Is this a Learning Organization? LO27325

From: Mark (
Date: 09/30/01

Thanks for 27320 Rick...

Some reflections in response:

I see your reflections addressing the "why" of an LO rather more than the
"what" ie that the tendency to learn is attributable to the prior
intention to create, rather than focusing on the reflective process that
indicates that learning is helping close the loop between intention and
outcome. I see some potential limitations in this approach that I would
like to share with you and our fellow learners.

In the case of the learning organisation that I am, I'm learning that what
I intend to create is a function of who I am, and as who I am changes so
does what I intend to create.

An interesting problem that this creates can perhaps be obliquely referred
to by Einstein's insight that problems cannot be solved at the level on
which they were created. In my own life this plays itself out in the
gradual awakening that most of what is limiting me in terms of whatever I
wish to create is caused less by lack of focus on whatever I wish to
create and more by limitations inherent in my own being that I cannot
presently see. In my journey this is causing me to wake up to the fact
that the I who is doing the creating must become open to being
transformed, and that this openness changes everything. In accepting and
learning to work from this openness I have been finding what I wish to
create is itself transformed. In this sense there seems to be vertical
transformative dimension in the journey to cultivating a learning
orientation which is somewhat orthogonal to the horizontal journey to
bringing an intention to fruition. This vertical dimension allows for the
emergence of higher order intentions which then seem to require a kind of
loss of my "form" (previously useful habits) within which there is a
requirement to sacrifice what was formerly motivating me. In this sense
the journey gradually becomes less towards whatever I wish to create and
more just aligning myself more and more fully with what is emerging from
the highest level ("wholist") I can be conscious of, whilst also become
increasingly conscious of what is limiting this process in order to let it

My current theory is that this applies not only to me as an individual but
also to collectives such as organisations. This process of articulation
brings me to the possibility that perhaps there are two types of learning
orientation - almost along the lines of Chris Argyris' single and double
loops, for organisations and people, one of which allows for the
transformation of the entity doing the learning and is focused on service
and the other of which is goal seeking and focused on accomplishing
intentions without questioning the "who" from whom the intentions arise.

This little adventure has brought me to propose an explicit
differentiation of the type of learning which:

 - explicitly acknowledges openness to the transformation of the learner,

 - transcends and includes the learning that takes place in people,
groups, organisations and societies and

 - acknowledges the inward and outward dimensions of the process.

The label I have come up with for this is co-transformative learning. Part
of the value of the use of such a term is to acknowledge the link between
all authentic learning at whatever level. I think that this is important
because it empowers the learner to bring lessons from their direct
experience into larger contexts, and helps to make "organisational
learning" into a sub set of a field in which many many more people already
have some personal expertise, once it has been contextualised
appropriately. Of course at the moment this is all very tentative and new,
but even so it seems worth sharing.

Warm regards


Mark Feenstra
DDI +64 9 912 7373
PO Box 99193, Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand

>6) What can you suggest to grads trying to find a company that has adopted
>aspects of a learning organization?


"Mark" <>

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