About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1586-1591
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

SINGLE-LOOP VS. DOUBLE-LOOP LEARNING: AN OBSTACLE OR A SUCCESS FACTOR FOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING

V. Vathanophas Ractham, P. Kantamara

College of Management, Mahidol University (THAILAND)
The economic downturn currently spreading around the world comes with chaos and high uncertainty and has caused organizations, public and private alike, to reconsider their overall strategies in order to survive and stimulate recovery. This paper explores the concept of single-loop and double-loop learning processes, as an innovation, and its relationship and influence on learning in an organization. Human beings have a tendency to follow the same pattern when it comes to the way they lead their life or when they need to solve a problem. This same pattern with the same set of rules, values, norms, goals, procedures, processes, and assumptions provides them with psychological safety – or, peace of mind. This is single-loop learning which occurs when errors or problems are detected and corrected and organizations carry on with their policies and goals. The activities to correct errors and solve the problems add to the knowledge-base or firm-specific competences or routines without altering the fundamental nature of the organization’s activities. On the other hand, double-loop learning occurs when, in addition to detection and correction of errors, the organization is involved in questioning and modification of an organization’s underlying norms, procedures, policies, and objectives. The process involves changing the knowledge-base or firm-specific competences or routines. In an organization, when an error is detected or a problem is identified, managers often make a business decision based on set rules, norms, procedures, processes, and assumptions without questioning them. This kind of single-loop learning has worked before. So, why should it not work now? The problem is it may not, because the rules and assumptions have changed. There are many factors that drive change: Globalization, Information Age, advance technology, global economy, environmental concerns, etc. Change is a constant state today and is happening at an alarming rate. Thus, norms, old rules, procedures, processes, and assumptions may not work any longer. An organization and its people need to change the way they think, solve a problem, and implement change in order to keep up with the external environment. Learning and problem solving in the external environment or outside-in alone is not sufficient and does not lead to persistent learning or sustainable change. Managers and employees must also look inward and need to reflect critically on their own behavior, identify the ways they often inadvertently contribute to the organization’s problems, and then change how they act. In particular, they must learn how the very way they go about defining and solving problems can be a source of problems in its own right. Thus, in double-loop learning, problems are tackled from inside-out. Their root causes are identified and handled or overcome, not simply remove the visible external symptoms which do not lead to a true cure. In this paper, the authors describe the study conducted to investigate in details how single-loop and double-loop learning processes influence learning in an organization. From this study, organizational leaders will be able to develop more effective strategies to implement a systemic and sustainable change in their organization which is more complex and requires a higher level of learning. It also proposes the strategies in which organization handle the change circumstance and enhance a sustainable organizational learning in the future.
@InProceedings{VATHANOPHASRACTHAM2011SIN,
author = {Vathanophas Ractham, V. and Kantamara, P.},
title = {SINGLE-LOOP VS. DOUBLE-LOOP LEARNING: AN OBSTACLE OR A SUCCESS FACTOR FOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {1586-1591}}
TY - CONF
AU - V. Vathanophas Ractham AU - P. Kantamara
TI - SINGLE-LOOP VS. DOUBLE-LOOP LEARNING: AN OBSTACLE OR A SUCCESS FACTOR FOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 1586
EP - 1591
ER -
V. Vathanophas Ractham, P. Kantamara (2011) SINGLE-LOOP VS. DOUBLE-LOOP LEARNING: AN OBSTACLE OR A SUCCESS FACTOR FOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 1586-1591.
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