Communities of Practice LO27101

From: Barry Mallis (
Date: 08/05/01

Replying to LO27090 --

> What guides the oak seed to grow into the oak tree?

You ask. Hmmm. Reminds me of how my brother asked me some 40 years ago,
when he was home from college, "Barry, what is the city?"

And I replied that it was tall buildings, lots of people, noise, movement.
He said, "That's not what I mean. what is THE CITY?"

Sensing a game of sorts whose goal or final moves I couldn't possibly
discern, I kept going: "Well, maybe it's when there is a certain
population crowding in a certain amount of space."

"No, that's not what I mean," my brother George continued. "What exactly
is the CITY?"

I tried again. "OK, it's a feeling that people have about where they are,
it's something you obviously can't explain, because it's there when the
people and their things are arranged in a certain way."

And so it went. But you, dear readers, would surely be able to define what
the "city" is outside such an abstract exchange? And organizations, no?
Beyond mortar and bricks, FAX machines, plumbing, beepers, wall charts,
cemetery storage of decades-old financial data, is there not something
else that is the organization, around which we have conducted our tango
competition all these years now?

Organizations can learn. There's no way to prove that they don't. It's not
a cogito ergo sum kind of argument. There's something more profound afoot.

As another "colistero" has signed off,

For the fun of it,

Barry Mallis


Barry Mallis <>

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