Commitment To Learning Within A Public Land Management Agency: The Influence Of Transformational Leadership And Organizational Culture

Authors

  • Raintry J. Salk
  • Ingrid E. Schneider

Keywords:

Organizational learning, commitment to learning, learning culture, transformational leadership, Corps of Engineers

Abstract

Organizational learning enhances effectiveness and adaptability, both of which are critical in the complex public management arena. Essential to increasing organizational commitment to learning are factors related to leadership and culture. Despite their importance, limited research exists on these factors in the natural resource management literature, and to date, no studies have explored their simultaneous effect on organizational learning. Such a void leaves PLMAs at a disadvantage and with a research opportunity. This study explored the ability of one particular style of leadership, transformational leadership, and learning culture to predict organizational commitment to learning across multiple sites within one organization. Transformational leaders are effective communicators, share information on a consistent basis, and articulate a strong vision to subordinates, while a learning culture is one that supports values that include transparency, accountability, valid information, and issue orientation. These characteristics were assessed through an online questionnaire administered to 314 employees across 32 units of a public land management agency in the U.S. Results indicate that in isolation, transformational leadership style significantly predicted higher levels of organizational commitment to learning. Similarly, twolearning culture factors were significant predictors of organizational commitment to learning. However, when transformational leadership and learning culture were simultaneously assessed, transformational leadership’s effect was minimized, and only one cultural factor was significant. Thus, findings suggest that leader behavior is a less important contributor to organizational learning commitment than organizational learning culture. Public land management agencies interested in enhancing their organizational commitment to learning should prioritize efforts to build or shape their learning culture. In particular, agencies should support and encourage the value of accountability. Specific suggestions to enhance accountability include the integration of learning activities into job descriptions, meetings focused on organizational processes and lessons learned, as well as forums where open discussion among employees is encouraged.?

Published

2009-01-18

Issue

Section

Regular Papers