Relationship between Experience and Research LO30199

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 05/22/03

Replying to LO30187 --

Dear Organlearners,

Ellery July <> wrote under the old
Subject: Working Smarter vs. Working Harder LO30187
to a comment by Fred Nichols:

>When I hear comments like the above it is usually based on
>the writers personal experiences which have been generalized
>to the larger sphere. Frankly, your experience is not my
>experience and your comments and are not supported by
>business research it.

Greetings dear Ellery,

You have touched upon something important -- the relationship between
experience and research.

I do not think that experience can be overruled by research. Experience on
a topic is gained irrespective of any research on that topic. Furthermore,
different persons may have different experiences on the same topic. One
may also do research on these different experiences on the same topic.
However, one may even have experiences on the topic of research itself as
to how it differs from researcher to researcher.

A person may have several times the same experience on a topic like in
Fred's case. This gives that person's experience a general character
without making it general to all other persons. This is where research
comes in, making a statistical analyses of the experiences of several
people. But this is also where the Learning Dialogue (LD) comes in. I
think that it is crucial to a LD to hear or read of as many different
experiences as possible. They help a person to think of more possibilities
than what that person experienced self.

For example, you wrote:
>To me working smarter should not a struggle between the
>queen bees and the worker bees. One of the main reasons
>why companies do not learn is because consultants,
>craftspeople, and others boils conflicts down to management
>vs. employees. This old refrain keeps looping with both
>management and workers feeling unappreciated by the other.

It may be the case that imagining a conflict between management and
workers will prevent organisational learning. I had a few experiences of
it. But i had much more experiences of a real conflict between management
and workers preventing organisational learning. However, i have to add
hastily that my experiences pertain to South Africa which had and still
has a distorted society because of the legacy of apartheid. This seems to
be in line with the large number of workers unions which flourish in South
Africa. They often organise strikes when management and workers do not
want to listen to each other and work towards a common goal.

But I know that it is different in other countries. Therefore, i try to
read what is going on between management and workers of organisations in
them too. Reading both about experiences and research reports helps me to
get a better understanding. However, reading about organisations which
have a harmony between its managment and workers gives me much more
pleasure. Why? I can use your words: "To me working smarter should not a
struggle between the queen bees and the worker bees." But i prefer to
pinpoint it from my own viewpoint. There cannot be much constructive
creativity in an organisation when its management and workers get into
conflicts frequently.

Learning itself is promoted by constructive creativity and discouraged by
destructive creativity. Working smarter requires continual learning. This
entails that constructive creativity is necessary for working smarter.
But, sadly, my experiences are that constructive creativity is little
tolerated in the large majority of South African organisations on all
walks of life. I will like to read what are the experiences of fellow
learners on this issue. As for research on this issue, i know of very
little which has been done.

I would welcome your opinion on the relationship between experience and
research. If you can offer the findings of research reports on it, that
would be great too!

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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