6 Characteristics of LEARNING in Organisational Behaviour | Definition, Theory

Learning is the process of acquiring new knowledge, skills, and understanding through various experiences and interactions. It is a dynamic process that leads to a change in behavior, attitude, and cognitive abilities. In the field of organizational behavior. Learning encompasses the development of individuals and groups within an organization.

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It includes both formal trainings, such as workshops or classes, as well as informal learning that takes place through day-to-day experiences and observation. Organizational learning is the collective effort of an organization. To improve its performance through the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. It is a vital component of organizational development and change. As it enables organizations to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

Definition of Learning


In the words of Woodworth, “Learning is a relatively permanent change in a behavioral potentiality that occurs as a result of reinforced practice.”


So, it means learning means changing something about yourself that stays changed because you did it constantly over time. It is a process of acquiring new knowledge, skills, or behavior through practice and experience. You can say Organizational learning is all about how a company gets better over time. 

It happens when the company experiences something new and then uses what it learned to create new knowledge. This knowledge is then shared among all the people in the company so they can all enjoy it. This way, the company can keep improving and growing by learning from its experiences.

Types of Learning in Organizational Behaviour

Skill Learning

The process of acquiring and developing physical or practical abilities. Such as crawling, walking, playing music, swimming, etc. Ex:- A child learning to ride a bike. They start off with training wheels and slowly develop the physical ability to balance and pedal on the bike.

Perceptual Learning

The process of developing the ability to interpret and understand sensory information. Such as visual, auditory, and tactile sensations. For example, a child who initially has trouble distinguishing between different colors, but over time, learns to identify and name different colors.

Conceptual Learning

The process of forming general ideas or concepts based on specific experiences. For example, a child who sees a dog and forms an idea of what a dog is base on that specific dog. As the child sees more dogs with similar characteristics, they form a more general concept of what a dog is.

Associative Learning

The process of linking new information or concepts to before-learned information or concepts. Allowing for the accumulation of knowledge. For example, a child learns that the word “cat” refers to a specific animal, and then associates that word with a picture of a cat in a book.

Appreciation Learning

The process of developing an understanding and appreciation of beauty, art, and color. For example, a child learns to appreciate different forms of art. such as painting and sculpture, and develops an understanding of the use of color and composition.

Attitudinal Learning

The process of developing attitudes and dispositions towards certain concepts, people, or activities. This can include feelings of affection towards family members, and respect for authority figures. And a sense of belonging to a particular group or community. For example, a child who learns to show respect towards authority figures such as teachers and parents. And develops a positive attitude toward learning and education.

Importance of Learning in Organizational Behavior

  • Increased employee job satisfaction: When employees feel that they are learning and growing in their roles, they are more likely to be engaging and motivated. This leads to higher job satisfaction and a lower likelihood of turnover.

  • Lower turnover rates: When employees feel that they are learning and growing in their roles, they are more likely to be engage and motivated. This leads to higher job satisfaction and a lower likelihood of turnover.

    • Increased productivity, profits, and efficiency: When employees are learning and developing new skills, they are better able to perform their roles effectively. This leads to increased productivity, improved efficiency, and higher profits for the organization.

    • Developing leaders at all levels: Learning and development programs can help to identify and develop leaders at all levels within an organization, from entry-level employees to senior management.

      • Enhanced adaptability throughout the organization: A culture of learning and development helps organizations to be more adaptable and responsive to change. This is particularly important in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

      • Getting new Skills: It helps individuals and groups within an organization to get new knowledge, skills, and attitudes that enable them to perform tasks and roles more effectively.

        What is organizational learning theory?

        Organizational learning theory is all about how organizations can improve over time by creating new knowledge and using that knowledge. According to this theory, learning happens best when people work together to find and solve problems.

        One of the key aspects of organizational learning is the importance of creating a learning culture within an organization. This means that the organization should:

        • Value knowledge sharing,
        • Take time to learn from mistakes and failures,
        • Encourage lifelong learning for employees at all levels,
        • Allow individuals and teams to challenge the way things are done in the organization.

          Classical Conditioning Theory

          Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which a person learns to respond to a before-neutral stimulus by associating. It is with an unconditioned stimulus. This learning process involves pairing a neutral stimulus, such as the sound of a bell, with an unconditioned stimulus. Such as food, until the neutral stimulus alone can elicit a conditioned response, such as salivating.

          The theory was first proposed by Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov in the late 19th century. And is consider a foundation stone of behaviorism.

          An example of classical conditioning is Pavlov’s famous experiment where he rang a bell every time before he fed a dog. After a while, the dog began to associate the sound of the bell with the presence of food. And yet began to salivate at the sound of the bell alone, even when there was no food present.

          Classical conditioning theory has been apply to many areas of psychology such as the study of emotions and phobias. It can also be use to explain various kinds of psychological disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The theory posits that all behavior is explain by learning and conditioning processes.

          Operant conditioning theory

          Operant conditioning theory, also known as instrumental conditioning, is a method of learning where behavior is influence by the consequences that follow it. The theory was proposed by Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner in the mid-20th century. And states that a person’s behavior is shape by a system of rewards and punishments. This principle differs from classical conditioning. Where a relationship is develope between a stimulus and a behavior.

          According to operant conditioning, people will repeat behavior that leads to a reward or benefit. And avoid behavior that leads to nothing or a punishment. A child, for example, may learn to open a box to get the candy inside or avoid touching a hot stove. 

          Skinner argues that creating positive results for specific forms of behavior. which will increase the frequency of that behavior. But, punishment, such as the imposition of an unpleasant consequence, decreases the chance of the behavior being a repeat.

          In the 20th century, the study of animal learning was order to analyze these two types of learning, and they are still at the core of behavioral analysis. The concept of operant conditioning is essential in understanding how behavior is shape by the consequences that follow it, and how it can be manipulate to change or modify behavior.

          Social Learning Theory

          Social Learning Theory, is also known as Observational Learning Theory. It focuses on the idea that individuals can learn new behaviors and attitudes by observing others. This theory, proposed by Albert Bandura, emphasizes that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context.

          The main assumptions of social learning theory are:

          • Learning is not based on behavior, but rather it is a cognitive process that occurs in a social context.

          • Learning can happen by observing a behavior and the consequences that follow (also known as vicarious reinforcement).

          • Learning includes observing, extracting information, and making decisions about how to perform a behavior (also known as observational learning or modeling).

          • Reinforcement plays an important role in learning, but it is not the only factor.

          • The learner is not passive but processes and interprets the information they observe.

          So, by the above organizational learning theories suggests that an organization should be a place where people come together to learn. Grow and share knowledge to achieve better results. This leads to more efficient and effective problem-solving. And a more adaptive and innovative organization.

          • Organizational learning theory focuses on the creation of knowledge. And the use of that knowledge within an organization.

          • Key aspects of organizational learning theory are that learning happens. When people interact while finding and solving problems.

            • Organizational learning theory stresses the importance of developing a learning culture within an organization.

            • Organizations should develop a culture that prizes knowledge sharing

            • Organizations should take time to learn the lessons that failure can teach

            • Organizations should encourage employees of all levels to engage in lifelong learning


              1. Valamis. Organizational Learning. Valamis. Published May 24, 2022. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://www.valamis.com/hub/organizational-learning
              2. [email protected]. Learning in Organisational Behaviour – Legal PaathShala. Legal PaathShala. Published March 30, 2022. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://legalpaathshala.com/learning-in-organisational-behaviour/

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