Re: Questions LO203

Michael McMaster (
Wed, 22 Feb 1995 20:10:41 GMT

George Takacs writes LO171 <with a little editing in brackets like these>
> A problem I have is how does an organization do <what a team does>?
<namely implement its learning> It seems to
> me that if an organization tries to implement what it learns the danger is
> to turn it into another rule or regulation which becomes inflexible. And
> does the whole organization really learn, or do various parts learn and
> share what they learn with each other?

The organisation can't put the learning into practice immediately, like
the team did, because the organisation didn't learn. The team learned.
And as that is shared, as the team puts in into practice, as it adds its
learning to the whole knowledge of the organisation - then the learning
becomes organisational learning.

The organisation doesn't learn in the same way and at the same level as
its components learn. Just as the team didn't learn in exactly the same
way as the individuals in the team learned. Just as an individual didn't
learn in the same way that the various cells, etc, etc learned. Each
level of organisation has its own ways of learning and its own levels of
learning and there is no "one for one" nor linear or causal source
which can be tracked.

I think that until we get this distinction clear, our journey to
organisational learning will be slow and painful. Fortunately, even
without the distinction but with the right kinds of actions - like team
learning - we can probably make it if we just keep going. The thing I
like best about these conversations is that we can generate the
distinctions that will greatly speed the process and do it with ease.
To do that, I think we need to get deeply into the nature of
organisation and secondarily into the nature of learning - about which
we already know a great deal more.

Mike McMaster <>