PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explain the influence of a school's operational structure on organisational learning capacity (OLC), and how this either supports or disables any aspiration as a learning organisation.Design/methodology/approachTwo organisational working models are described, one based on same-age structure and another that uses multi-age organisation. These are systemically examined to test for OLC and subsequent potential to develop as learning organisations.FindingsSchools using same-age organisational structure have restricted feedback mechanisms that inhibit their ability to develop OLC. Schools that have adopted multi-age structures have extensive information feedback mechanisms; consequently, they have a higher OLC and the potential to develop as a quasi learning organisation.Practical implicationsThis paper intervenes at a time when interest in the concepts of OLC, transformative learning, and the idea developing schools as learning organisations is increasing. The danger of this development is to repeat the reformational mistakes of the past by failing to reflect on ingrained organisational assumptions. This paper encourages schools to reflect on their organisational strategy.Originality/valueThis paper fills a gap in the research literature by offering a practical analysis of two organisational systems, to show how structure impacts on OLC and aspirations to develop as a learning organisation.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 7, 2020
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