Creating a Passion for Learning LO17270

Steve Barnett (
Wed, 4 Mar 1998 10:52:56 NZST-12

Replying to LO17248 --

Dear Organlearners,

AM de Lange commented on Tom Christoffel

> > I've been drawn to the learning organization idea, but am
> > mystified as to how to implement "a passion for learning" in a
> > small organization.
> > Learning for me is its own reward, but life is more complex. Down
> > the line there may be a correlation to financial success.
> > Without internal bench marking against personal goals, what
> > really motivates people to learn and perform? I believe an
> > external system that lets you know where you are in somebody's
> > opinion can wake some people up. What is done with the
> > information
> > depends upon the options.

AM de Lange replied with an extended discussion on the origins of the word
passion, entropic force-flux pairs, entropy production, equilibrium, edge
of chaos, bifurcations, emergences and immergences.

Thanks for the scientific philosophy AM de Lange. It has a facination and
is perhaps necessary for physical scientists (I started out as one).
However my current view is that this essentially reductionist analysis
leads us away from the more directly useful qualitative reality that
people are intrinsically passionate. To be passionate they do not need to
understand the entropic origins of implications of their passion. Actually
the reverse is more likely true. Passion is infectious. It is a mutual
phenomenon. Passion for learning is naturally present. If it is latent it
can be activated by passionate leaders, teachers, colleages, peers,
parents, partners. A dispassionate environment suppresses passion. Many
organisations in the bureaucratic tradition aspire to be dispassionate.
Dispassion is held to be a virtue.

How do you "implement a 'passsion for learning' in a small organisation?
Answer: be PASSIONATE about it. In a small organisation this ought to be
easier because of the greater scope for flexibilty of hierarchy and

Step back from managerially engineered external motivational systems and
give those spooky homones some room to operate. After all they got the
human species thus far. It's unlikey that a whole lot of reductionist
analysis is going to provide much new except perhaps some passion from
those who are passionate about it.


Steve Barnett

Lecturer, School of Management, Manukau Institute of Technology,
Manukau City, Auckland, New Zealand.


"Steve Barnett" <>

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