The additions made by the company to that competence .of their human resources translate directly to a competitive advantage in terms of the total knowledge which a company can call on. Thus a company can become a learning organization if it continually seeks to improve the level of knowledge which is distributed amongst its employees. This knowledge can be explicit in terms of certain procedures, laws, and regulations which are commonly known to all members of a certain position within the company or it can be implicit such as a management style or leadership skills which are held by only a few within the company.
It is not easy to define a learning organization since all companies at one or more levels are connected to how they train their employees formally or informally. Some definitions have been given by experts such as Senge (1999) and Dixon (1994) who suggest that a learning organization makes considerable efforts in improving the knowledge base of its employees and then uses that increased knowledge to help along with its own business processes and procedures.
Pedler et. al (1991) goes one step further to say that the learning company not only focuses on training and knowledge management, it also changes itself rapidly to ensure that the learning done by the employees is applied as quickly as possible without waiting for their learning to become common knowledge. With these definitions, it is easy to see that a learning organization only comes into being when the management, as well as the employees, are willing to work with each other as they seek improvements in all areas of business including the concept and business application of knowledge management.
Therefore, learning organizations are quick to adapt to the environment as it changes around them. They are also focused on the continued enhancement of both their employees and their systems which they base on an individual as well as collective learning (Gibb, 2002). Finally, learning organizations are able to manage and quantify the knowledge which .is distributed as a tacit asset throughout their organization and can use the knowledge to gain competitive advantages.