Treble-loop Learning LO29127

Date: 09/06/02

Replying to LO29111 --

I have once reviewed Flood and Romm's book on this topic:

Flood, R. L. and Romm, N. R. A. (1996). Diversity Management: Triple Loop
Learning, Wiley, Chichester. (ISBN: 0471964492; 268 pages; $75)

Some excerpts from my review:

Dash D. P. (2001). Review of Robert Flood and Norma Romm's 'Diversity
Management: Triple Loop Learning', Sankalpa, Vol. 9, No. 1. pp. 146-152.


This is a book about management and change as relevant to organisational
and social settings. The book introduces the twin notions of diversity
management and triple loop learning...

Triple loop learning is presented as the rationale behind the approach to
manage this diversity -- a rationale that is argued to be better than the
rationale of either single loop or double loop learning (Ch. 11). A 'loop
of learning' is depicted as a cyclic process built around a general
question. Three such 'loops of learning' are identified. The first loop
(the How? loop) is built around the question 'Are we doing things right?'
The second loop (the What? loop) is built around the question 'Are we
doing the right things?' The third loop (the Why? loop) is built around
the question 'Is rightness buttressed by mightiness and vice versa?' (No
rationale is presented about why these three loops should be adequate.)
The authors imagine that single loop learning can occur around any one of
these three loops. When that happens, the authors reckon, the learner
focuses on the general question on which the favoured loop is based, but
ignores other type of questions. Double loop learning is depicted as a
situation in which the learner operates in any two loops (typically the
How? and the What? loops). This type of learning is said to generate its
own stresses, usually resulting in an inability to reflect on its premises
(p. 228). This weakness is said to be overcome by triple loop learning,
in which the learner operates in all the three loops. (Whether triple loop
learning really achieves it, or whether is introduces any new weakness,
are not discussed.)...

One may still consider this book as providing a possible extension of the
vocabulary of organisational learning. But, the approach of the book does
not clarify whether there is actually an extension of the vocabulary.
Speaking through the research metaphor, three loops are not necessarily
better that two loops, just like O3 (ozone) is not better than O2 (oxygen)
when it comes to medically treating a patient with breathing trouble...


I have a soft copy of the review, if any one wants to read it in full.


Trudie asked:

>Is there someone who can help me with the concept 'treble loop learning'?
>I am quite familiar with single and double loop but have not encountered
>this concept. From comments on my article it seems to be from the
>authors Senge and Agyris, but the resources I have consulted delivered


Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.