Going forward and looking back

9 April 2004

When we return for the Easter Break, we start the class on the topic of single and double loop learning (Search for Argyris and Schön Google or through Learn).

I find their ideas crucial at this juncture. It allows us to explorer, explain, and understand our behaviours issues around:

  • The up-coming assignment
  • What has been happening so far in the simulation.
  • Our behaviour in general

I think once the theoretical underpinnings are in place (in general in the class), I’ll try and revisit some of my previous journal entries, and try and apply double-loop learning to them. (That is easier said than done.)

Intellectually, for me there have been three or four big ideas that have shaped my thinking in the past 10 years about people in management. In no particular order,they are:

Career anchors by Edgar Schein (thanks for that one Darl)

With that idea and a little help from Charles Handy’s Sigmoid curve, I was able to make sense of my opportunities that lay ahead of me. I’m not sure how useful (aka practical) this is for people early in their careers, but it was profound for me.

Single and Double loop learning by Argyris and Schön

Somewhere there must be a brilliant essay linking these with Career anchors.

The social construction of reality; I group a hotch-potch of

ideas under Berger & Luckman’s original work, and no doubt some people will say that I’m wrong. Kelly’s Personal Construct Psychology; Wieck’s Sense making; The whole of the nascent strategy-as-practice literature; Bit’s of Bourdieu, de Certeau etc;

The joy of -sex- Neo-institutionalism; a good one by diMaggio & Powell

Not necessarily original, but it woke me up to the whole debate around structuralism vs. existentialism; agency vs. Institutional imperatives; and even links to Nature vs. Nurture.

In ‘reality’ these three things can be considered very close to one another, and certainly almost all my understanding of people and organisations are tied back to these ideas (be it strategy, organisation theory, post-modernism, and so on).

It’s curious to me that two out these have ended up in MGMT 301; it was never planned that way; it just evolved.