This week’s reading brought back the vague memory about the concepts of single-loop learning and double-loop learning that I heard about years ago. But my understanding stayed at the elementary recognition of that we should be brave enough to question the crux of the matter. After finishing the three readings, it gave me a systematic understanding of the double loop learning.
Argyris (1991) illustrated the differences between single-loop learning and double-loop learning by the example of a thermostat. The single-loop learning example is that a thermostat automatically turns on the heat whenever the room temperature drops below 68 degrees. While double-loop learning will question that “why am I set at 68 degrees?” and then explore whether or not some other temperature might more economically achieve the goal of heating the room.
It is easy for us to fall into the habitual thinking based on our experience or even worse, our intuition. We get used to the way we are thinking and the way we are doing things, especially when everything seems go normal. For example, why should I even bother making changes since our SHV is increasing smoothly? We would just continue to do what we are good at. As a matter of a fact, it might be one of the reasons that we did not get enough SHV as we expected this round. The double-loop learning not only helps organisations grow, but on the way it helps us establish our professional knowledge and skills; it also helps individuals jump out from some mistaken underlying assumptions.
People who rarely experience failure, however, end up not knowing how to deal with what effectively (Argyris, 1991). Actually, we are happy that we did not do as well as we expected. This us a fantastic opportunity to have a deep CRR (critical reflection or reflexivity) (Synnott, 2013) and discussion about the current situation and strategy, thereby figure out what is really going wrong. This will certainly help us improve on our current SHV.
I have to say the game is getting more and more intriguing and exciting because of the complexity and unpredictability. It is the time for our team to have a harsh reasoning process.
Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Reflections, 4(2), 4--15
Synnott, M. (2013). Reflection and double loop learning: The case of HS2. Teaching Public Administration, 31(1), 124--134. doi:10.1177/0144739413479950