Efficiency and Emergence LO22435

Thomas Struck (t.struck@bham.ac.uk)
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 16:15:00 +0100

Replying to LO22426 --

Dear At,

thanks for your contribution, I wish I had a physics teacher with your
ability to "tell a story". You cleared a lot of the confusion which
blurred my understanding of thermodynamics.

Still, I interpreted your last posting in terms of "efficiency or
emergence", and, here, I tend to disagree. Efficiency in my understanding
has a lot to do with learning. People "automate knowledge" while learning.
Actions which formerly took a lot of conscious regulation (take, for
example, a learning driving novice) are executed with less and less
awareness. Broadly speaking, this automation creates efficiency, but it
does something more. It frees cognitive capacity, which can be used for
future learning. Experts show a high level of "automated" (and tacit)

>From that point of view, I think, efficiency may be a facilitator of
learning rather than an obstacle.

In my experience a lot of organisations simple fail to provide sufficient
opportunity to learn (Tayorism, for example, took a lot of learning
opportunity out of many jobs), but this is a question of job design or
organisational design, respectively. Given the opportunity (the seventh
day?) a lot of people learn simply out of curiosity. Providing opportunity
is not inefficient, but wasting intellectual capacity is. May be people
seem simply to enjoy the (efficient?) utilisation of their free energy,
experiencing their own creativity refreshing rather than tiring?

However, Goethe's sorcerer's apprentice comes to mind (Oh Herr, oh Herr,
die Not ist gross, die Geister, die ich rief, werd' ich jetzt nicht mehr
los- sorry, I don't know the English translation, but I gather you
understand some German).

May be, managers of learning organisations need to find some sort of
equilibrum between learning and application. "Phanta rhei" instead of ever
increasing acceleration?.

best wishes

Thomas Struck
Birmingham, UK
Email: thomas@struck.com


"Thomas Struck" <t.struck@bham.ac.uk>

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