My Theory of Organizational Learning LO30834

From: Mark W. McElroy (
Date: 12/03/03

Replying to LO30827 --

Dear At, Rick and All:

What At has to say here is quite important, I think, and quite true in
my opinion. The effect is to shift the focus of our attention away
from the descriptive task (although I agree that's important, too) to
the prescriptive or normative side of the issue.

But I do think, as well, that what we're all most interested in at the
end of the day is how to enhance our own organizations' performance by
enhancing learning and their capacity to adapt. Here I wonder if
cultural differences should be regarded with deference or, better yet,
suspicion. After all, we are all cut from the same genetic cloth,
aren't we? Thus, we are all equally subject to the same fundamental
learning cycle, the logic of learning and action, or action and
learning. Here it is in Rick Karash's terms (as I understand how he
teaches it):

ACT => OBSERVE => EXPLAIN => DESIGN (and then back again to ACT and so
forth; it's a cycle)

This is a familiar action or learning cycle that most of us are
familiar with.

Do Chinese people have a different cycle? Do South Africans? Or even
Vermonters like myself, for that matter? I don't think so. Even the
"lowest" living organisms demonstrably rely on this logic.

So to say that actual learning behaviors in different cultures,
countries, or organizations differ is not to say that all of them
might not be subject in the same ways to the same benefits realizable
by achieving the same common goal -- an organizational learning model
of a specific type of equal benefit to all. In other words, there may
be an optimum organizational learning process (or model) which, if
achieved, will produce superior learning performance REGARDLESS of

Before I tell you what I that type might be, I'd love to hear
reactions to what I have said thus far.



Mark W. McElroy
President, KMCI, Inc. []
CEO, Macroinnovation Associates, LLC []
(802) 436-2250
-----Original Message-----
>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.


"Mark W. McElroy" <>

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