Intro -- Mark Rolfson LO19746

Bruce Jones (
Thu, 5 Nov 1998 07:22:30 -0600

Replying to LO19739 --

> From: Rolfson, Mark <>

> I work in training & development for a
> 3200-employee health care system in New Mexico, USA. I recognized my
> organization's approach to LO ideas in a posting here which described how
> companies use LO and related concepts as buzzwords and not as principles
> to be implemented. I suspect that LO ideas, much like biblical writings,
> can be used to reinforce mental models almost as effectively as they can
> be used to question them.

Hi Mark. Where in NM? I am right across the way in Texas at a 300 bed
1700 employee hospital. I am also in the education dept. I too am a
little confused by the LO concept and design. I believe we are working on
the concepts of LO here but I too wonder if they are just board room catch
phrase. I DO see people trying to live up to the concepts and practices I
have seen expressed here.

>At's description of an open system as one where "
> 'anything' can cross the boundary" stimulates questions for me. If
> anything can cross a boundary, what makes it a boundary? Is there some
> structure or meaning inside the border that is discrete from what lies
> outside? Further, if anything is welcome to add (or subtract) itself from
> this structure, what is there inside the border that abides with, and
> defines, the structure? I guess I am wondering if or when complete
> openness can be a characteristic of a system. I am struggling with how
> to
> define a system which excludes nothing -- is this a silly conundrum, or
> is
> this a way for a system to become the "grand system", to use At's phrase?

I agree. What is a truly open system and can it then be called a system?
If it is truly open, is there order? Can you order an open system? Do
not the boundaries then return?

> I wonder which new things are entering organizations today
> wearing a protein coat that masks the virus within? Sometimes I think
> that
> ideas (especially "fads") seem viral in the way they can enter and
> appropriate resources within an organization, to grow and replicate with
> sometimes disastrous results.

DO they have to be Ideas? Can not a person (using your analogy) act as a
rRNA strand and infect from with in? Fads have natural antibody defense
systems (those who don't buy in) that either gain strength (add like
minded to their ranks) until a fad dies, or lose out because of an
overwhelming infection. There is even a reserve antibody system that
screams the next time a similar fad pops up (long term employees). An
individual infects from within.

> As a new person drawing his chair up to the fire, I want to thank Rick
> Karash for creating and holding this space for us, and to express my
> appreciation of the dialogues happening here. I really enjoy reading your
> contributions. I feel that I am in the company of very interesting people
> possessing a broad range of education and experience, and I am grateful
> for the chance to learn from you.

I couldn't agree more. I too wish to thank At for his gentle and
thoughtful approach to the questions brought to him.

Bruce Jones


"Bruce Jones" <>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>