The Unlearning Organization LO9744

Michael Scudder (
Wed, 04 Sep 1996 15:41:49 -0400

Replying to LO9697 --

"Unlearning" to me connotes a return to some immaculate "unlearned" state
from which the subject (person, group, organization) may proceed to
relearn the "correct" skill. This is a seductive model in its simplicity,
and it might be a useful characterization with respect to elemental, very
well-delimited skills (such as simple motor skills). But it does not work
for complex behaviors for, among other things, "unlearning" implies that:

o the behavior is isolable from a belief system
about the nature of some reality;

o time moves in reverse, as if "unlearning"
also involves amnesia about all the experiences
and belief structure related to the old behavior.

o the context of the new and old behaviors is the
same -- but new contexts (environments) often
force behavioral changes;

o the scope and purpose of the new and old behaviors
is the same.

Any complex behavior relates to a belief system and (probably) a set of
metaphors. And any change in the belief system or behavior or metaphor
entails a change in all the others.

Michael Scudder


Michael Scudder <>

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