Why does LO stop? LO18109

Mnr AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Thu, 14 May 1998 08:58:58 GMT+2

Replying to LO18083 --

Dear Organlearners,

Ben Compton <BCompton@dws.net> writes:

> My experience in a large organization could be simply summed as:
> "Instituational inertia prevented any serious or long-term efforts to work
> toward becoming a Learning Organization."

In my reply to Rick's question I wrote that an organisation EMERGES
into a learning organisation. An emergece does not happen
automatically. It requires the sufficient development of seven
essential patterns. If one or more of the patterns are impaired, the
emergence will not happen. If one or more of the patterns are
seriously impaired after the emergence has happened, the emergent
phenomenon will immerge again.

I call the seven prerequisite patterns the seven essentialities of
creativity. Since learning, individually or collectively, is also a
creative act, we can think of these seven patterns as the seven
"essentialities of learning".

A LO, as an emergent phenomenon, will immerge (stop existing) when
one or more of the essentialities are seriously impaired.

The quotation of Ben above is directly related to the essentiality
"beoming-being" (liveness). What he says means in terms of this
essentiality that an organisation will not emerge into an LO if it
has too little of certain becomings. Likewise an LO will immerge
(stop) if it has too little of certain becomings.

How is it possible for an organisation (LO or not) to be deficient in
certain becomings? Becomings in general are advanced by the creation
of entropy. The entropy production is fired (powered) by "free
energy" (potential energy). This free energy depends on the present
being (structure) of the organisation. This means that we can think
of "free energy" as "being energy". The "being energy" is converted
into "becoming energy" by the production (creation) of entropy.

There must be sufficient free energy (energy of being or structure)
of a certain kind in the organisation to advance its becomings of a
certain kind. The free energy of one kind of structure seldom
provides enough for the becomings of a different kind. A classical
example is the frequent disparity between the structures of
accountancy and the processes of innovation.

A powerful way to think of "becoming energy of a certain kind" is to
think of it as "(specified) work". In other words, in an organisation
lack "free energy", it will not be able to "work". This is evident in
the next quotation from Ben's contribution.

> I would say that the work required to make serious strides in the
> direction of a LO require a great deal of patience, commitment, and
> intelligence on the part of management.

This "great deal of patience, commitment, and intelligence on the
part of management" refers to the kind of structure needed to carry
the necessary free energy. Ben refered to the role of mamangement.
But are they the only ones to play a role? What about the rest of the
workers? Can a LO ever emergece if the rest of the workers are
treated as impatient, noncommited and unintelligent people? Will a LO
not immergece (stop) if the rest of the workers are treated as
impatient, noncommited and unintelligent people?

> If I had it to do again, I'd begin by working with the employees and
> ignoring management. There are tremendous learning opportunities embedded
> in day to day operations that can be captured, explored, and expanded
> without managements permission or cooperation. Once the ball starts
> rolling I think it might be easier to convince management to join the
> journey.

Whenever we want to promote the emergence of a LO, we cannot leave
out one or more of the parties involved. Every part should
participate. Leaving out some party is the essence of "apartheid"
(apartness). A LO cannot emerge when "apartheid" is promoted within
an organisation. To promote "apartheid" is nothing else than to
impair the seven essentialities of creativity - to impair liveness,
sureness, wholeness, fruitfulness, spareness, otherness and openness.

Best wishes


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email: amdelange@gold.up.ac.za

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>