Intro -- Christian Giroux LO6756

Christian Giroux (
Wed, 17 Apr 1996 13:53:57 -0400

I work as a manager in the Technical Assistance Center for Ericsson
Research Inc in Montreal. Our company designs and supports cellular
switching systems for major operators worlwide, mainly, in US, AT&T
Wireless Services, Bell South and SouthWestern Bell. In Canada, our
biggest and only customer is Cantel.

The R&D and support center in Montreal is ongoing a major improvement
program where software quality is to be improved by a factor of 20,
time-to-market reduced by 60%, turn-around time from fault first
manifestation to complete roll-out of a solution reduced by a factor of
roughly 25 (the part I'm most active working on) and system downtime has
to dramatically improve to meet customer demands.

We've been working on these projects for over 2 years now with a mix of
successes, half-successes and failure (I'm fortunate enough to be involved
in an area where success has been mostly the norm).

Going through these efforts, a few of us discovered and started to use
some of the concepts of the learning organization. The biggest problem
I've encountered trying to expose senior managers to these concepts is the
assumptions they have (and seem to deeply share) about what a learning
organization is. They all seem to want it badly, but I don't believe they
reach out to understand what it means. In their mind, it seems that a
learning organization is merely one that doesn't forget, that doesn't
repeat the same mistakes...I'm wondering if others in other organizations
have felt the same things...

Maybe now you can guess that my interest is at this point mostly turned to
mental models and the work of Chris Argyris. We have been, in our
department, using agreements to make public what's in our left-hand
column, and, after just a couple of months doing it, two main effects seem
to emerge:

- Internal issues are dealt with a lot faster and in a more
efficient manner within the department,

- Frustration level has gone up for those who have to frequently
deal with people in other departments or subsidiaries, because
this left-hand column business is not known and is not used.

I guess the next step will be to expand the network of people trying to
convert to a model II theory-in-use throughout the company.

I would like to share with others about experiences they had with this.

Christian Giroux
Manager, System Support
Ericsson Research Canada


Christian Giroux <>

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