Re: "unlearning"

john mills (
Tue, 15 Nov 1994 16:45:57 +0000

I agree people do not 'unlearn' - though the word is catchy. As Ragnvald
Sannes pointed out Lewin referred to 'unfreezing' rather than 'unlearning'.
This is the notion that people can get stuck (freeze) in their ways and if
they are to change a first step is for them to question their ways
(unfreeze). I recommend that those wishing to follow up these notions in
more detail read:
Schein, E. H. (1993). How can organizations learn faster? The challenge of
entering the green room. Sloan Management Review(Winter), 85-92.
In this short and very readable paper Schein outlines other steps required
for new learning (including the creation of guilt & anxiety and the
creation of psychological safety) and puts these in the context of
organizational change.

>Good comment. I connot comprehend how one can unlearn, rather we
> learn new things and develop new perspectives on previous learned
> concepts, ideas, etc. I suspect the focus on "unlearning" relates
> to blocks and impediments to 'new' learning. It seems more
> productive to me to focus on the future and the learning this
> implies instead of looking backward.