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Lessons learned from Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire Studies

Special issue call for papers from The Learning Organization

Lessons learned from Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire Studies

Special-issue call for papers from The Learning Organization

Lessons learned from Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire Studies [DLOQ, Watkins & Marsick, 1997]
Guest Editors: Karen E. Watkins and Victoria J. Marsick

Assessing the value and impact of learning organization (LO) interventions, and/or of organizational learning is challenging for many reasons. It poses questions such as: How are LO constructs conceptualized and defined? How is learning, itself, defined in the LO context? How are learning organizations being redefined by advances in technology, robotics, situated tools, or AI “partnerships”? How are relationships between the learning culture and organizational performance mediated by culture and national origin? What management practices, processes or mechanisms do leaders use to leverage learning of individuals and groups or systems for knowledge sharing and creation? 

A stream of research and practice has developed that is centered on a system’s learning culture as a sensitive indicator of increases in knowledge gains, performance outcomes, and goal achievement.  Organizational culture strongly influences employee thinking and action, and through this, is often translated into performance outcomes. Thus, when learning culture is strong, it is likely that organizational learning and performance is being nurtured.
Over 70 articles have been published that used the Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ).  “The DLOQ (Watkins and Marsick 1997) is the diagnostic tool the authors developed to measure the status of, and changes in, organizational leaning practices and culture. The questionnaire includes measures of financial and knowledge performance and is used to assess factors that influence the overall adaptiveness of the organization” (Marsick, 2013, p. 129). The DLOQ assesses seven action imperatives by asking employees to rate the extent to which their organizations are characterized as: 1) creating continuous learning opportunities, 2) promoting inquiry and dialogue, 3) encouraging collaboration and team learning, 4) establishing systems to capture and share learning, 5) empowering employees toward a collective vision, 6) connecting the organization to its environment, and 7) providing strategic leadership for learning.
Published articles have examined the cumulative impact of Watkins and Marsick’s conceptualization of the learning organization (Kim, Egan, and Tolson 2015; Song, Chermack, and Kim 2013; Watkins and Dirani 2013; Watkins and Kim 2018). Recently, Turner, Baker, and Kellner (2018) used the Watkins and Marsick model  as a mature example of theory development in this field of study. The DLOQ has been used in a wide range of studies to evaluate learning organization interventions (e.g. Drobnjak, McDowall, Stothard, Talbot, & Watkins, 2014; Kim & Marsick, 2013; Marsick & Watkins, forthcoming), to examine relationships of the learning culture to other organizational variables such as organizational commitment, transformational leadership, job satisfaction (see Watkins & Kim, 2018 for a thorough list of correlates studied), and as a way of examining likely intervention points for improving organizational learning capacity (Dymock, 2003; Milton, 2003; Watkins, Milton, & Kurz, 2009).
The DLOQ has been validated across organizational contexts and cultures. The DLOQ has become an accepted measure for studies across disciplines and cultures with over 15 language versions. It is included in the APA PsychTest database. In short, the DLOQ has proven an effective tool for learning organization research and for diagnosing an organization’s current learning culture as a guide for intervention.

This Call for Papers seeks scholarship using the DLOQ and/or the Watkins and Marsick model of a learning organization (1993, 1996) in extending theory and practice focused on the role, conditions, context, and leveraging of organizational learning culture, through for example, alternative constructs of organizational performance, examination of new contexts, and issues of contextual/cultural variation and of measurement.
Papers should discuss research scholars have undertaken using the DLOQ as well as how their research adds to insights of learning culture as a measure of, and catalyst for designing and supporting learning organization and organizational learning interventions; and/or for discussing implications for theory and theory development in the field. Suggested topics for papers include, but are not limited to answering questions such as the following:
•    What critical success factors support the creation of learning organizations in a range of public, private, nonprofit, community and volunteer settings?
•    How are learning organizations realized in virtual contexts and various cultural contexts?
•    How do various system dynamics—for example, leadership, vision/mission, strategy, management practices, processes and mechanisms for learning and knowledge sharing, internal and external alignment, commitment—get leveraged to grow learning cultures?
•    What is the role of informal and incidental learning in creating a learning culture?
•    How, if at all, do partnerships between humans and AI / machines change the dynamics and design of learning organizations?
•    How are learning organizations being created in learning resistant contexts?
•    What adaptations or differences are seen in learning organizations in specialized contexts e.g., healthcare, global multilateral organizations?
•    What is the impact of technology and artificial intelligence on the learning culture?
•    What contributions have been made to the field from studies of implementing a learning organization?
•    What organizational performance outcomes correlate with a high learning culture?
•    How are measures of organizational learning culture influenced by differences in gender, race and class?

Deadlines and submission

The submission deadline for full papers is March 31st, 2020. The special issue is scheduled to appear by late 2020 or early 2021.

About the Guest Editors

Karen E. Watkins
Dr. Karen E. Watkins is Professor of Learning, Leadership & Organizational Development in the Department of Lifelong Education, Administration & Policy, the University of Georgia. Karen’s scholarly interests include action research, informal and incidental learning and organizational learning culture assessment. She has published numerous books, articles and chapters, and, with Marsick, developed the Dimensions of the Learning Organization Questionnaire (1997) used in over 70 published studies. Her most recent book is An Update on Informal and Incidental Learning Theory (with Scully-Ross, Nicolaides, & Marsick; Jossey-Bass, 2018).
Could be contacted at:
Victoria J. Marsick
Dr. Victoria J. Marsick is Professor of Adult Learning & Leadership, Department of Organization & Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University. Victoria’s scholarship examines naturally occurring, informal learning at work—in individual learners, and through their collaborative work with others in, and on behalf of, groups, communities and organizations. She has written on transformative learning, team learning, action learning, and organizational learning—often with Watkins. Her most recent book is Strategic Organizational Learning (with Martha Gephart, Springer-Verlagg, 2016).
Can be contacted at:

Papers can be submitted to the ScholarOne website:
Wordcount is to be between 4,000 and 7,000 words. These figures include references, appendixes, any footnotes, tables and figures, and that each table and figure counts as 280 words.
Please refer to the author guidelines found here


Reference list

Argyris, C., and Schön, D. (1978) Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Approach. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
Drobnjak, M., McDowall, D., Stothard, C., Talbot, S., & Watkins, K. (2014). Lessons learned: Towards a learning organisation, in A. Ortenblad (Ed.) Handbook of research on the learning organisation: Adaptation and context. London: Edward Elgar Publishing Pty Ltd.
Dymock, D. (2003). Developing a culture of learning in a changing industrial climate: An Australian case study. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 5, 182-195. doi:10.1177/1523422303005002006
Kim, J., T. Egan, and Tolson, H. (2015) “Examining the Dimensions of the Learning Organization Questionnaire: A Review and Critique of Research Utilizing the DLOQ.” Human Resource Development Review 14 (1): pp. 91–112.
Kim , Y. S. , & Marsick , V. J. ( 2013 ). Using the DLOQ to support learning in Republic of Korea SMEs . Advances in Developing Human Resources , 15 , 207 – 221 .
Marsick, V. U. (2013). The Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ): Introduction to the special issue examining DLOQ use over a decade. Advances in Developing Human Resources 15(2): 127-132.
Marsick, V., and Watkins, K. (1999) Facilitating Learning Organizations: Making Learning Count. London: Gower Press.
Milton, J. (2003). Professional associations as learning systems: Learning strategy action= stra-tegic learning. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 5, 173-181.
Song, J.H., Chermack, T.J. and Kim, W. (2013) “An Analysis and Synthesis of DLOQ-based Learning Organization Research.” Advances in Developing Human Resources 15 (2): pp. 222–239.
Turner, J.R., Baker, R. and Kellner, F. (2018) “Theoretical Literature Review: Tracing the Life Cycle of a Theory and its Verified and Falsified Statements.” Human Resource Development Review 17 (1): pp. 34–61.
Watkins, K.E, and Dirani, K.M. (2013) “A Meta-analysis of the Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire: Looking Across Cultures, Ranks, and Industries.” Advances in Developing Human Resources 15 (2): pp. 148–162.
Watkins, K., and K. Kim. 2018. “Current Status and Promising Directions for Research on the Learning Organization.” Human Resource Development Quarterly 29 (1): pp. 1–15. doi: 10.1002/Hrdq.21293.
Watkins, K., and V. Marsick. 1993. Sculpting the Learning Organization. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Watkins, K., and V. Marsick. 1996. In Action: Creating the Learning Organization. Vol. 1. Alexandria:VA: ASTD Press.
Watkins, K., and V. Marsick. 1997. Dimensions of the Learning Organization Questionnaire. Warwick, UK: Partners for the Learning Organization.
Watkins, K., Milton, J., & Kurz, D. (2009). Diagnosing the learning culture in public health agencies. International Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning. 2(1), 53-62.