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The culture of learning organizations in Chinese state-owned and privately-owned enterprises: An empirical study

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Abstract

By using a Western concept—the instrument called dimensions of learning organization questionnaire (DLOQ), and the data collected from 919 employees in nine companies located in Guangdong Province, China, the present empirical study explores the culture of learning organizations in Chinese business settings. Findings suggest that the DLOQ is applicable to the context of China as well, and those demographic variables, such as age and educational level, together with the types of ownership of Chinese companies, such as state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and privately-owned enterprises (POEs), suggest differences in the culture of learning organizations. Results also indicate that the learning organization culture of a firm has strongly positive impact on employees’ job satisfaction and perceived organizational performance. Two implications should be noted. First, as employees in middle age and with college education show the strongest sense of improving the learning culture, it can be inferred that demographic characters and groups may influence the organization’s learning culture differently. Second, as POEs have a better learning atmosphere than SOEs, it can be inferred that POEs have a stronger competitiveness than SOEs in terms of learning ability and organizational performance. To indigenize the Western construct and instrument of learning organizations, the present study, as an exploratory research, gives substantial knowledge on the subject and seeks to fill the gap in the literature, despite the limitations of cultural nuances and a narrowly-concentrated sample.

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Correspondence to Xiaohui Wang.

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Keywords

  • culture of learning organizations
  • demographic variables
  • Chinese SOEs and POEs
  • job satisfaction
  • perceived performances