Learning to Learn: How International NGOs Can Become Learning Organizations

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

John Ungerleider

Second Advisor

Aqeel Tirmizi


This research study explores the challenges facing international development nonprofits’ organizational learning, and the strategies they employ to deal with them. The paper seeks to answer: What are the factors necessary for an international development organization to master organizational learning? In order to do so, eight such organizations were surveyed and interviewed in regards to their organizational learning systems. Much of the research is based upon a model developed by a theorist in the field, and the survey used is an adapted version of the instrument created to assess current learning methods in non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The findings of the study indicate that organizational learning is beneficial to nonprofits working on an international scale, but that it is an investment often neglected due to limited human and financial resources. The data demonstrate that an organization’s internal culture has a great deal of impact on its ability to master organizational learning, and more research should be done on how to foster a learning culture. In addition, this research concludes that the benefits of organizational learning on efficiency and effectiveness of organizations must be better disseminated to change perceptions about its value.


Nonprofit Administration and Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory

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