Foundations of our thinking LO6788

Terri Deems (
Thu, 18 Apr 1996 22:15:08 -0500 (CDT)

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

Anthony recently introduced himself (nice to meet you, Anthony!), and in
the course of his introduction said: 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."

I also share your interest in exploring the different underlying
assumptions on this list. Nevertheless, I've also learned a great deal
with the discussions "as is." I think by expressing opinions about
meaning, value, and even the "how-to's", we are in fact implicitly sharing
our assumptions. Sometimes, though, it's helpful for me when these
assumptions are made more explicit. I think we need both an understanding
of the fundamental assumptions with which we work, and the ways in which
these assumptions are manifest in our work.

I also agree with your last point. One of my own assumptions is that all
work organizations--as well as other social contexts--"learn," regardless
of how it is we structure, organize, or conduct work. What is of more
interest to me, then, is not whether or not we learn, but what it is that
we are learning, what our organizations (individuals as well as the
collective) "learn" through the ways in which work is conducted.

A couple of my own assumptions: learning, even as in "learning
organizations," is the process of making meaning of our world, and of
ourselves in the world. Rather than see my role as that of a facilitator
of the learning organization, responsible for "instruere"--furnishing with
knowledge--I see my role as being involved with "educare"--the drawing out
of vision or understanding.

Terri Deems

-- (Terri Deems)

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>