LO list as practice field? LO12170

Sherri Malouf (sherri@maloufinc.com)
Fri, 24 Jan 1997 13:55:32 -0500

Replying to LO12152 --

Hi Kent --

This was a very interesting analysis of two LO list "events". I am
struggling a little bit with what you have introduced as a way of
analyzing whether or not the list HAS made a connection to organizational
life. You introduce Schon's reflective practitioner and I am
understanding this to be someone who takes information in, finds a place
to experiment with it, and then reflects on success or otherwise.

I think I have followed you okay until this next paragraph -- I am
confused here -- can you explain the second sentence below? And then --
how was reflective speech suppressed or prohibited? Are you categorizing
"head" reactions as reflective speech and therefore "out of action"?

>The Soul thread, even though it continued Sherri's interest, is not a
>microworld. Talking-about was eliminated, not delayed and controlled. If
>learning occurred, it wasn't through Schon's "reflection in action", since
>the prohibition of reflective speech suppressed any but silent or
>disguised reflection. Any reflection is 'out of action'.

>Was there learning from either microworld? I think most would agree that
>the Wheatley Dialogue was not adequately processed. It was too hard to
>work with the accumulated data, there wasn't much interest in machinery
>that could have organized it, and there was reluctance to name names.
>Whenever we turn ourselves into the object, people get nervous, and its
>hard to keep the viewpoint steady.

I have been thinking on and off at times that the processing of the
Wheatley Dialogue was not satisfactory but did not know how to push it
further within this medium. Partially because we did not have permission
from people to give feedback on and analyze contributions. Many became
involved with the thread without knowing it was a dialogue experiment.
You and I had discussed some ways of conducting the dialogue before I
actually made the suggestion to the group. I did learn from the process
and would do it differently if we conducted another one. For example, one
requirement would be that everyone involved would print the guidelines at
the top of the message. Maybe we would limit involvement to 10 volunteers
-- which would also have to be printed at the top -- and then everyone
could process at the end. With agreement from the volunteers -- names
could be named and direct feedback given about what worked and what didn't
work. It would need to be very closely managed... Just my reflective
experience of that thread!

>The McMaster microworld was more successful, even though it appears to
>have involved fewer people. McMaster says he made progress in his
>writing, and Ben Compton reports that he's built a new complexity
>perspective, based both on reading and on LO discussion. In this
>microworld, what was steady was McMaster and his machinery, not a data set
>or a group. Also, the data or problem was usually not the group itself.

So are you saying that the road to success lies in a controlling
model/person? Something against which we can measure success? What is
that measurement? What is success?

>In response to Malcolm, I'd suggest that he consider shifting his units of
>analysis when attempting to locate microworlds within LO. A microworld
>may be more strongly associated with a person or a family of models rather
>than a thread. Also, while a response is necessary for
>reflecting-in-action, does the response have to be from a person directly,
>or can it be from the material, or indirectly from persons, or from one's
>self? I'm not saying that these other linkages are superior, only that
>they are operating.

But Kent -- I am confused again -- aren't you saying that they are not
superior? You assessed the McMaster microworld as more successful because
Mike and Ben *reported progress*. While no-one reported or responded on
how the Wheatley dialogue impacted them or if they learned from it. Or is
that your point? That we do not see the learning taking place on a
particular thread because people are not reporting back... I am sorry --
maybe my brain is not functioning today! Help me out!

sherri@maloufinc.com Tel:603-672-0355
LMA, Inc Fax:603-673-7120


Sherri Malouf <sherri@maloufinc.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>