Friday, 23 July 2010

Double loop learning

I do apologize about the white space. I made the mistake to type this in word and use a table and then failed to figure out how to get it into blogger nicer than what you see below. Hopefully the content is in there and that is the important bit ;)

This was a session led by Benjamin Mitchell. He got me
interested in the topic because this were the first 3 words he said when he
arrived ;) There were a lot of people in this session and I was late so I do
not have the names instead I focused on trying to capture as much as I could.

The main idea as far as I understood is that there are a
couple of behaviour models when talking to people and based on which you choose
you get different value in the response. The goal is to choose a strategy/model
that allows you to generate learning (double loop learning) rather than to
close the communication loop and generate... Nothing?!

So this is how it looked like:

Governing variables

Action strategies


Model 1

Win, do not lose

Achieve your purpose

Suppress emotion

Emphasize rationality

Control  environment


Protect self

defensive relationship

little public

reduces valid information


Everything above characterizes single loop

We revert to this mode when we feel threatened or


Model 2

Valid info

Feel informed and have been
given choice

Internal commitment


Shared control

Illustrate evaluations

Surface conflict views

Encourage public testing

High freedom of choice

Increased likelihood of double loop learning

Minimum defensive relationship


Defensive routines are: easing in, requesting help,
delivering bad news, saving face. Bypass routines are covered up: inventing
motives – e.g. if I explain harder or overwhelm them with my logic they will
get it; holding others accountable; casual explanations; story telling.

It is apparently all explained by Chris Argyris’a and I have
made notes of 2 books – “59 seconds” and “Discussing the undiscussable”.

The last thing I have looks like this ( which presumably
represents a system or organization)

Thinking    -> System   -> Performance

We need to change the thinking to move to double loop


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