Can Organizations Learn? LO16445

Mnr AM de Lange (
Thu, 8 Jan 1998 16:58:31 GMT+2

Replying to LO16378 --

Dear organlearners,

Keith Cowan <> writes:

> Mnr AM de Lange ( makes a number of fascinating
> points. I would like to take one of them, holistic thinking and expand:
> >...The pattern which we seem to perceive, points to some very important
> >things. Firstly, there is some correspondence between our minds and the
> >material world out there. Secondly, this correspondence forces us to
> >accept that our minds and the world out there are firmly connected into
> >one reality. This the very essence of holistic thinking.
> >Now, to end this contribution on the thread "Can Organisations Learn?", I
> >wish to observe YES, provided that the members of the organisation think
> >holistically. How should we define this holism? ...

Thank you Keith for your encouraging words. I agree with you have written,
eventhough I had to snip it. But one part I did not snip because I could
not resist the opportunity you offered to allow me to illustrate what
holism is about.

> There are several notions here. First, the organization must have a shared
> vision, values and culture NOT TO mention similar backgrounds and
> education. Strong leadership will ensure continued buy-in to the current
> change initiatives to produce the forward momentum that can cause learning
> to occur.

Keith, you mention "strong leadership". But holism also requires us to
question "strong followership". For example:

Are "strong leadership" and "strong followership" mutually exlusive or
not? (For me they are inclusive adjoints!)

Is "strong followership" a synonym for "strong leadership" or not? (For
me they are a complementary pair.)

Is "strong followership" a prerequisite for an organisation to become a
LO, or is it one of the most valuable outcomes of an LO? (For me it is a
criterium by which I decide if an organisation is a LO.)

Maybe we have in "Strong Followership" a new exciting thread.

I believe that both "Strong Leadership" and "Strong Followership" are
vitally important to any organisation. That is why I am so keen on
promoting creativity for all humans. Now how the heck did I connect these
two "-ship"s to creativity?

The postfix "-ship" is part of the Anglo-Saxon heritage of English. It is
derived from the Saxon verb "schiepen" which means create. (My own
germanic language Afrikaans has part of its roots in Saxon. Our word for
create is "skep".) Thus for me "strong leadership" and "strong
followership" means "creative leader" and "creative follower".
Unfortunately, "creative follower" appears to be a contradiction
(oxymoron) for most people. However, even if appears to be wierd to most
of you, I firmly believe that what we need most in the coming age, are
"creative followers". This is what I work for.

Best wishes.


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email:

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