Re: Organisational thinking LO3882

Jan Lelie (
27 Nov 95 06:08:46 EST

Replying to LO3830 --

What is the difference between "error" and "mistake"? When is an error a
mistake? I agree with you on:

> My experience with "learning from mistakes" as a fundamental approach to
learning is that it leads to relatively mechanistic approaches which tend
to lead to "right/wrong" conversations and the life and interest goes out
of the learning process.

However, I think the use of the word error is deliberate. "Erroring" has
to do with experimentation, trying to find a way, making mistakes in
solving problems, doing. "Mistaking", in my view, has to do with making
the wrong connection, errors in thinking, listening, misinterpretation. As
I see it, correcting and preventing mistakes, is "single loop learning":
the kind of learning that quickly turns into control, the kind of learning
that is sometimes refered to as "reproducing", learning by heart etc.

Learning from errors in my view means: being open to changes in
procedures, trying to see an quality problem as a small gift, etc. This
would qualify for "double loop learning". Evolution theory most of the
time talks about "errors", not about mistakes. And a succesful species
most of the time is the result from an error at the "right" time and

Perhaps the dilemma in Organizational Learning is: "when is an error a

Jan Lelie