Towards an Effective Learning Organisation and the Role of Human Resources (HR) Department: The Case of a South African Finance Organisation

  • Simeone Mthombeni Management College of Southern Africa
  • Louise Niemand
Keywords: cross-functional training; human resources; knowledge sharing


This study investigates the effectiveness of measures taken by a South African finance institution towards guaranteeing that it is a learning organisation and the supportive role of Human Resources (HR) in this regard. The business environment today is volatile, uncertain, and has become more complex and ambiguous. Organisations have to make fast and appropriate decisions in order to remain current and relevant. Given the rate of change in the global business environment, organisations which are still characterised by traditional bureaucratic and hierarchical structures will find it difficult to adapt to the ever-changing business environment. This institution’s environment is characterised by a high level of bureaucracy and hierarchy resulting in prolonged decision-making processes. The prevalent culture does not promote information sharing and synergies between employees and different departments. In this study, the quantitative research method was used due to the large sample and population. The probability sampling technique was used to collect data from a population of 388 stratified into different management layers. Using multiple regression analysis, the study proved that the ability to promote learning abilities is significantly influenced by HR in driving a culture of learning within the organisation. The study provided further evidence that the learning organisation concept is holistic in its approach and that HR plays a key role in laying the foundation for this concept to thrive. Finally, a recommendation is made in the study that management should review organisational structures in place to improve decision-making. HR should play a more visible role in providing guidelines for mentorship and encourage cross-functional training, knowledge sharing and transfer among departments and employees.


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Author Biographies

Simeone Mthombeni, Management College of Southern Africa

Primary Author

Louise Niemand



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How to Cite
Mthombeni, S., & Niemand, L. (2019). Towards an Effective Learning Organisation and the Role of Human Resources (HR) Department: The Case of a South African Finance Organisation. Journal of Marketing and HR, 9, 536-553. Retrieved from