Re: The Learning Organization Structure

Mike Gurstein (
Mon, 14 Nov 1994 09:00:08 -0500 (EST)

I don't think that "unlearning" in an organizational context is as simple
and straightforward as is being suggested here. The reality in
organizatins is that "learned knowledge" is embedded in a variety of
elements of an organization--the manuals/rules and procedures, the formal
oragnization charts and the informal processes by means of which things
conventionally get done, but most significantly in the expectations and
memories of organizational incumbents.

I think "unlearning" is both a process of breaking with the past,
discarding the rituals and hymnals of the past, and creating a useful
transition in behaviours and expectations to the new condition. Without
such a transition and without it being successfully achieved (very rare
in my experience) you have in organizations pockets of old practices,
sometimes reflecting multiple previous experiences with attempts at
change, each of which is operative influential in its own microsphere.

>From my experience trying to get most complex organizations to walk on
beds of fiery coals just results in a lot of burnt feet.


On Mon, 14 Nov 1994, Ragnvald Sannes wrote:

> >One of the techniques for unlearning in individuals preached by Tony
> >Robbins is Neuro-Associative Conditioning and its involves three steps:
> >1) Get leverage - the organization as a whole and its individuals
> > must want to change, in fact recognize that change is survival
> >2) Break the paradigm - convince them that the current ways no longer work
> >3) Install a new paradigm - what new beliefs and behaviours will replace
> > the old ones
> >Although Tony's focus is the individual, I believe that treating an org
> >as an evolving "being" has merit.
> >--
> >Keith Cowan Phone: (416)565-6253 FAX: (905)764-9604
> >Toronto Internet: Compuserve: 72212,51
> These levels seem to be identical with Kurt Lewin's model of organizational
> change. Lewin wrote about three stages, Unfreeze, Change, and Refreeze.
> See, for example: Lewin, K. (1947). Group Decisions and Social Change. In
> T. N. Newcombe & E. L. Hartley (Eds.), Readings in Social Psychology Troy,
> MO.: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
> The organizational psychologist Edgar Schein has detailed the model
> further, commonly recognized as Lewin-Schein's model of organizational
> change. See, for example: Schein, E. H. (1987). Process Consultation,
> Volume II: Lessons for Managers and Consultants. Reading, MA.:
> Addison-Wesley.
> Ragnvald Sannes
> Dept. of Information Management, Institute for Management of
> Stockholm School of Economics, Innovation and Technology (IMIT)
> Box 6501, S-113 83 Stockholm Box 6501, S-113 83 Stockholm
> Internet: Tel.: +46 8736 9451 Fax: +46 8 30 47 62