The inability to uncover errors and other unpleasant truths arises from faulty organizational […]. The inability to uncover errors and other unpleasant truths arises from faulty organizational learning, says this author. Such habits and attitudes, which allow a company to hide its problems, lead to rigidity and deterioration. The author describes how this process can be reversed by a method he calls double loop learning. Several years ago the top management of a multi-billion dollar corporation decided that Product X was a failure and should be dropped.
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In this blog entry I will discuss the theory of single- and double-loop learning presented by C. Furthermore I will explain in what ways the understanding of those learning processes can lead to better organizational outcomes. In C. This model was made to understand how people learn within organizations. Moreover, it can support group development processes, global teamwork as well as intercultural learning.
Single-loop learning is the easiest and most common learning style. It involves using feedback to make continuous adjustments and adaptations, in order to maintain a high performance standard. For example, if a certain action yields results that are different to what one expected, through single-loop learning, one will observe the results and automatically take in feedback, in order to apply a different approach. It is in a sense increasing efficiency by learning out of experience. The more one does something the better one gets at it.
This can translate to cost savings, increased revenue and profitability amongst others in a corporate setting. Double-loop learning is a more complex way of processing information and involves a more sophisticated way of engaging with an experience.
It is the ability to challenge and redefine the assumptions underlying performance standards to improve performance Argyris, Argryris used the analogy of a thermostat to controlling the room temperature to explain the difference between both types of learning.
In single-loop learning the thermostat will find the optimal way to heat or cool the room to a specific temperature. Double-loop learning however will challenge and redefine the controlling variables by questioning whether the specified temperature is suitable for the people in the room. I find this analogy very applicable to Singapore where I experienced that stores, as well as the university are effective in cooling entire buildings.
However, in most cases these buildings are too cold. Through single-loop learning Singaporeans managed to efficiently cool there buildings, but second-loop learning is needed to redefine the underlying performance standards. Intercultural interactions are another useful application of this theory that I experienced first hand on my exchange at the NUS.
Our values and beliefs are deeply rooted within our cultural background. Moreover, so are the assumptions we make about what strategies will be successful in a given situation. This may be enough in many environments. In intercultural behaviours however, this strategy has higher chances of being unsuccessful. Both single-loop as well as double-loop learning can be effective in the right situation.
Single-loop learning is all about increasing efficiency and learning by doing. Double loop on the other hand looks at the big picture and tries to steer efforts in the right direction. Currently the world of business is dominated by single-loop learning and double-loop learning is mostly applied after a crisis McLucas, McLucas, A.
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References Argyris, C. Organizational Learning. Henderson, S. What can we do to become better leaders? Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Skip to toolbar Blog.
Chris Argyris: theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning
In this blog entry I will discuss the theory of single- and double-loop learning presented by C. Furthermore I will explain in what ways the understanding of those learning processes can lead to better organizational outcomes. In C. This model was made to understand how people learn within organizations. Moreover, it can support group development processes, global teamwork as well as intercultural learning. Single-loop learning is the easiest and most common learning style.
Double Loop Learning in Organizations
On this blog I am going to share some information about Single and Double-loop Learning. Sooner or later, you should be able to find answers to these questions from this blog:. And i n addition to these, hopefully some good case-examples, pictures, videos and etc. Single-loop learning illustrated in figure 1 below is one kind of organizational learning process. In single-loop learning, people, organizations or groups modify their actions according to the difference between expected and reached outcomes. In other words, when something goes wrong or does not happen like we would like, most of us would consider how the situation could be fixed. Single-loop learning can also be described like to be situation in which we observe our present situation and face problems, errors, inconsistencies or impractical habits.
Double Loop Learning: Download New Skills and Information into Your Brain
Argyris proposes double loop learning theory which pertains to learning to change underlying values and assumptions. The focus of the theory is on solving problems that are complex and ill-structured and which change as problem-solving advances. This perspective examines reality from the point of view of human beings as actors. Typically, interaction with others is necessary to identify the conflict. There are four basic steps in the action theory learning process: 1 discovery of espoused and theory-in-use, 2 invention of new meanings, 3 production of new actions, and 4 generalization of results. Double loop learning involves applying each of these steps to itself. In double loop learning, assumptions underlying current views are questioned and hypotheses about behavior tested publically.
Double-loop learning entails the modification of goals or decision-making rules in the light of experience. The first loop uses the goals or decision-making rules, the second loop enables their modification, hence "double-loop". Double-loop learning recognises that the way a problem is defined and solved can be a source of the problem. Double-loop learning is contrasted with "single-loop learning": the repeated attempt at the same problem, with no variation of method and without ever questioning the goal.