Learning and knowledge management are crucial capacities for many NGOs. This article attempts to answer such questions as: why is learning seen as so important for NGOs? How do successful NGOs actually learn? And what role do key individuals or leaders play in this process? The article draws heavily on the findings of a study of South Asian NGOs, which suggests that an NGO’s ability to learn is dependent on its organisational culture and in particular the development of an internal culture of learning. The case studies from South Asia reveal that the creation of this ‘learning culture’ derives primarily from the attitude of the leadership towards learning: at the heart of a learning organisation is a ‘learning leader’.
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