LO Notion Redundant? LO6780

Dr Ilfryn Price (101701.3454@compuserve.com)
Thu, 18 Apr 1996 16:25:09 -0400

Replying to LO6751 -- was: intro -- Tony DiBella

Tony Di Bella concluded his/her intro with something that has resonated
with me for a while [Thanks Tony]

>Lastly, an observation on the dialogue on this list. The variety of
opinions about the meaning, value, and how-to of the "learning
organization" and "organizational learning" derive primarily from our
different underlying assumptions. I'd like to see more dialogue on the
foundations of our thinking instead of debate over their manifestations.
For example, I presume that, as social systems in which knowledge is
created/acquired, disseminated, and used (Huber, 1991), all organizations
have embedded learning processes. Consequently, for me the notion of the
"learning organization" makes little sense except as a redundancy

========end of quote=======

Being me I would take a different slant on the cause [self-organising,
evolving memetic systems etc.] but would agree the concluion that all
organisations are learning * albeit slowly slowly in some cases *. So what
is different about the learning organisation as we perceive it here?

Is it generativity. Do real learning organisations create/ generate rather
than merely adapt? [In which case is every entrepreneur a learning

Is it to to with choice, inentionality and self-awareness. Having change
rather than being had by it?

Is it to do with respect for the kind of human/ natural values that I
sense wide respect for here?

Is it a vison, a form of latter day social nirvana, and and end to strive
for? [I sense and recall the introduction to this list by Rick]

Is it a set of words that gives us all warm fuzzies but plays less well in
the real world? [Some of the organisations I admire and would call
learning would, I have learnt the hard way, throw me out if I used the
words Learning Organisation - which may be how I used them of course]

Is it just a capability to adapt? a flag behind which the HR function can
justify its existence and promote its influence whilst failing to change
an existing paradigm of being at work? [I regret to say my perception is
that many statements concerning LOs, at least in the UK, come closer to
this definition]

Is this an issue wrestled to the ground long ago and simply reawakened by
Toni's message?

What follows is my own attempt to resolve the question - on which I would
welcome, I hope, being contributed to. I tend to see a world in which
social/ cultural/ instituional/ technological/ economic evolution has
created a context in which a *meme* called Learning Organisation is
flourishing. Many people/ organisations have found themselves in a state
of readiness for the idea. We have many shades of meaning - and even
perhaps different meanings - competing to become the default format in
some collective meaning space. [It is similar to personal computer formats
in the early 80s, Business Process fads in the eary 90s or a host of other
examples]. In one way a shared meaning might enable easier communication
and even progress towards LOs. In another it would likely limit.

Hence, for me, the following

The paradox of the learning organisation may be that we are not stuck with
discussing what it is. Does it make sense? I hope so.

If Price
Active Personal Learning
Pewley Fort Guildford UK


Dr Ilfryn Price <101701.3454@compuserve.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>