Re: Don't All Orgs Learn? LO2734

Barry Mallis (
11 Sep 1995 10:10:36 -0400

Replying to LO2707 --


On a gross level, all organizations learn. But the paradox comes in the
nature of organizing people for the sake of a sum greater than its parts,
then finding that the level of commuinication/learning complexity is far
graeter than the sum of its parts!

What I mean is that organizations develop procedures and work
instructions, both tacit and explicit, in order to make the organization
run well. But those very systems also act as a potential brake on all
sorts of things: innovation, continuous improvement, etc. Human nature
doesn't promote change in groups as much as some of us think is valuable
and healthy.

A group is formed into an organization. The group learns and functions to
produce goods or services. To change the system for the sake of
continuous improvement, systems first learned must be "un-leanred" and
that's where the rub is.

Many good contributors to this list have mentioned various reasons why,
and how the unlearning/relearning/innovation process requires guidance,
tools, inspiration and initiative.

Barry Mallis