> Humans tend to start with an hypothesis and then look at the
> underlying data which either then refutes or supports their initial
> ideas. Current technology is great at trend analysis but rather poor
> at drawing conclusions
I am currently teaching an undergraduate course in Social Psychology. As
an organizational psychologist I find that most of what I am teaching
directly reflects what takes place within a work organization. The
implications of this application are fairly significant for learning
My understanding of a learning organization is that the intent is to gain
knowledge from experience (our own as well as others') and apply that
knowledge to make the business more effective and/or to anticipate future
trends before they are upon us (and overwhelm us).
The referenced quote at the beginning of this posting highlights a very
human tendency that gets in the way of this intended result. We form
conclusions based on what we perceive to be correlational relationships
(Harold Kelly calls this being a "naive scientist"). Then we seek
information that supports these conclusions. Often these correlational
relationships do not exist, yet they drive our actions as if they were
The intent in learning as an organization is to get away from this, and
other, tendencies which hobble our best efforts.
Data warehouses, super databases, etc. all are very attractive artifacts
to be studied by organizational and social archeologists in the next
decades. They certainly offer promise as a hopeful tool for today's
struggling organizations. What bothers me, though, is that this subject
pops up every so often and the discussion centers around a perception that
having such a super repository of DATA will make us somehow smarter.
Someone else suggested that we need an "overlay" that sorts and makes
sense out of the data for us.
I have worked on "lessons learned" databases before only to watch as the
same mistakes are made over and over by various, different, parts of the
organization. No one is learning from these lessons. Having the super
database, comprehensive and available to all, does nothing to help people
On the other hand, I have watched organizations without that apparently
essential resource share information and grow dramatically as they
individually and collectively learn from each other. They key difference
between these two situations is a difference in organizational
orientation. One organization clearly has the artifact but it has no
value in that organization's culture. The other has the culture and has
learned to be successful without the coveted artifact (database).
My point: Having the database is nice. But seeking the artifact before
the culture has value for it is like buying a car before you know how to
drive. Is is a nice decoration but serves no useful purpose. As one
other poster put it:
> It's like putting the cart before the horse.
If you live in an organization that doesn't value "driving," your "car"
will end up in the excess property auction as junk, having never been
Regards to all.
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>