Ecological literacy and living organizations LO13753

Benjamin B. Compton (
Wed, 28 May 1997 09:49:41 -0700

Replying to LO13730 --

Richard C. Holloway wrote:

> This web we're weaving seems to me to be speaking of the conflict between
> the linear mind-set demanded by our economic culture and the cyclical--or
> natural--mental model on which systems thinking is based. It seems to me
> that much of the effort involved in developing learning organizations
> seems linked to an awareness that organizations need to evolve, to change,
> to become more reflective of the natural world in which they exist. This
> means, to me, that we should seek to understand organizations from an
> ecological viewpoint.
> One example of what I'm speaking occurred in the recent dialog about
> learning--how can we get people to learn? How do we measure their
> learning? How can we justify the expense to the organization (especially
> if we can't get people to learn what we want them to learn!)? I see a
> significant problem with this. Learning experiences that hinge on
> trainers choosing what people need to know--presumes that what people need
> to know has been invented or has occurred. What people frequently need is
> the opportunity to experiment, to choose, to think, while being exposed to
> the ideas and thoughts from professionals and academics. Now, many might
> say that they don't intend to choose what people need to know--however, as
> soon as they frame the questions to measure or quantify the learning, then
> they've done just that.

Richard, help me establish a connection between your first and second
paragraphs. I don't see how what you're saying in your second paragraph is
reflective of the approach to prescribe in the first.

I've read "The Web of Life," and enjoyed it very much. And a good portion
of my time over the last few months has been spent on trying to figure out
how to view an organization from an ecological viewpoint. And so if you
can establish a firm and clear connection between the mental model and
practical realities I would be interested.



Ben Compton
"Friends are the ornaments of life."
Phone:  (801) 222-6178
Fax:    (801) 222-6993

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