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The Canadian Corps in the Great War: A Learning Organization in Action

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Technical Report,01 Jul 2015,01 Apr 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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On August 4, 1914 Canada found itself at war. As a Dominion within the British Empire, Canada had nearly complete control of its domestic affairs but London still controlled its foreign policy. With only a small permanent force of 3,000 men, Canada found itself unprepared for war. By 1916, Canadas Army had grown to an infantry corps of four divisions. The Canadian Corps accomplished a remarkable process of maturation considering its unimpressive beginnings and the effect of its high casualty rate throughout the conflict. Analysis of the Canadian Corps revealed that the Corps excellent performance during the war particularly in the later years resulted from its transformation into a learning organization. Just as the referenced learning organization theories describe, the Corps learned and improved over time by engaging in a process of acquiring or creating, interpreting, transferring, and retaining information. Supported by an organizational culture that encouraged and accepted change within the organization, the Canadian Corps possessed the traits of a learning organization, and demonstrated the expected behaviors of such an organization in its combat performance.

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