Dialogue, language, learning LO25512

From: Don Dwiggins (d.l.dwiggins@computer.org)
Date: 10/23/00

Replying to LO25378 --

> From: "AM de Lange" <amdelange@postino.up.ac.za>
> Don Dwiggins <d.l.dwiggins@computer.org> writes:

>> I'll make a bold claim: you can tell a learning organization
>> (or the degree of organizational learning going on) by
>> observing the processes by which new terms arise and
>> are adopted (and eventually die out, but that's another story).
>> Anyone want to take me on, or comment on "the corporate
>> language"?

Hi, At, thanks for picking up on this.

> What kind of evolution must the species "Homo sapiens" (the only species
> in the genus) be involved with if it cannot repeat the physical route? I
> think that the future evolution of "Homo sapiens" ought to be spiritual
> rather than physical. If this is indeed the case, then what spiritual
> activity should we focus upon as the key to spiritual evolution? In my
> mind there is no uncertainty -- for me it has to be "learning".

Mmm... this separation of physical and spiritual bothers me. Can a
species evolve spiritually with no relation to physical evolution? A
related question: what is the physical side of an organization (LO or
not), and what the spiritual side? Can they be completely separated?

> A vitally important activity in "biological evolution" is the symbiosis of
> biological species in an ecological niche. I often think metaphorically of
> a Learning Organisation, consisting of Learning Individuals, as such an
> "ecological niche with evolving species living symbiotically". In this
> metaphor the LO-dialogue is nothing else than the articulation of that
> symbiosis.

Symbiosis is usually defined in terms of individuals. I've always
wondered what the equivalent concept would be at the species level. For
example, could the predator-prey species relationship be considered

> Dwig, thinking of computer programming languages, how much symbiosis is
> there between them? (If you do not want to answer this question, I
> understand.)

Having watched the evolution of programming languages for four decades,
I'd love to answer at length, but this probably isn't the forum for it.
I'll content myself with this: the evolutionary paths of software and of
hardware have been interwoven, but not deterministic. Often, new software
"creatures" have caused pressure for hardware changes; occasional advances
in hardware have created niches for new software creations.

More along the lines of my original claim: how many "languages" (linguists
sometimes use the term "microlanguage") are there in an organization? How
much symbiosis is there among them? Let me add to my earlier claim: you
can tell a learning organization (or the degree...) by observing the
relationships among the microlanguages in the organization, and by the way
they evolve. Perhaps a good OD or management consulting group should have
a linguist or two on staff...

Warm regards to all,


Don Dwiggins SEI Information Technology d.l.dwiggins@computer.org "It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. . . . This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking. -- Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)

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