Learning Org. Criteria, Tools, etc. LO29611

From: Vana Prewitt (vana@praxislearning.com)
Date: 11/29/02

Replying to LO29601 --

Doug Merchant wrote:

> I think it useful to define organizational learning as the process by
> which the response from past behaviors is fed back the system to shape
> future behaviors. As such, I think it a mistake to assume all learning is
> good learning.

Thank you Doug for making this point. Not all learning leads to behaviors
or events we might call "positive" or "good." Organizations learn how to
be vindictive, deceitful, combative, hateful, self-serving, and
self-destructive. We've all seen it and certainly have heard about it
(Enron? World Com?).

And I would push back on the process versus product debate within the
organizational learning culture. Instead of thinking of OL as either one
or the other, is there some overwhelming cosmic rule that forbids us to
think of OL as a process AND a product? Can't it be both?

Yes, OL is a process of establishing shared cognition but if we eliminate
the behavioral aspect of OL we also discard the potential of of
identifying learning as a behavior BEFORE one reflects on and integrates
the stimulus into cognition. Are we saying that changed behavior cannot be
an act of learning at a tacit level? Do we disregard the learning aspect
of intuition, stored memory, and synthesis without cognitive processing?

I honor both the tacit and explicit levels of knowing and as such, believe
that OL may be best described as a figure 8 on its side, with learning
occurring on the process side and the product side at various times
depending on the mediating factors of the people, environment, and
learning challenges.

kind regards,

Vana Prewitt
Chapel Hill, NC


Vana Prewitt <vana@praxislearning.com>

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