about issues. Here, learners ought to show their ability to solve problems through situations and group control by active involvement which also implies that an individual has to take risks. Active experimenting learners focus on luring individuals so that they can do what is right. Thus, they influence events and individuals through acting experiences (Kolb, Boyantzis, and Mainemelis 4). Through active experiential learning, individuals are able to analyze whether they can use the acquired knowledge. Individuals can also predict on the basis of the experiences acquired. The involved people during active experimentation become good analysts. In any organization, knowledge is very important because companies have different functions. People who possess analytic abilities are required by all organizations. These are individuals who can bring others together through their actions. Such people are risk takers who do not fear doing things.
The learning experiences that are acquired via five behavior levels are explained by Kolb, Boyantzis, Mainemelis (7). They include early specializations in education, personality type, latest job roles and adaptive competencies. Just as indicated, Kolb established the four different learning styles on the basis of observed behavior. These styles are a combination of the four stages that have been discussed in this paper (Kolb, Boyantzis, & Mainemelis 9). They include diverging, assimilating, accommodating and converging.
Diverging as a knowledge acquisition method uses feelings as well as the learner’s ability to observe circumstances, therefore (CE/RO). People who use this learning style assess issues or problems from a broader perspective. These are sensitive to different issues within their environment. They also prefer observing situations first rather than doing something. These people are excellent when it comes to observing complex problems from a broader context (Kolb, Boyantzis, ad Mainemelis 10). People who use diverging learning have different cultural interests. Their interest is in acquiring information. They are interested in other people and their imagination is clear. They are also great in arts. Such people work very well and they are comfortable in groups. They usually interact in open discussion and they listen intently while offering and getting feedback.
Assimilating learning pattern requires a person to watch and think during learning. This method adopts exact and logical approaches where impressions and ideas are vital than what individuals do. Such learners need clear and proper explanations rather than practical opportunities (Kolb 246). Such people are very good at grasping different information as well as organizing the information logically. Individuals who employ such a learning style have less interest in others. They prefer imaginary concepts and contemplating ideas.
Converging learning requires learners to think more while searching for knowledge. Learners use this learning in resolving crisis on daily basis. Participating in different technical activities is also favored by learners and they are less attentive to interrelations and people. Accommodating entails displaying emotions and taking action. It mixes AE with CE. This is practical knowledge method and it relies on instinct rather than logic. Such individuals employ the evaluation of other people. They prefer a functional approach and experiences. Such people pay specific attention to the new challenges as well as results (Kolb, Boyantzis and Mainemelis 10).
Kolb notes that learning as an activity is complex and it requires different experiences. Different individuals show different behaviors which support the learning method that they prefer.
Clark, Don. Kolb’s learning styles and experiential learning. 2011. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/styles/kolb.html
Kolb, David. The Kolb learning style inventory, Version 3. Boston: Hay Group. p244 – 247.Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/styles/kolb.html
Kolb, David, Boyantzis, Richard, and Mainemelis, Charalampos. Experiential learning theory: previous research and new developments. P3- 10. Web. 5 Mar 2014. Retrieved from https://www.d.umn.edu/~kgilbert/educ5165-731/Readings/experiential-learning-theory.pdf