My Theory of Organizational Learning LO30827

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 12/02/03

Replying to LO30809 --

Dear Organlearners,

Rick Karash <> wrote:

>Remember that my process is to create explicit theory
>by looking closely at what we actually do, that is, by
>investigating what Argyris would call "Theory in Use."
>This is in contrast to just jumping right into a question,
>"What do I think about X?"

Greetings dear Rick,

I feel like being between the bottle and the label. Allow me to
explain why.

What people do, even their learning, is influenced enormously by their
cultural environment. People from China do things differently than
people from Africa or Europe, having had Confucius to shape their
culture. For example, Confucius taught always four things parallel:
literature knowledge, practising, sincerity and trustworthy. This is
still followed to a large extend.

Likewise people in the USA do things in their own way. For example,
Alan Bloom claimed to his dismay in "The Closing of the American Mind"
that USA students study literature only superficially. Furthermore,
the educational culture in the USA had been influenced heavily by
thinkers such as Peirce and Dewey. Rick, should you now base your
Theory of Organisational Learning on what people in the USA generally
do, there is no way of knowing whether such a theory would apply to
people in other parts of the world with different cultures. In other
words, your "Theory in Use" may easily become a "Theory Espoused" to

I think that what we ought to search for, is a theory which reflects
Organisational Learning (the actual practice) common to all cultures.

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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